“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)
 
 
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THE FILM

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.

 

SCREENINGS

1. Watch The Film at an Event Near You
2. Host a Private Screening with your friends, family, at your company, university or institution (but being mindful of Covid restrictions)
3. Watch on Demand

Coming soon

AT FESTIVALS

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.

Doc Edge Festival - New Zealand - Encore Season
Screenings: 6 July to 30 August - Virtual Edition - On demand)
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
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.

Festival Opening Film and WINNER Grand Jury Prize (Golden Sun Award)

Red Nation International Film Festival & Awards - Beverly Hills, United States
Screenings: 6-30 November - Virtual Edition

Celebrating its 25th edition, the event is the first and largest Global Native-led Film Festival and Awards Ceremony.

Guam International Film Festival - Guam, United States
Screening: 8 November 2020 broadcast on PBS Guam KGTF Channel 12 at 3pm local time (Chamorro Standard Time) and livestream

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.

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.

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.

Montréal International First Peoples Festival  - Montréal, Canada
Screenings: upcoming in 2021 - Details TBA

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)

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-Eastern 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.”

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) & 7-16 May 2021 (Live)

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

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.

Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival - United States
Screenings 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.

 
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DIRECTOR - WRITER

ALEXANDRE BERMAN

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

NATHAN MATBOB

PRODUCER

OLIVIER POLLET

RESEARCH

THEONILA ROKA-MATBOB

CINEMATOGRAPHY - SOUND

ALEXANDRE BERMAN

EDITOR

ALEXANDRE BERMAN

COMPOSER

XAVIER THIRY

COLORIST

JEAN-CRISTOPHE SAVELLI

DIRECTOR - WRITER

OLIVIER POLLET

PRODUCER

ILANN GIRARD

PRODUCER

KRISTIAN LASSLETT

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH

CLIVE PORABOU

CINEMATOGRAPHY - SOUND

OLIVIER POLLET

EDITOR

MARIE-ESTELLE DIETERLE

SOUND MIX

THOMAS MUSSO

WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF
FRANCE TÉLÉVISIONS - CNC - ULSTER UNIVERSITY
 
CONTACT

Producer - Sales

info@arsam.biz

Festivals - Press

info@ophir-film.com

© 2020 Arsam International / Fourth World Films