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Canadian documentary film on Pacific wins award.

Early this year, Pacific Peoples' Partnership invited CTV journalist Nelson Bird, host of the weekly news programme, Indigenous Circle, to travel to the South Pacific for two weeks of intense exposure to the development struggles encountered by indigenous peoples there. Six months later, the documentary he produced, Reaching Out: Indigenous Circle in the South Pacific, has captured the Native American Journalists Association award for best documentary.

The 20-minute film challenges viewers to look beyond the idyllic beaches and resorts for which the South Pacific is generally known, to the real poverty, injustice, and livelihood challenges which indigenous peoples in the Pacific regularly confront. The film takes us from the impoverished barrack-like quarters of miners in Fiji, where workers have been striking for more than a decade, to a tiny picturesque island in the archipelago of Vanuatu, where their communal land-holding structures and cultural traditions are under siege from the globalizing forces of privatization and trade.

"The PPP journey was valuable to me as both a journalist and indigenous person because it gave me the opportunity to share the stories of two cultures ... mine and theirs. Like many, I always believed the South Pacific was a paradise where issues like poverty and injustice did not exist. The PPP media project allowed CTV to expose the realities of life a world away," Bird said.

In particular, Bird draws parallels between the lives, communities, and struggles he has witnessed through his coverage of First Nations communities during more than 10 years of reporting from rural and urban Saskatchewan, and those he encountered while in indigenous communities in Fiji and Vanuatu. Bird's exposure trip was part of a broader effort on the part of PPP to heighten awareness in Canada of development issues in the Pacific, and to create and nurture links between indigenous communities in the North and those in the South. Through these links, community members can share stories and exchange strategies, and, together build a more solid platform upon which to create change.

PPP organized the trip with funding received from the United Church of Canada, the Canadian International Development Agency, and the Primates World Relief Fund.
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Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Programs; Reaching Out: Indigenous Circle in the South Pacific
Publication:Tok Blong Pacifik
Article Type:Movie Review
Date:Sep 22, 2004
Words:356
Previous Article:British Columbians have their say about trade.
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