Working Session: ‘The Soul and the Image': The Story of Film in the Pacific
Organizers: Eliorah Malifa and Dionne Fonoti
In her seminal essay, “The Soul and the Image”, borrowed for this informal session's title, legendary Maori filmmaker Merata Mita (1996) acknowledges the power of the camera, where "the fusion of physics and the human image put us in touch with ourselves and others in a way never before dreamed of" (36). Mita reviews the history of film in Aotearoa in a discussion on how Maori and indigenous filmmakers can--and must, like Mita herself--transform Western cinema, "for who knew if the soul were being tampered with, and for what purpose detrimental to a person's wellbeing the image would be used" (37). Pacific Islanders have had to contend with film since the inception of film; first as viewers, then subjects, now practitioners, evolving along with the images that have been created by/for/about our cultures and people. Mita reminds us that images have souls, stories have power and film is a tool, so we invite participants to explore how film has developed around the region, if at all, and to what ends; from the introduction of cinema to our islands, to the current state of grassroots production industries to emerging trends in indigenous Pacific storytelling both within our island homes and from the wider diaspora.
For more information, please contact Eliorah Malifa, Australian National University, <firstname.lastname@example.org> and Dionne Fonoti <email@example.com>