April, 18th: We have been feverishly looking forward to this day, it is the first major information event to enlist participants for our participative film project. We had been working a lot for publicity for this meeting in advance. We placed ads on Facebook and sent a bulk SMS to all cell phone owners on the island. The Marshall Islands Journal wrote about us and Mark was a guest on a live broadcast on the radio. The city was full of our flyers and there was quite a lot of word of mouth recommendation.
Much has happened since our last entry. On the 2nd of April we got our visas for a whole year. From this moment we could really start. There is a lot going on right now. Today we want to tell you briefly about the biggest upcoming event, on which we are currently working at full speed.
Nuclear bombs were the first serious threat to the existence of the Marshall Islands. 67 (in words: sixty seven!) nuclear fusion and nuclear fission bombs the US detonated over parts of ‘their’ former UN trust territory. Quite a few here say the new bomb, which threatens the Marshall Islands now will hardly be less destructive. They are talking about climate change. It will not contaminate the land. It will devour it.
In the meantime, we had to relocate the Kiribati project to the Marshall Islands, another island state in the region, which faces similar challenges as Kiribati due to climate change. Why this “move” was necessary, you can read about here.
It is Saturday evening. Since our arrival we have met many people and despite the short time already made friends. One of them is Kabuta, a pastor to be who likes to smoke and drink a beer once in a while and continuously invites us to drink Kawa with him. And today the time has come.
Officially we are still “tourists” and it’s weekend again. So we do the Cultural Tour to Abatao and get to know this side of the island. Abatao is the second island of North Tarawa, and the first one that can not be reached via a bridge. It is already considered an Outer Island. It is a foretaste on the other remoter islands of Kiribati.
On January 4, 2018, our small team arrived at the small airport on Tarawa. After three days of travel, we were finally there.
When the plane was still in the air, we had flattened our noses against the windows. In the midst of the azure blue vastness of the Pacific Ocean, which we had flown over for hours from Fiji, there was suddenly some pieces of land deep down there. Circular the shape, the tiny atolls arranged themselves on the caldera of an ancient volcano. Hard to imagine that there should be space enough for the landing of the jet. But there was space and we landed noisily. The thickest heat shot through the open hatches. After we had crossed the runway on foot and finally came to the customs office, the young officers began to use their mobiles frantically. From the office of the President they received the information: “Send them all back to Fiji.” What happened?
The Kiribati Project is our most comprehensive participatory film project so far. We are launching our third feature film project together with the people of the islands of the Republic of Kiribati. Due to the melting of the poles and the rise of the sea level, the groundwater stocks of numerous atolls are over-silting, the sea is beating faster than ever before over the islands and threatens to engulf them still in this century.
Our pitching video (last post under this one) tells you about our motives to make this movie.
Again, there is no script, no fixed statement to filch, but instead, the search for the stories that we will explore together with local people in a variety of workshops.
On the island of Tarawa we will start work in January 2018. The area of the Islands of the republic is huge. The islands spread across the vast Pacific Ocean on an area just about the size of the U.S.A. We will try to visit as many islands as possible and invite as many people as possible into the project.
In the course of the year 2018 you can follow the progress of the work on our project blog mauri-kiribati.com.
We are happy to have found a political patron for our project with the member of parliament, Michael Leutert, who has supported us intensively since the planning phase, encouraged us, pointed out possible funding and became a fan of this film project.
And we succeeded, to win Professor Dr. Mojib Latif for the scientific advice for the film, who gave us valuable advice already for the shooting at a first meeting in Hamburg.
We thank Maria Kling of the production “Studio Kalliope“, who believed in this project from the beginning and feared no difficulties and obstacles to get it going.
Together with Maria Kling from Film Production Kalliope (Potsdam, Babelsberg), we have been working on a new full feature film for cinema since the beginning of 2017: we call it the Kiribati project. It will be (again) a participatory film. We gave it the working title: “The do not give way to the waves.”
The film will be shot and edited together with the people of the islands of the Republic of Kiribati. Kiribati is located in the central Pacific. Due to the melting of the poles, the rising sea level threatens to flood the islands in historical short time to come. But the future of the republic is still unwritten. Not a few believe that it will inevitably sink. Others think the islands can be saved. For our film crew, Kiribati is also a symbol, a warning to the world. If we do not finally learn to treat our planet with respect, it will put us in front of unimaginable difficulties everywhere. The flood in one place is the drought in another place.