Making Good Men, big winner of the FIFO 2018
The awards ceremony for the 15th FIFO took place on Friday, February 9. The film Making Good Men won the Grand Prize of the FIFO 2018.
“In speaking of Oceania, the writer Le Clézio said it was an invisible continent. With the 15th FIFO, we have illuminated this continent.” It is with these words that Wallès Kotra, the Festival’s founding father, launches the prize-giving ceremony of the FIFO 2018. Before announcing the Jury Prizes of this 15th edition, the ceremony begins with the script-writing marathon prize given this year to schoolchildren. The young Tanguy Guais wins the award and an airline ticket from Air Tahiti Nui, partner of this FIFO workshop. Next comes the 9th Night of the Fiction that opened the Festival on Saturday, February 3. The award is given to the short film The World in Your Window by the filmmaker Zoe McIntosh, a Festival regular. Kanu Belong Keram, a short film upon the building of a canoe in Papua New Guinea, wins the Window-on-Short documentary prize, a novelty of this festival. The film Blue by Katrina Holden wins the Okeanos Prize. “This film is a reminder that we all play a role in protecting our oceans,” explains the Australian consul Paul Wilson, on the Grand Theatre’s stage. He welcomes the message of this documentary that shows how mankind is responsible for polluting the Oceans. This film moved the FIFO spectators.
Human stories rewarded
After a short pause, featuring a performance by the Hei Tahiti dance troupe, winner of the 2017 Hura Tapairu prize in the Mehura category, the FIFO prizes are awarded.
“This Festival was a wonderful moment, a beautiful experience. Except for the rain, everything was perfect,” says the President of the Jury, Eric Lavaine, who congratulates the members of the 2018 jury. “We have not always agreed among ourselves, which resulted in real debates. It was very enjoyable to listen to you and to have the opportunity to exchange views.” The filmmaker Kim Webby presents the 1st Special Prize of the Jury. A prize that is awarded to Abdul et José, the first East Timor documentary to be selected by the FIFO. “It is a great honor to receive this prize, it means a lot to our team,” says the documentary’s producer, with emotion. The 2nd Special Prize of the Jury, presented by Guillaume Soulard, goes to Joey and the Leitis. “We have an important mission: these awards are meant to get people talking about the initiatives of men and women. I ask you to join me in applauding Joey and the Leitis.” Joey, the documentary’s main character, takes the stage with Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer, the film’s two directors, who in 2015 already received a FIFO award for their film Kumu Hina. “We would like to dedicate this prize to all persons who suffer discriminations and who are homosexuals,” explains Joey, moved to tears who, in his country, combats discriminations against mahu. The 3rd Special Prize of the Jury, presented by Lavinia Tagane, goes to Pouvana’a, ni haine ni rancune directed by Jacques Navarro-Rovira. “It is an important film because it enables us to remember the story of this man,” explains the filmmaker.
A universal message
Noëlla Tau takes the stage to present the Public’s Choice Award that goes to Frères des arbres, l’appel d’un chef papou. It takes the filmmaker, Marc Dozier, by surprise. “If I had known, I would have prepared a speech. My film is not better than the others but it is different. I would like to share this prize with all filmmakers.” Then comes the evening’s long-awaited moment: the presentation of the Grand Prize. “All of the films have different mindsets and histories. They develop our awareness of things. The FIFO is extraordinary because it makes us think,” says Eric Lavaine, President of the jury, before presenting the Grand Prize. Making Good Men is the big winner of the FIFO 2018. “I receive this award with great humility for I did not expect it,” says the film director Fiona Apanui-Kupenga. The evening ends as it began with music, and a future date to reserve: The FIFO 2019 will take place from 2 to 10 February 2019!
Jacques Navarro-Rovira, film director of Pouvana’a, ni haine ni rancune
What value do you place on this evening’s award?
The jury understood the importance of the subject and the personage. They awarded this prize to the film to offer it a greater visibility and audience, especially in metropolitan France, where people do not know this story that is a serious injustice. This award will help to repair it.
What response did you get from the spectators?
The people reacted quite positively and discovered information in the film that had never been published. We learn that during a Council of Ministers with de Gaulle, Pouvana’a could not be kept as Vice-President of the Governing Council. De Gaulle asks that measures be taken!
Joey, main character of Joey and the Leitis
What does this prize mean to you?
This prize rewards the struggle against discriminations that must be shown and told, and the work that has been accomplished. Thank you to the film directors who enabled this film to be made and seen.
What is going to happen when you return to Tonga with this film?
We are likely to talk a lot about it. We will try to have it screened when I go home, especially for the LGBT community.
Making Good Men, by Fiona Apanui Kupenga
What does this prize mean to you?
It is a wonderful reward for me, but also for the characters of the film. Even though the film is of New Zealand origin, it is a universal message that has been rewarded tonight. This past week at the FIFO has been an extraordinary week for me and I have met many producers and filmmakers.
Have you already received prizes for this film?
Yes, we won the Doc Edge Festival award and a New Zealand television award. It is amazing to receive another award from a Pacific country.
Frère des arbres, l’appel d’un chef papou by Marc Dozier
What does this prize mean to you?
This award is important to us for it carries a message that is vital to all of us. It does not matter where we live, what counts is that we continue to take care of our planet. It is very important that a Pacific audience appreciates the film. I believe Mundiya will be very happy to receive this award.
Why is Papua New Guinea unknown?
We always look at the world from our own point of view and, unfortunately, not enough from the point of view of other civilizations. This is also one of the film’s subjects: for once, a voice is given to a representative of the indigenous peoples, who gives his vision of the world.
Eric Lavaine, President of the jury
Why Making Good Men?
This film is very strong visually and the subject is universal, not only centered on the Pacific. It is the story of two men who are well known in their country. To cross the destiny of these two personalities is profoundly moving. Through their encounter, they become men.
What have you learned from Oceania?
What is interesting about the FIFO is it encourages us to look at films we would not normally look at in our homes, and to experience an adventure, something that is different. As President of the jury, I have to look at films, disconnect myself and discover unfamiliar territories. It enriches me. I have learned a lot.
What will you say about French Polynesia when you return to Paris?
Not to travel in the islands during the month of February, if they are looking for sunshine (laughs). To be serious, one must travel in these islands once in a lifetime. One must experience it.
FIFO / Suliane Favennec