THE COLONIAL SYNDROME
An Educational Project
Beyond the feature-length documentary Ophir, the project team and communities of Bougainville worked hand in hand to produce an educational platform entitled “the Colonial Syndrome.” Spearheading the project is Professor Kristian Lasslett from the University of Ulster and Dr Ruth Saovanna from the Bougainville Peoples Research Center. Featuring over 30 short-films, it blends story, art and historical artefacts to narrate an existential struggle for survival on the island, that left up to 20,000 of its people dead.
Conceptualized as a seven-part educational documentary series - accessible both online (for a global outreach) as well as offline (to maximize local impact and offer solutions to limited internet access) – the platform allows audiences to delve deeper into the effects of past and present colonialism and understand its dynamics, structures and impacts on indigenous populations and cultures, through the prism of the experience of the people of Bougainville.
Each part in this series is led by village historians, political analysts and philosophers that can be found today across Bougainville and who offer their personal stories. Those are carefully placed in a timeline that takes the viewer through a century of history marked by violence, trauma, resistance and renewal. Punctuating the film, are photographs and records obtained from colonial, academic and legal archives, which document the ideologies and strategies that informed the colonial mission, and subsequent military incursions. Complimenting each part is a detailed historical essay that sets the scene in intricate detail for the more dedicated user.