Once upon a time, there was a beautiful tropical island in the Pacific. The Polynesian clans of the Takuu atoll in Papua New Guinea lived the same way for a thousand years, weaving fibers for huts, harvesting taro roots, and fishing for subsistence. But now trouble has come to Takuu. As a result of the industrialized world’s carbon dioxide emissions, the sea is rising and the islanders’ gardens and homes are threatened by salt water. Three clansmen allow us into their lives as they explain what the creeping tides mean for their way of life. The community invites scientists from Australia to evaluate the situation, hoping they might help hold off the water. Already the government is recommending they relocate to Bougainville, 250 km away. But what will remain of the Takuus’ traditional culture, not to mention their elders, many of whom refuse to leave? This film gives a human face to the impact of climate change in the Pacific. (–B.B., Cleveland International Film Festival). Directed and produced by Briar March. Finalist, Pare Lorenz Award, IDA.

There Once Was An Island

2010 NZ 80 min
Festival Year: 2012