Twenty young people, various Polynesians and Australian students studying at the Griffith Film School, participated in the Bootcamp proposed jointly by the University of Brisbane and the FIFO. They had a short week to present five-minute documentaries. A great success!

The Bootcamp offered at the FIFO was led by Faramarz Keshamarz-Rahber, a film producer and lecturer at the Griffith Film School in Bribane. Twenty young people participated, half from Australia, the others Polynesians wishing to progress in documentary filmmaking. The group presented their finished films this Sunday: Belle Phaeton is about two transgender women, Ta’ata ‘Ōrero is on the subject of Polynesian legends, Tevaitere is the portrait of a man and Te Mana is about polynesian mana. Four beautiful short documentaries made in one week, it was a real challenge for such a short period of time. Many of the participants admit that they didn’t sleep much and were very tired but absolutely delighted with the experience. The ideas came differently from one group to another, for Tevaitere, the hero is the uncle of one of the participants: “It was simple in terms of logistics but a challenge in terms of realization because it portrays a personal story.” he confided with a smile and in all authenticity. For Belle Phaeton, it was an encounter with a person in the group that led to these transgender women who tell their coming-out story and their difficulties in a few short minutes. The participants pitched on Monday and went out on location the next day. “With the time they had and the conditions they were working under, it’s really excellent,” praises their professor Faramarz Keshamarz-Rahber. I am really impressed that the “mayonnaise” took so well between the Australians and the Tahitians! They were very engaged, eager to learn, I even worried about how much time they were spending! It was very exciting and exhilarating.”

Some confessed to their linguistic difficulties: not speaking French or having to speak English all week, but they overcame this problem and for some the experience of combining two cultures was extraordinary. The time constraint was super complicated: only 6 days to make a 5-minute documentary, “the research and documentation part vanished but we learned to work in the moment, to go for it, even with little knowledge and to soak up everything that happens, to be flexible and adaptable“. The Australians, who study at the Griffith Film School, expressed their admiration for the Polynesians who are learning filmmaking on their own, via YouTube. “It was everyone’s passion that made it happen. Everyone was there, right to the end.” In fact, the chemistry was so perfect that Faramarz Keshamarz-Rahber explained that he couldn’t tell the Australians from the Tahitians. “They were all intermingled together and managed to create a harmony.” Their teacher said he was happy with the experience, “You realize how important this type of activity is in Oceania. Even though it is of short duration, you can see the impact on the audience and the participants. This generation is very sharp and efficient, they are already ready and all that’s left to do is light the fire!” 

Lucie Rabréaud – FIFO

“You have to stay passionate” Toarii Pouira, Director

Why did you enroll in the Griffith Film School’s Bootcamp?

I wanted to see how a film school works because there are none here and Ive always wanted to study at a film school. I also wanted to interact and talk with the director-producer to find out how the film and documentary industry works in Australia. It’s very interesting because there are similarities with French Polynesia on how to produce a film, you have to choose the right subject, at the right time, for the right audience. You have to be in tune with the times. You have to have a lot of contacts, it’s a job where relationships are important. You have to remain passionate!

What was the challenge like: making a documentary in just a few days?

We were divided into four teams and each person had to come up with an idea for a documentary, pitch it, prepare the production schedule, contact the people we wanted to work with, and explain to them that we couldn’t shoot next week it had to be now (laughs). It was a very interesting concept, it even made my friends and I from Iaorana Motion want to do a TV show a bit like Pékin Express, about making a documentary in one week.

How did it go for your team?

We wanted to test the universality of Mana by interviewing everyone in the Papeete market and then we found a tattoo artist who did an ‘ōrero on Mana. We’re proud to have presented our film, this Bootcamp was a really great experience. When I applied the Fifo asked me if I was sure I wanted to participate in this week because I have already been working as a director for eight years now but I said yes because you learn every day and indeed, I learned a lot! That’s how it is, the world evolves, the cinema and the technologies too… In our film, we even did some shots with our smartphones! It was an intense week where we didn’t sleep much!