Throughout the history of cinema, Western cinema has created a certain exotic image of the Pacific and its people. Since the 1970s Australia has manifested itself as a country that produces its own films, also seen on the screens around the world. Looking at the annual awards of the OCIC/SIGNIS member in Australia for the last 40 years one finds outstanding films. One of its presidents, Peter Malone, has had a great impact with his film criticism, lectures and publications, in SIGNIS, the Catholic world but also in the world of cinema. Juries organized by OCIC/SIGNIS at international festivals not only made awards to Australian films but also New Zealand films: With Manganinie attention was given in 1981 to the aborigines and to the importance of decolonizing the image of the “indigenous” peoples of the Pacific. For New Zealand it was the prize for Once we were Warriors by Lee Tamahori (1994) that caught the attention for the Maoris. In the meantime the presence of the representatives of the peoples of the Pacific in OCIC/Unda and SIGNIS, increased the sensitivity for their reality and for the fact that they also have with the arrival of video, a cinematographic culture as well. Catholic schools in this region such as in New Caledonia, Tahiti and Papua New Guinea give great importance to film education but also to local student and professional film productions. This young cinema of the Pacific, called Pasifika films is gaining its place in the world, especially in 2020 when Taiki Waititi, a Maori from New Zealand won an Oscar, and the SIGNIS North America award.


Magali Van Reeth


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