As intended a cinema film has now emerged from our participatory project “withstanding the waves” about the impacts of climate change in the Pacific. We’re still working on some color corrections and some changes to the animated credits. But in principle we are through.
After we had developed the basic dramaturgy of the film with our participants on Majuro, it took us another year before the film was finished. Above all, this was due to the incredible amount of material that we brought back to Germany from the many workshops on the Marshall Islands. Almost a year of participatory filming gave us around 420 hours of material that we viewed and categorized from January 2019 until well into May. In addition, our participants from the RMI still sent us even further material via cloud.
Above all, Chris Sebastian and Kelly Sebastian from Majuro helped us with the translation of the interviews that were in Marshallese language and the college professor Raychelle Heath supervised us regarding the English language in the film. We completed the rough cut from mid-May to August. The film was then almost two hours long and we privately watched it with a few people and listened to their ideas and suggestions for cuts.
Then we went into fine editing with the editor Dalia Castell and Maria Kling from Studio Kalliope, tightened, edited and discussed again and again. We had a result by the end of September. During the editing process, we kept reminding ourselves to avoid simplifications and exaggerations, while at the same time we were striving for a clear message from the film in the interest of our friends in the RMI: Climate change is real and concerns us all!
Julian Cropp and Johannes Kunz took care of the sound of the film. Boris Löbsack composed seven pieces for the film and Radiohead, Jethro Tull, New Model Army, French for Rabbits, David Todd, MICA, VOLODIA, The Ebeye High School Band and The Alwal String Band each contributed one title to the film. The end credits music came from Dota Kehr. The New York graphic artist Quinn Qian animated some scientific representations in the film and created the title and closing sequences. Sven Kirschlager created unusually sensitive linguistically perfect German subtitles for the film. Viviana Uriona took over the Spanish translation with the same care.
At the beginning of November we watched the film to test it on the big screen at the Cinema “Brotfabrik” in Berlin. Claus Löser and his people, who have always supported us strongly on previous projects, made this test possible.
We gave the film the title “One Word”. If you watch the film, you will understand why. Until then, it remains a little secret.
“One Word” has got its own website with the URL: one-word-the-movie.com and the first people who saw the trailer of the film on the website at the beginning of December 2019 were the participants of our workshops in the RMI and the protagonists of the film, whom we all informed via email long before other people around the world discovered the site for themselves. The feedback from “our people” in the RMI touched us. Together we believe that “One Word” shows the dignity, the pride and the optimism of the Marshallese in the face of the terrible consequences of climate change for their world.
“One Word” is currently submitted to numerous festivals around the world and we plan the cinema time only after the festival period has ended, probably not before the second half of 2020. Before the film (after the festival period has expired) will be shown in cinema there will be two public premieres on the two most densely populated atolls in the Marshall Islands: Majuro and Ebeye.
After that, the film will go out into the world. If the many people who have worked on this film in the RMI, in Germany and in the USA will have only a tiny influence with their work on the climate policy debates of our day, then it was worth it. Kommol tata! (Marshallese: Thank you!) to everyone who helped this project.