Tender and Kumu Hina, the overall festival winners
‘This evening, we will pay tribute to Richard Mai.’ Before initiating the FIFO hymn in Tahitian before the Grand Theatre audience, Jacquot, the conductor who leads the choir, comprising members of the festival staff, wished to honour ‘a friend, a brother and a colleague,’ who passed away last year. ‘Richard told me: in Maré language, that singing emphasises togetherness. This evening, we’re good together, this festival has a feel-good factor,’ declares Wallès Kotra, the chairman of AFIFO, on the Grand Theatre stage accompanied by the High Commissioner, representatives from France Télévision and Polynésie 1ère and Heremoana
Maamaatuaiahutapu. ‘The good news is that we have decided to extend FIFO,’ Wallès Kotra announces enthusiastically, already revealing the dates of next year’s festival from 30th January to 7th February 2016.
Following the speech by the future Minister of Culture giving rise to laughter from the crowd including the chairman of the jury, Jan Kounen, visibly delighted to be there this evening, the long-awaited moment when the prizes are announced has arrived. ‘And the prize for the Best Short Film is….. Cat.’ A cry of joy resounds. Then the new SCAN Prize that awards the best local production.,‘Tattoo!’ announces Hermann Van Eyken, a member of the jury. ‘Oh I think that the film already has its fan club,’ he laughs. Cries of joy and applause resound in the room. Jean-Philippe Joaquim and his producer emerge from the shadows and step onto the stage. ‘We put our hearts, tears and laughter into this film,’ exclaims the producer before being interrupted by the director: ‘and ink!’ The evening continues with the speech by the chairman of the jury Jan Kounen. ‘I was very surprised as in Europe, festival juries end up fighting it out,’ he confides amused, ‘whilst here, I do not know if it is because we are in Oceania but it is respectful and calm!’ ‘However, there is a distinct lack of women so next year, we need at least one woman on the jury,’ adds the French director enchanted by his stay in French Polynesia. The moment has come to award the First Jury Prize which goes to the French film Les Horizons Chimérique (Utopian Horizons). The Second Jury Prize awards Kumu Hina also winner of the Public Prize. When the prizes are announced, the film’s heroine steps onto the stage alongside her husband. Moved, Hina is here from Hawaii to represent the documentary which describes her difficulties as a ‘mahu,’ but also as a woman. She is speechless… An emotional moment that struck the gathering.
‘For the Special Jury Prize,’ annonces member of the jury Emmanuel Tjibaou, we name… Black Panther Woman.’ Marlène Cummins cannot believe it. This character, this strong nowexemplary woman, is sitting next to the heroine of Kumu Hina. ‘It is incredible to see these two women gathered together in the same place. It is an honour,’ confides a spectator not missing a second of the evening, interspersed by dance interludes provided by the group Hei Rurutu. Now the long-awaited moment of the evening arrives: the announcement of the Jury Grand Prize. The chairman of the jury, Jan Kounen, is called to the stage. ‘As the winner of this prize was decided together, I would like to ask the other members of the jury to join me.’ Once together on the stage, the jury then announces the overall winner of FIFO 2015. ‘And the Jury Grand Prize is awarded to…. ‘Tender’! Well done!’ There is an ovation in the room. ‘It was an extraordinary, very rich and very diverse FIFO. In additon this year we had a brilliant chairman of the jury,’ confides one of the spectators.