FIFO 2011 has begun!

A successful official opening this morning for the eighth edition of the Pacific International Documentary Film Festival…  The French Polynesia authorities, the members of the Jury and the FIFO organisers were gathered on the‘paepae’ (bench in front of the meeting house) at the Maison de la Culture, beneath a radiant sun accompanied by the sound of the Marquesan ‘pahu’ (traditional drum) to greet this new edition of FIFO. A Polynesian opening, warm and intense, during which the different speakers did not fail to recall FIFO’s issues, the extent of which are growing.

Michel Buillard, Deputy Mayor of Papeete, first spoke to welcome the festival goers. The Chairman of AFIFO and founder of the event, Wallès Kotra, then outlined the programme’s events over the 4 days of competition. Then the representative from France Télévisions, Jean Réveillon, highlighted the important debates which will take place this year alongside the competition. He notably expressed the desire that FIFO becomes ‘a veritable strong point to strengthen audiovisual production, locally as well as regionally.  FIFO could therefore become a real audiovisual market, on a regional scale.’ In addition he recalled the strong involvement of the channel in the broadcasting of the forthcoming South Pacific Games, which will be an important event for the region, and one of the main subjects of the Oceania Television Conference. Lastly he announced that Polynésie 1ère was going to conclude broadcasting agreements with the Australian television channel ABC during FIFO.

The President of French Polynesia acknowledged FIFO’s great consistency, which has continued to grow since its creation, to his great satisfaction. Gaston Tong is enthusiastic about the importance placed on the festival at the heart of Polynesian cultural life, but also on an Oceania regional scale, with a particular resonance this year since FIFO opens the France overseas cultural calendar year. The President of the country has highlighted the stature that FIFO has succeeded in gaining, notably by ‘opening a window to the Pacific at the heart of the Cabourg Film Festival, and in other festivals soon.’ For him, FIFO has succeeded in combining tradition and modernity, Oceania aspects and the development of Polynesian identity, and this approach is a pledge for future and progress. Lastly, for his first official outing M. Didier, the new High Commissioner for the Republic in French Polynesia, has expressed his pleasure to be in Oceania, and in particular to be present at the opening of FIFO. Following the traditional family photo, which took place on the henceforth famous ‘paepae’ of the Maison de la Culture, the members of the Jury headed towards the screens to begin to watch the documentaries in competition.

Throughout this glorious day, the public, notably comprising of many school pupils, can attend competition or non competition film screenings. The Polynesians will also be able to attend debates, or to follow the different workshops scheduled in the heart of the FIFO Village. This new edition is off to a promising start this morning, which the officials, organisers, jury and especially, the public are looking forward to!