“Reaching two figures is not without reason”

The Chairman of the Jury for FIFO 2013 thus embarked upon his speech at the opening ceremony of the festival on Tuesday. An emotive ceremony since the festival reaching its tenth year is proof of maturity, passion and commitment that the different key figures who have succeeded one another on the paepae at the Maison de la Culture have not failed to recognize. Crowning the tenth FIFO provided its founders with the opportunity to recall the strides made but also to thank the benefactors, friends and partners who, since the beginning, believed in the event’s unifying strength and legitimacy, in a Pacific panorama which fights increasingly for recognition of its plurality and the safeguard, beyond everything, of its wealth of cultures, languages, traditions and customs. A festival which is Polynesian and Oceanian but also international, FIFO is “the echo of our word which resounds here and there and is amplified by a network of friendship and solidarity,” recalls Wallès Kotra. The chairman of the AFIFO took this opportunity to thank Hervé Bourges for his loyalty and friendship, who believed in FIFO even though the festival was only at project stage and accepted to chair for the first three years to facilitate it to remain.

This festival’s opening ceremony, which moves up the ranks each year, is also the opportunity to take stock of technical issues which are sometimes discussed and resolved at round tables throughout the event alongside screenings. Hervé Bourges took the opportunity to pay tribute to the true dialogue of cultures inherent to the festival. He recalled the importance of not being introverted, retaining one’s culture and open-mindedness to others, particularly in island universes which are often closed and in a context where globalization is in full flow. This globalization that the former chairman of the CSA (French broadcasting regulatory body) (and first to organise a World Summit for audiovisual regulatory bodies in 1999) wishes to moderate. “Yes to technical progress, no to a technology which uses globalization for global pre-packaged thinking, against which we have to rise above of course,” he declared, before pursuing “We have a great debate in France about technical problems and issues about content, with notably an entire study on the eventual merger or not of the telecoms regulatory agency, ARCEP (regulatory authority for electronic communication and jobs, editor’s note) and the regulatory committee for radio and television programmes and channels, the CSA. […] I am for a merger. I am suspicious of streams because for me streams are simply what technically transport cultures, transports programmes, transports ways of thinking, philosophies and it is never the streams that should enforce the quality and diversity of the programmes and cultures.”

Distress was evident when this intellectual revealed the probable departure, next September, of the current chairman of the AFIFO, “a man not only of great quality, culture and conviction, but a man who managed to stay himself (…) managing to surpass himself, to open out to others, with this even-temper of believers who have no complex, because they are what they are and that they also know that they can learn elsewhere and that they can also open out to others.” With affection, Hervé Bourges publically bid: “Wallès is the soul of this FIFO and I do not want […] that we do not think about a possible replacement right now, attempting to find a leading figure from Oceania who has his moral, intellectual and professional qualities.” The call is out.