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Moana: The rising of the sea

Torika Tokalau
Thursday, April 17, 2014

THE Pacific message of climate change and the rise in sea levels was loud and clear in the world premiere of Vilsoni Hereniko's film Moana — The Rising of the Sea on Tuesday at the Oceania Film Festival.

Hereniko said the challenge during the making of the film was capturing the strong emotional effect from a stage performance onto film about the issues highlighted. And after a positive appreciation from film lovers on Tuesday, Hereniko was satisfied that that was achieved.

"The film focuses on the human dimension of climate change, how it feels to be forced to abandon your homeland and everything you hold dear," he said.

"There is an urgency, particularly for low-lying islands such as Kiribati and Tuvalu, that the film captures.

"It makes us realise that the threat of being inundated with water is here, and will never go away. It will become more and more intense, and what are we going to do about this?

"This is the message in this film."

Hereniko said the issue highlighted in the film was one everyone that had ever lived or lives in a small Pacific Island nation could relate to.

"For anyone who has lived or lives on an island surrounded by the deep, beautiful, but dangerous sea, the thought that one day your island will be submerged under water is a possibility too cruel to contemplate.

"And yet, this is happening in several islands in Oceania already, with more islanders contemplating their imminent demise and what that would mean to them as a people, a culture, even a nation."

He said it was important for him to stage the world premiere of the film in Fiji because the film originated from Fiji.

The film was funded by the EU. The issues highlighted were portrayed by a brilliant cast from USP's School of Performing Arts from the 2011 music drama production.

The stage production was directed and choreographed by Peter Rockford Espiritu, with original music by Igelese Ete.

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