dance of resilience in Melanesia

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WANTOKS: dance of resilience in Melanesia — directed by iara lee (Cultures of Resistance Films)

The Melanesian Arts & Culture Festival brings together a vibrant group of people from the islands of the South Pacific. Some islands can celebrate anniversaries of independence. On others, the struggle for freedom continues, with inhabitants of New Caledonia still living under French rule and communities in West Papua resisting Indonesian occupation. In all Melanesian countires, residents face the common challenge of climate change, as rising sea levels threaten to swallow both land and tradition. In this charged context, captivating performers are using their talents to celebrate local culture and draw international attention to their island’s plight, with the hope of spurring international solidarity and prompting collective action against the perils of a warming world.
Featuring striking footage from the South Pacific islands, WANTOKS: dance of resilience in Melanesia profiles the artists and activists who are fighting for self-determination while trying to defend their homes against the rising sea. The film premiered in Helsinki, Finland in May 2019 and is now screening around the globe.
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Take Action!

On the island states in the South Pacific, communities are pushing for independence while battling sea levels that are rising due to climate change. One of the key struggles in the region is the fight for freedom in West Papua, which comprises the western half of New Guinea. If you’re interested in supporting organizations that are working for freedom in West Papua, we recommend checking out the Celebrate Island Resilience page on the website of our sister organization, the Cultures of Resistance Network. You can find information there about how you can get involved by donating resources, volunteering your skills as a translator, or joining a demonstration!

Learn More

Resources for the Film 

background information & key terms
climate change in melanesia


WANTOKS has been accompanied by a traveling photography exhibition about climate change in Oceania by Vlad Sokhin. If your organization or festival is interested in showing the exhibition with the film, please get in touch.

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