“I have never seen a more emotionally resonant, politically focused, environmentally necessary film. It did what excellent filmmaking does, helped me understand the reality of the people”
Rachel - Doc Edge Spectator (NZ)
Colonise. To take land, culture, history, minds, and bodies.
Decolonise. To win back that taken.
Revolution. To build a new future free of history's violent baggage.
Ophir tells the story of an extraordinary revolution for life, land and culture, leading up to the potential creation of the world’s newest nation in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea.
A poetic yet dramatic ode to the indelible thirst of a peoples for freedom, culture and sovereignty; the film sheds light on the biggest conflict of the Pacific since WWII, revealing the visible and invisible chains of colonisation and its enduring cycles of physical and psychological warfare.
WHY THIS FILM?
Our world is in Crisis. The Crisis of global warming, of the uninterrupted race for natural resources, of forests burning on every continent, of democracies in loss of certainties. The Crisis that mobilises people to join the collective cries of #metoo, #FridaysForFuture, #blacklivesmatter, and of indigenous peoples and exploited workers around the world.
The Crisis almost always leads us back to our chequered past. Finally, the issues related to the colonial legacies of the “great” Western powers catapult to the forefront. Our collective narrative is being sought: Who are we? Where are we going? The Crisis, what is this phenomenon? Who do we listen to, who do we believe? Can we begin to repair as quickly as we destroy? Meanwhile, the struggles for survival do not wait.
Ophir exposes the roots of this integral Crisis, voiced entirely by the indigenous people of the autonomous region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea. The film deconstructs the mechanisms of exploitation through the colonisation of land and its people, who at the end of the 1980s were left with no choice but to revolt for their right to exist. Decades of change by colonisers and years of exploitation of the giant Panguna mine led to the tragic decade-long conflict known as the Bougainville Crisis, a deadly war between colonial powers and a local Bougainvillean resistance, in a bid to secede from their motherland Papua New Guinea, which was propped up by Australia and one of the biggest mining giants, Rio Tinto.
The conflict killed around 20,000 Bougainvilleans, wiping out approximately 10% of the island’s population. The largest conflict in the Pacific region since the Second World War, where a small group of islanders first armed with bows and arrows fought helicopters and guns. It is often referred to as the the first « eco-revolution » in the world.
Some say Bougainvilleans were guided by nature. That "when nature fights at your side, you cannot lose". They defiantly defended the core principles that formed the basis of their society, in the face of absolute destruction of their mental, physical, and spiritual conception of what it means to be human. A conception of existence in which women and men, culture and the environment, form an inseparable whole, a vector of harmony and peace. This may seem utopian. Yet, the people of Bougainville led their revolution in the mountains and jungle and won.
For the outside observer it was yet another episode in post-colonial bloodletting. For those on the ground it was an attempt to exfoliate a century of history and find new ground for building a society based in dignity, balance and respect.
Ophir thus tells the story of Bougainville, but also the much broader filigree story of a difficult attempt to decolonise the mind in the polarised world of the 21st century, which must face the urgency of profound reflections for its future. In a consultative referendum in December 2019, the population of Bougainville voted nearly 98% in favour of independence and could in the near future become the newest nation in the world. But which nation? Bougainville has a rare opportunity to explore a new road.
By inviting the audience into this story, Ophir takes a plunge into the deepest waters of colonialism and its invisible mechanisms and mindsets that still shapes the world and its institutions as we know it.
FIFO Oceania International Film Festival - Pape'ete, French Polynesia
Screenings: 4, 5 and 6 February 2020 - WORLD PREMIERE
Established in 2004, FIFO is one of the largest cultural gatherings in the Pacific, celebrating each year the best films made about the region.
WINNER Grand Jury Prize
Doc Edge Festival - New Zealand
Screenings: 27 June and 4 July 2020 - Virtual Edition - AUSTRALASIA PREMIERE
Doc Edge is New Zealand's annual Academy Award Qualifying Festival for documentaries.
Asinabka Film & Media Arts Festival - Ottawa, Canada
Screening: 17 September 2020 (Virtual)
In its 9th year, Asinabka aims to provide a space where Indigenous peoples can tell their own stories and see their own cultures reflected back at them; and to present the best in Indigenous film.
Wildscreen Festival - Bristol, United Kingdom
Festival: 19-23 October 2020 - Virtual Edition - EUROPEAN PREMIERE
On Demand - Available with Festival Passes until 16 December 2020
Held annually in Bristol, Wildscreen is the world's largest and most prestigious wildlife and environmental film festival. This year's headline includes Greta Thunberg, Sir David Attenborough and James Cameron.
Dharamshala International Film Festival - Dharamshala, India
Screenings: 29 October to 4 November - Virtual Edition - ASIAN PREMIERE - Online across South Asia with Regular or Premium Festival Passes
Described by the Asian Age as 'India's Sundance', the festival showcases the best of independent films from India and around the world. It has gained a reputation for its eclectic and adventurous programming, its beautiful mountain setting, and its intimate and cinema-literate atmosphere.
Suncine Environmental Film Festival - Barcelona, Spain
Screenings: 4-12 November 2020 - Virtual Edition - Spanish Premiere
In its 27th edition and held annually in Barcelona, Suncine is the world's oldest environmental film festival.
WINNER Grand Jury Prize (Golden Sun Award)
Festival Opening Film
Guam International Film Festival - Guam, United States - US PREMIERE
Screening: 8 November 2020 broadcast on PBS Guam
Celebrating its tenth birthday this year, GIFF is an international cinema event exhibiting a new and dynamic source of cross-cultural artistic presence, bridging gaps among the U.S., Asia and the Pacific’s multi-cultural population and region.
WINNER Grand Jury Prize - Best Documentary Award
Escales Documentaires - La Rochelle, France
Screenings: 8 & 9 November 2020 - Virtual Edition
In its 20th edition, the festival is an annual cultural event where compete documentaries from all over the world in the city of La Rochelle.
Nominee Grand Prix
Festival Interférences - Lyon, France
Screening: 9 November 2020 20h - Cinema Comoedia - CANCELLED
Over 10 days the festival proposes screenings and debates centred around scientific multidisciplinary documentaries, bringing together the public, academic researchers and filmmakers.
Red Nation International Film Festival & Awards - Beverly Hills, United States
Screenings: 15-30 November 2020 - Virtual Edition
Celebrating its 25th edition, the event is the first and largest Global Native-led Film Festival and Awards Ceremony.
Nominee Red Nation Award
PNG Human Rights Film Festival - Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Screenings: 27 & 29 November 2020
Having celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, the festival screens human rights themed films all around Papua New Guinea.
Traces de vies - Clermont Ferrand, France
Festival: 28 November - 14 December 2020 - Virtual Edition
Created in 1991, the festival and its various activities attract each year over 10,000 spectators and offer a window into the state of creative documentaries produced for cinema.
Nominee Prix "Hors Frontières"
Garifuna International Film Festival - Santa Monica, United States
Screening: 28 December 2020 - Virtual Edition
The event showcases films and documentaries created by Garifuna and many other indigenous people, hosting panel discussions, workshops, cultural presentations & award ceremonies.
Karama Human Rights Film Festival - Amman, Jordan - MIDDLE EAST PREMIERE
Screening: 4 January 2021 - Virtual Edition
The Karama HRFF was established in June 2009, sensing the need for human rights dialogue and advocacy in the Arab region. It usually attracts over 8,000 spectators in Amman, Jordan and offers outreach programs in schools and universities as well as support for other similar events in the region. This year’s theme is “memory of being.”
Nominee Karama Feather Award
Wild & Scenic Film Festival - California, United States
Screenings: 14-24 January 2021 - Virtual Edition
For the past 19 years, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival has inspired environmental activism and a love for nature–through film. It also goes on tour, organizing over 180 events each year and working towards increasing awareness for grassroots environmental causes.
Ficwallmapu - Temuco, Chile - SOUTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
Screenings: 25-29 January 2021 - Virtual Edition
Organised on Mapuche territory, the festival will screen over 50 films. One of the major focus of this sixth edition will be on autonomies, indigenous governments and self-determination for indigenous communities around the world.
Peloponnisos International Documentary Festival - Kalamata, Greece
Screenings: 5-14 February 2021 (Online) & 18 June-28 July 2021 (Cinema)
While usually focusing mainly on European documentary, in celebration of 200 years of Greek Independence the festival will showcase documentaries under the general theme of ‘conquering freedom’ on a global scale.
Toronto Black Film Festival - Toronto, Canada
Screenings: 10-21 February 2021 - Virtual Edition
A sister festival to the Montreal International Black Film Festival, the event is devoted to celebrating and promoting authentic stories that reflect the true reality of Black people around the world.
Human International Documentary Festival - Oslo, Norway - Scandinavian Premiere - Screenings: 1-7 March 2021 - Virtual Edition
HUMAN International Documentary Festival is Oslo’s largest documentary film festival presenting the newest Norwegian and International documentaries in combination with debates, talks, seminars and workshops, art exhibitions, theatre plays and more.
RAI Film Festival - London, United Kingdom
Screenings: 19-28 March 2021 - Virtual Edition available worldwide with Q&A 28 March 2021
Organised by the Royal Anthropological Institute, the festival is a biennal event dedicated to the celebration of the best in ethnographic, anthropological and archaeological filmmaking from around the globe.
Nominee RAI Film Prize & Basil Wright Prize
Environmental Film Festival at Yale - Yale University, United States
Screenings: 24-28 March 2021 - Virtual Edition - Q&A 25 March 2021
EFFY is one of America's premier student-run environmental film festivals. Every spring it showcases incisive, cutting edge films that highlight the environmental and social issues of our time.
Liberation Docfest - Dhaka, Bangladesh
Screening: 6 April 2021 - Virtual Edition - POSTPONED to later date
The festival is dedicated to documentary cinema, seeking to highlight the struggle for Liberation and Human Rights of people in various parts of the world and its contemporary significance.
Montréal International First Peoples Festival - Montréal, Canada
Screenings: April 8-11 2021 - Virtual Edition via Festival du Nouveau Cinema
Usually held for 10 days in August, the festival celebrates its 30th anniversary of bringing the culture of aboriginal people of Canada, the Americas and the world through film, music, dance and arts to its Montreal audiences.
WINNER Grand Jury Prize (Rigoberta Menchú Award)
London Mining Network - London, United Kingdom
Screenings: 8-11 April 2021 - Virtual Special Screening
Coinciding with Rio Tinto’s London AGM on April 9, the London Mining network, a network of organisations around the world concerned about human rights, social justice and the ecological integrity of the planet, is hosting an online special screening of the film.
Princeton Environmental Film Festival - Princeton University, United States
Screenings: 13-19 April 2021 - Virtual Edition
Founded in 2006, the PEFF’s mission is to share exceptional documentary films and engage its community in exploring environmental sustainability from a wide range of angles and perspectives.
Martinique International Documentary Film Festival ‘Les révoltés du monde’ - Martinique - CARIBBEAN PREMIERE
Screening: 18 April 2021 (postponed) - Cinema Madiana, Schloecher
The festival screens films dealing with the themes of the duty to remember, the right to exist, the commitment of citizens against injustice and discrimination ... for human dignity, and more broadly the commitment of communities wanting to change today’s world for a more just, and more humanly viable future.
Nominee Grand Prix
Seattle Black Film Festival - Seattle, United States
Screenings: 23-25 April 2021 - Virtual Edition - Dates TBC
For eighteen years, the festival has been bringing stories and experiences by and about Black people to the big screen in the heart of Seattle's historically Black neighborhood.
Censurados Film Festival- Peru
Screenings: 24-30 April 2021 - Virtual Edition - Peruvian Premiere
The festival seeks to create a space for reflection, dialogue and denunciation of the current situation of freedom of expression and human rights in the world through film screenings and educational and artistic activities. It highlights the voice of filmmakers, directors, artists and collectives who fight every day for a fairer society.
Nominee Best International Feature
Human Rights Arts & Film Festival - Melbourne, Australia - AUSTRALIAN PREMIERE - followed by panel discussion
Screening: 27 April 2021 - ACMI Cinema 1 6.15pm followed by Q&A with panel
The Human Rights Arts & Film Festival is the largest public human rights arts event in Australia. It aims at engaging and inspiring audiences on human rights issues through art, film, music and conversation.
Ritz Cinema - Special Screening organised by Jubilee Australia - Australia - followed by panel discussion
Screening: 29 April 2021 - Ritz Cinema, Randwick - 7pm
The Jubilee Australia Research Centre engages in research and advocacy to promote economic justice for communities in the Asia-Pacific region and accountability for Australian corporations and government agencies operating there. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Bougainvillean Kuntamari Croft and Jubilee Australia's director Luke Fletcher.
Muestra de Cine Internacional Memoria Verdad Justicia - Guatemala - CENTRAL AMERICAN PREMIERE
Virtual Screening: 30 April 2021, available across Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua) - followed by Q&A
The event has a social and human rights focus, highlighting works of high cinematographic quality. It that takes place annually in Guatemala, with screenings in the capital city, a travelling showcase in the interior of the country and, when possible, holds development workshops for young Central American documentary filmmakers.
Millenium Film Festival - Brussels, Belgium
Screenings: 5-30 May 2021 - Virtual Edition
The festival highlights films whose themes are linked to the major challenges and objectives of the 21st century, adopted by the United Nations in 2000, and which reflect humanity's dreams and ambitions for a more fair and equitable world.
WINNER - Silver Award - Best Film On Sustainable Development
Front International Festival on Conflict and Peace - Gandusa, Spain
Screenings: 29 May 2021 - CINEMA - 7pm Celler Herència Altés
The festival was born with the idea of encouraging debates on collective memory in important historical places linked to the Spanish Civil War.
Festival Closing Film
Cinema e Ambiente Avezzano - Avezzano, Italy - Italian Premiere
Screenings: 1 June 2021 - CINEMA - Orsini Castle
Organised yearly in Abbruzzo, the festival promotes reflections on issues related to waste and sustainable development. Live screenings take place in Orsini Castle this year.
Nominee Best Feature Film
Wairoa Maori Film Festival - Wairoa, New Zealand
Screenings: 4 June 2021 - CINEMA - 1.30pm Gaiety Theatre
Founded in 2005, the festival is a celebration of Māori and indigenous film held at Kahungunu Marae, Nuhaka, New Zealand, each year.
World Environment Day - Suncine Screening of award-winning films
Online across Spain & Mexico
Screenings: 5 June 2021 - Online
Held in Spain and Mexico, Suncine is the world's oldest environmental film festival. In celebration of this year's World Environment Day, the festival will screen the two Grand Prix winners of the 2020 Spanish and Mexican editions.
Peloponnisos International Documentary Festival - Kalamata, Greece
Screenings: 18 June-28 July 2021 (Cinema)
3 July 2021 - Kalamata, 9pm
7 July 2021 - Patras, 11pm
21 July 2021 - Ksilokastro, 10.30pm
In celebration of 200 years of Greek Independence the festival showcases documentaries under the general theme of ‘conquering freedom’ on a global scale.
Nominee Best International Feature
NaturVision Film Festival - Ludwigsburg, Germany - German Premiere
Screenings: 14-18 July 2021 - TBC
the festival is one of Germany's most important environmental event, usually organised every year in Ludwigsburg.
Life After OIL International Festival - Sassari, Sardinia, Italy
Projections : 17-26 septembre 2021 - CINEMA
Taking place annually in Sardegna and Puglia, the festival is a celebration of environmental and human rights films from around the world. Its aim is to identify alternatives, based on scientific knowledge, on energy consumption and the preservation of natural resources.
Nominee Best Environmental Feature
Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival - United States
Official Selection 2020 - Screening likely postponed to 2021 festival
The festival screens work at the American Anthropological Association’s annual conference, on the basis of anthropological relevance and value to the field.