Bentley Dean, director of ‘Contact,’ Jury Grand Prix FIFO 2011.
‘Contact,’ is the narrative of an incredible story: only 40 years ago, in the Australian desert, a man meets an Aborigine tribe which until then had never had contact with white man, with civilisation. A contact as a matter of course irreversible told by the tribe itself in this film of rare intensity.
On the Grand Théâtre stage you were impressed by the energy of the public at FIFO…
Yes, it is very rare to hear the public at a festival exclaim with so much spontaneity, to throw cries of joy after a projection… The atmosphere at this festival is really warm and convivial. It’s surprisingly pleasant.
What is your impression on winning the FIFO 2011 ‘Grand Prix’?
I cannot wait to tell Yuwali, the film’s main character. She and the rest of the group will be very proud to know that their cousins from the Pacific awarded them a trophy. They are so intent on sharing their story.
At FIFO each year, we see beautiful Australian films about the condition of the Aborigines: is it always a painful subject?
I think that everyone is much more open in this connection, notably thanks to one man’s genius: Warwick Thornton, no doubt the best Australian film director, an Aborigine moreover. He has produced many films about the subject: fiction and documentary, very well-known and especially particularly pertinent.
Have you had the time to take advantage of the films at FIFO this week?
Yes, I have had the chance to see several extraordinary films such as This Way of Life, Kuru… I would have liked to have seen more of them and to have visited Tahiti more.
Did you know about FIFO before putting your film forward?
Of course, the reputation of the festival is spreading all over the Pacific and with regard to its quality I think that it will rapidly become an international reference.
What plans do you have for the future?
I want to direct a film which retraces man’s arrival in Australia. Man’s first steps on this continent 60, 000 years ago until the arrival of Europeans.
To find out more about the production and the shooting of the film ‘Contact,’ go to www.fifo-tahiti.com, to read the write-up of the meeting between Bentley Dean and the public which took place on Tuesday 25th January at the Petit Théâtre.