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An Emotional 6th Oceanian Short Film Night

public-1Funny, off-the-wall, kitsch, sombre, fantasy, mystical and social…there was something for everyone on Saturday evening at the 6th Oceanian Short Film Night.

 

A long queue began to form at 6.30pm in front of the Maison de la culture Grand Theatre on Saturday 31st January. For the sixth consecutive year, there was a throng at the traditional and very popular Oceanian Short Film Night, part of FIFO’s OFF programme.

This year, the public had the opportunity to discover no less than sixteen short films. There may only be one production from New Caledonia on the Francophone side, but French Polynesia presented five short films some of which were recently awarded at the Vini Film Festival. This is the case with “Transit”, the shortest of the short films -2 minutes precisely – that won First Prize at the 3rd edition. To complete this selection, two short films from New Zealand and eight Australian short films were also shown on the big screen. Herman Van Eyken, a member of the jury at the 12th FIFO and director of the Griffith Film School, in Brisbane, is largely responsible for this Australian predominance: the eight films were, in fact, produced by final year students at this prestigious film school.

The audience went with the flow throughout the evening, ranging between laughter and emotion. Serious subjects mingled with the absurd and the comic. Amongst the most moving films: “Jack Rabbit” portraying domestic violence and “In Safe Hands”, a production from New Zealand highlighting incredible, but quite real facts. In 2002, a large hospital in Auckland acknowledged having removed the hearts of children who had died between 1950 and 2001 without permission from the parents. Hundreds of families then came to claim their hearts. This film was awarded the prize for the best Oceanian film at the Court des îles Festival in 2014.

However, maybe the winner will be on the funny or the crazy side, as let’s not forget, the public votes for their favourite film at the end of the evening; a special prize is awarded during the prize-winning ceremony on Friday 6th February. The very kitsch “The F-Word” has a very British sense of humour, whilst the black humour in “Cat” makes you double up laughing… or almost. We should also mention “Blind Date” and “Art”, undoubtedly the craziest film of the evening.

When leaving the Grand Theatre, you have to make your decision before putting your choice in the ballot box. Vaihere came with his family and is bemused to see that no one has voted for the same film. “I liked the animated film “Tracker” for its science-fiction side, but it appears that I am the only one!” His niece, close by, voted for “The F-Word”: “It was funny and colourful. It really made me laugh”. For Michel and Sandrine, two FIFO addicts, they voted for “Cat” and “Blind date” respectively. Humour on both counts. And what does a keen professional observer like Herman Van Eyken think? “A difficult question, I can’t vote for one of my pupils’ films, I am too involved! I would perhaps choose the film from New Zealand “The Gift” and its particular way of tackling the subject of the after world and donation”.

See you on February 6th for the verdict!