ANAHOLA — In September, the Vaka Taumako Project of Pacific Traditions Society’s film “We, the Voyagers,” parts one and two, won the grand prize for Feature Film at the International Maritime Film Festival (IMFF) in Bucksport, Maine.
“So incredibly happy for the community of Taumako,” Dr. Mimi George, a sailor, and anthropologist said. “They worked so hard for 26 years to learn how and participate in every step of making these films. They want people to know who they are and what they do.”
The two films have been viewed at the Waimea Theatre in February before the pandemic began. Due to the current crisis situation, all films can be viewed online.
“The VTP has many supporters on Kaua‘i, and we think they would like to read of the films’ completion and their recent showings at festivals. It was finally finished earlier this year,” said Secretary H. M. Wyeth of Pacific Traditions Society.
The films were produced and written by Dr. Mimi George and H. M. Wyeth of Anahola, and edited by Serge Marcil of Lihu‘e.
“The films can be at least in part called local despite their location in the Solomon Islands,” Wyeth said.
Background on the films
In 1993, Dr. Mimi George visited the small Polynesian island of Taumako in the southeastern Solomons.
While George was there, she met Chief Koloso Kaveia, a master navigator and a member of the last generation of men and women who sailed traditional voyaging canoes using their ancestor’s “wayfinding” methods.
In fear of his people losing their voyaging knowledge, Chief Kaveia asked George to help him document their traditions by recording their traditional methods.
“He insisted that Dr. George and her assistants train young members of his community in documentary techniques so that they could chronicle and present their culture accurately,” Wyeth said.
According to Wyeth, the first group of students began work in 1996. At that time, most of them had never seen a video and none had ever seen a video camera.
“They learned quickly,” Wyeth said. “Much of the material in ‘We, the Voyagers’ was recorded by these students.”
To view the films go to www.vaka.org.