FIFO 2017: Identity, Sharing and Discoveries

FIFO 2017: Identity, Sharing and Discoveries



The FIFO organizing committee is pleased to present its selection of films for 2017. 128 movies out of 142 were screened and evaluated by the preselection committee in competition. These quality selection chart the cultural diversity of Oceania. In 2017 the FIFO includes 40 documentary films: 14 competing and 26 non-competingg including 10 in the “Ocean Screens” section. 



The Preselection Committee is composed of 9 members:

Sophie Blanc, Film editor and member of ATPA

Pascale Briançon, Producer and Director

Moana Brotherson, Philately counsellor to the Post Office, member of the AFIFO

Michèle De Chazeaux, Producer and TV presenter, member of the AFIFO

Marie-Noelle Frémy, Historian and member of the AFIFO

Taema Mahinui, Accountant

Hina Sylvain, Member of the AFIFO

Moana ‘ura Tehei’ ura, English Teacher, Choreographer and Director

Guy Wallart, Director and Publisher, member of the AFIFO


142 films including a record 28 from New Zealand! 27 from Australia, 22 from French Polynesia, 19 from France, 14 from New Caledonia, 7 from the United States, 6 each from Hawaii, Papua New Guinea and Guam, 2 each from Egypt and Belgium and 1 each from Germany, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece, Morocco, Switzerland, Portugal, Iran, Canada, Ivory Coast and Japan.


14 films have been selected in the “Competing” category and will come under the expert eye of the jury and 16 films were selected in the “Non-Competing” category. In addition, this year, the festival presents the “Oceanian Screens” selection which includes films representing lesser known peoples, countries, and other aspects of Oceania.

All the films are eligible for the Audience’s Award but only “Competing” films will be awarded prizes by the jury.


As each year, via image and sound, the FIFO articulates the ideas, the conflicts, the emotions and the evolution of Oceanian societies. These films relay the global concerns of our times and the FIFO demonstrates once again, the profound uniqueness of Oceania, within which we find strong bonds linking profoundly different parts.


Again this year, as we have seen previously, the FIFO is a melting pot where politics, history, economics and questions of identity intermingle: Where we can take a look at World War II and its consequences upon the native population of Guam. Or where we consider the effects of 30 years of French Atomic testing on Moruroa. Or recall the extraordinary John Frum Cult in Vanuatu. In PNG one story is about a whole people and its search for emancipation, another tells of the brutal plunder of a population by big business. A closer look at the Australian nation brings back to a not-so-distant time when aborigines were not considered citizens. On a lighter note, the FIFO also recounts the story of Pacific islanders’ hairstyles showing their beauty through time; or how in Wallis and Futuna the economy has become intimately intertwined with religion.


The FIFO doesn’t overlook the arts: thus this year, contemporary dance in Tahiti is presented primarily as a therapy for disabled persons but also as their performance on stage with its accompanying emotions. Then we find the Oh, so Polynesian, ‘ori tahiti, and its exportation to Japan. On a more Classical note, we take the FIFO’s spectators to the Sydney Opera House, where we discover the route taken by a young ballet dancer of aboriginal origins.


As for painting, in the Hawaiian archipelago today it is distinctly mural, modern but with traditional facets. On the New Zealand music scene, it’s Black and How Bizarre! In conclusion, the arts show us that between tradition and modernity, there can be encounters and exchanges between diverse Pacific island cultures.


Throughout the FIFO, Arts and Crafts, Agriculture, Tradition and Culture come together and intermingle, never forgetting to incorporate reflections of Oceanian identities. These themes traverse the festival, from the history of the yam, through to the ‘uru, casting light upon tapa and tattooing and the importance of ceremonies and initiations, reminding us of the loss or revival of native languages and then offering a respectful but playful glimpse of mischievous imps in the beautiful Caledonian countryside.

As usual, the FIFO offers individual portraits of fascinating characters, whether it’s a māori singer, a Kanak chess player, or a passionate Aboriginal dancer…

The FIFO showcases once again, the resources and concerns of Pacific island societies: whether about problems of obesity, violence against women, education, the dangers represented by a cult, these films denounce or offer solutions. Yet another film tells of the lifestyle of transgender individuals, humans, people first and foremost. Others sing of the beauty of the land: New Caledonia or perhaps Hawaii, proclaiming the defence of the environment. And sport has not been forgotten: the va’a !

The FIFO provides an abundance of Oceanian images, within its waves two more films present Oceanian “myths” in an original way, somewhere between an industrial production and the expression of a reality that dares to portray them as kitsch or ironic, resulting in either forthright mirth or desperate laughter, just another surprising predicament.


The 2017 FIFO throws yet again, its perceptive, affectionate gaze across Oceania, a continent rich with values and traditions. An Oceania attached to its past, yet which, in a present day context where globalization may provoke fear and alarm, is resolutely turned towards the future.