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School children at FIFO: a young and curious audience

Scolaires au FIFOPupils from different schools in Tahiti and Moorea had Monday devoted to them, screenings and workshops were offered providing a great opportunity to get a taste of the audiovisual world.

800 pupils from almost 15 French Polynesian schools came to FIFO on Monday by foot or by bus, from Moorea through the peninsula, to discover a programme conceived just for them. A host of films about the environment, about transmission, funny, sometimes moving films, but also films that tell us about Polynesia like the one by Jeff Benhamza, “Bobby, the Revival of Polynesian Culture.” The Grand Theatre was full for this screening. The attentive pupils discovered more about a man who was until then only renowned for his music. Lanihei, Rolanda and Hiauani from Moorea – aged 14 and 15 – confide that out of all the films that they have seen, this is their favourite. “It talks about our country, our culture and our songs”, specifies Rolanda who admits to only knowing about the singer Bobby, not about his work as a painter or even how committed he was. Another story, another epoch is that of Major Maxime Destremau and the bombing of Papeete on 22nd September. At the end of the screening of “Destremeau, a Polynesian Fate”, the pupils were able to discuss a period of their own history with the historian Marie-Noëlle Fremy and the director Pascale Berlin.

Year 10 pupils from Punaauia secondary school also came to improve their knowledge. From amongst the films screened, “Rapa Nui, the Secret Story of Easter Island” holds their undivided attention. They are planning a trip to Rapa Nui with their Spanish teacher in April. “This will help us to be better prepared for the trip. We are hoping to discover things. We have brought our cameras and even a Go Pro camera to film ourselves here today at FIFO, it can be included in the travel journal that we are preparing,” a pupil adds.

There is great emotion after the screening of ‘Kumu Hina’: all the pupils present in the Grand Theatre go down to the stage to thank Hina and have a photo taken with her, before leaving the village to take the boat back to Moorea. Both the pupils and Hina were very touched by their encounter.

Simultaneously, at the Maison de la culture, pupils took part in introductory workshops provided by the Festival. The majority have taken an audiovisual option at school and are interested in film. Here editing techniques are made fun with a workshop devoted to image processing and another called “stop motion”. For this workshop, led by Luce Pasquini, year 12 STD2A pupils (Applied art and design science and technology) from the Samuel Raapoto secondary school have conceived a story that they have filmed image by image in order to make an animation film. The lesson was very successful and even provoked laughter.

Other pupils grasped scriptwriting or performing in front of the camera. Moreover, for this last workshop, the exercise turned out to be particularly difficult for those not used to expressing themselves in front of an audience. The actress and theatre studies teacher Sarah Dukhan, tried to get them to experience the acting profession. Breathing and concentration techniques were worked upon and the actress wanted to tackle the importance of accurate emotions with the pupils. “There must be sincerity, you have to learn not to exaggerate,” she explains to us. For 16-year-old Imihau, it’s certain, “to be an actor you have to produce strong emotions.” An hour and a half after the start of the workshop and several exercises later to get into the role, the participants move into action: in front of the camera they use what they have learnt and the least one can say is that they cope well for a first attempt. FIFO ‘s function is also to create and encourage vocations.