During the 23rd – 28th of June, 2014, the launching of the Pawa Meri film series in Goroka and Port Moresby has resonated hundreds of positive feedback from the audiences who watched the 6 x 26-minute biographical films on the lives of 6 inspirational Papua New Guinea women.
The two-year Pawa Meri film project was launched at the University of Goroka on Monday and Tuesday nights and at the Paradise Cinema in Port Moresby on Friday night and Saturday evening to an excellent crowd.
The six-part film series captured the hearts and minds of the audience and following are the comments and reactions of some of the audience present during the launches.
UOG student Mrs Babra Mogu said “I was blessed with the stories of these PNG heroines. Their real life stories were so inspiring and can truly motivate PNG women to believe in themselves. I truly believe we all can do it!”
Air Niugini Goroka Manager, Mr Gideon Samuel said, “Such powerful films. Just what this country needs to inspire the people and women of this nation.”
“Wow! These were wonderful life stories of women in leadership, business and others. Sets a good example for people to follow and live up to. These successful and courageous people have set a good example to follow,” said UOG student, Mr Sammy Bykudu Jonne.
UniTech Student, Joshua Saky said “Very interesting and challenging. I wish to become like them all. Thanks to CSCM for bringing all six films to Goroka for us to watch and also meet the talents featured in the films.”
The audience greatly applauded the launches because the film subjects and film directors were also present, which gave the audience the opportunity to meet them.
In Port Moresby the Pawa Meri film launching was opened by Australian High Commissioner, Her Excellency Ms Deborah Stokes who said it was vital to record and re-tell stories of modern PNG women, which will inspire the current and future generations of PNG women and girls to work for what they believe.
Ms Stokes also highlighted the need for men to be agents of positive change like in some of the Pawa Meri films, where they are seen as role models and supporters of their women folks.
After the launching of the Pawa Meri films, and after receiving feedback from those who watched the series, the Pawa Meri team saw that the films have archieved its aim to portray strong female role models in PNG society, challenge existing stereotypes about women and inspiring young women and men to become leaders within their families, communities and country.
The other aim of the project was to strengthening the PNG film industry by providing the opportunity for the six PNG women to direct each of the six Pawa Meri films and the launching of the films have greatly exposed the work of each film director thus giving them opportunities to be involved in any PNG film production.
The Pawa Meri project team would like to thank the Gender Program of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of Australia, Victoria University in Melbourne, and the Centre for Social and Creative Media at the University of Goroka in the Eastern Highlands Province, PNG for giving them the chance to work in this amazing project.
The Pawa Meri Team of the Centre for Social and Creative Media at the University of Goroka was privileged to have onboard Peter Brennan, a sound designer from Sydney (Australia).
Peter has been working as a producer in television for the last five years prior to coming to Papua New Guinea. He has over ten years experience in sound mixing television shows for Australian and international broadcasters.
Peter was with the CSCM for three weeks, working closely with the Pawa Meri film directors in mixing the sound for the six Pawa Meri films.
He said that apart from his busy schedule completing the sound mix for six films, he also tried to pass on some skills in sound mixing for television to get UOG staff familiar with some of the audio equipment he has brought with him.
Peter expressed concern that the film Industry in PNG requires further expertise to compete with international standards. Working together with Richard Mogu, Music Lecturer in the Communication and Creative Arts Department at UOG, he has set up a professional sound-mixing studio.
Peter has a passion for travelling and meeting new people. This was his first time to be in PNG, and found it to be very exciting and enjoyable.
Papua New Guineans rarely get to reflect upon themselves on screen.
Pawa Meri Editor Madge Szoeke said this while reflecting the PNG films she edited while at the University of Goroka (UOG).
She said the six-part Pawa Meri films are so different from each other and demonstrate the diversity in PNG.
“I think really here people are starved for reflections of themselves on the screen.”
“All those six women are so different and their aspirations you know, I like what they’ve done from brokering the [Bougainville] peace process to starting a restaurant you know.”
“You know, it’s a tiny reflection of the diversity in PNG,” she said.
Madge was at UOG’s Centre for Social & Creative Media editing two of the Pawa Meri Project films.
Pawa Meri is a joint project between Victoria University in Melbourne and UOG and works to deliver a six-part biographical film series of PNG women as well as train PNG women filmmakers in directing.
The films are aimed at educating and inspiring young women and school-aged girls about career paths.
With the last of the Pawa Meri film production completed, all six films are progressing into the final stages of postproduction.
Madge was in Goroka for three weeks touching up on the Bougainville film and doing a full edit on the Daru and Port Moresby films.
Director of the Port Moresby based film Joys Eggins said that Madge was able to bring out the concepts she had planned for in her film.
“Madge did an excellent job bringing a structure and flow to my film and I’m sure viewers will not only feel the buzz of Moresby but importantly have a better appreciation for the talent Susil Nelson, who stresses the significance of having a good education for life,” she said.
“My film was the last in the production line and with the editor being in the country for a short period, I had to work hard to ensure production was completed with all other steps such as a paper edit was ready for her,” Ms Eggins said.
Pawa Meri Editor Madge Szoeke, a first time visitor to Papua New Guinea was impressed with the achievements of each of the talents in the film as she got to know them better while editing.
“For me, personally it was a great educational experience.”
“I learned an enormous about three different places that I didn’t know very much about.”
“In fact, Daru, I knew nothing about, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Daru before I came here and then in terms of the project, it was fantastic.”
“What a great bunch of women!” she said.
Madge said the directors in training were equally as strong as the talents they were filming.
“Really really lovely women, smart, you know open to all sorts of things and always interested in the good of the project and representing the Pawa Meri’s faithfully and their integrity rather than other agendas that people sometimes have when they make films,” she said.
In the editing booth, Madge’s observations in regards to training for the directors were invaluable.
“I think probably the only thing that I would be critical of about the pawa meri project would be that the director needed to be more on top of the camera operators and making sure they were getting what the director thought they were getting,” she said.
The Pawa Meri directors are now preparing their films to lay sound tracks and credits as well as develop a graphic style to compile the films.
The directors and support team are now planning for a national launch of the films to hopefully coincide with International Women’s Day in March 2014.
For the last six weeks, two Pawa Meri directors Klinit Barry and Janet Munaup had the opportunity to work with Australian Editor Dana Hughes to edit their films. On Friday last week, the team said goodbye to Dana who had successfully completed editing the Markham and the Goroka films.
Dana was very happy to be a part of the Pawa Meri Project; she said “this project is a great initiative and very worthwhile. All the issues covered in the series exist in various levels everywhere in the world and people will definitely be able to relate to the films”. For Dana, “It’s about telling a good story, in editing, there needs to be two important things, clarity and emotion… what I needed to tell the story was already there, the directors had it covered”.
Prior to coming to PNG for the first time, Dana knew there were huge inequalities in terms of gender relations, however she wasn’t well abreast with the details. Her brief stay in Goroka while working on these two films allowed her to get a glimpse of the real PNG. Beyond the Kokoda trek, the fuzzy wuzzy angles and the high crime rate as usually depicted by the Australian Media, PNG has a lot more to offer and filming interesting stories is one way to educate the world about this country.
Dana hopes to return to Goroka for the launch of the films later this year.
The production of the last Pawa Meri film is currently underway.
The team is excited to introduce Ms. Susil Nelson, our Port Moresby Pawa Meri. Susil is the Corporate Governance Manager with the PNG Sustainable Development Program (PNGSDP).
Susil comes from Eask Sepik and is the eldest of 10 children born to David and Norah Nelson.
The Pawa Meri production team arrived in Pt. Moresby on Wednesday July 30th. They will spend a week following Susil in order to learn more about her life and work.
“In the last couple of days, it has been exciting to film Susil and from the interviews already conducted with various talents, Susil’s story is one of inspiration for young people. We are looking forward to completing the film.” says director Joys Eggins
Under the mentorship of Mark Eby, director in training Joys Eggins and the technical support team, will piece together the story of a woman who represents an emerging group of modern, professional women in PNG.
The production phase will end this Friday and Joys will then be working with editor Madge Szoeke, in postproduction to complete the final film in the Pawa Meri series.
Early June, the Daru team were busy shooting in the Kiwai Islands up the South Fly in a village called Severimabu. Severimabu isa three hour dinghy ride from Daru Town. This village is home to Pawa Meri Gina Baidam. Gina is a 51 year old retired nurse’s aid who has spent the last 20 years of her life working for the good health of the women in her village. She was successful in getting a grant through the AusAID small grant program, Stongim Pipol Strongim Neson (SPSN). She is currently organizing her women and getting their construction site cleared, Gina and the women of Severimabu want to a labour ward to be built in their village to help over one thousand women, children and men.
Pawa Meri Honours Student Theresa Meki attended the Youth Election Awareness Festival in Lae where she facilitated photo workshops on the topic of gender and elections.
During the photo voice workshops participants took photographs and told stories expressing their thoughts on women and elections. Afterwards the photos were put on display for the public to view. The photos and stories were collected by Theresa as part of her ongoing data collection for her Honours research which examines the perceptions of youth on women’s participation in politics.