Filmpreis „Leipziger Ring“< >
Prize of the Jury for the Stiftung Friedliche Revolution for the best documentary about the subject of democracy
There Once Was an Island: Te Henua e Nnoho by Briar March (New Zealand, USA)
Nukuta is an atoll in the South Seas and belongs to the state of Papua-New Guinea. The existence of this paradisiacal island is acutely threatened by the rising sea level. The 400 or so inhabitants are confronted with the difficult question, how to respond to this threat – leaving or staying. The film „There Once Was an Island: Te Henua e Nnoho" of filmmaker Briar March from New Zealand shows the democratic process at grass-root level, with which the islanders try to cope with the situation and then to act accordingly.
The film documents quite clearly that the islanders do not merely actively approach the government's representatives, they also call in help from foreign scientists at their own initiative. Alas, there is a lack of funds for technical rescue measures, as is the case with other islands that are under a similar threat.
The calmness, composure and resoluteness with which the islanders respond to the situation and face the threat is touching. Their fate is pictured in a moving way and conveyed to the viewer with metaphoric images. We as viewers, however, become suddenly aware that our life style and the climate changes resulting from it are some of the reasons for the threat that is looming over this world of islands.
It would be desirable, if the film and the acute problem brought up in it raised worldwide attention and led to solidarity with the inhabitants of Nukutua and their fate. The way how the islanders act is exemplary for the democratic cooperation in the spirit of human dignity and mutual respect.