Tuvalu News



French Film Company to Release Tuvalu Documentary

21 March, 2004

Tuvalu Online --- A film production company from France is getting ready to launch a 75 minute film concerning Tuvalu and the threat it faces from sea-level rise and climatic change.

After 3 years of work to secure a broadcaster and almost one year of production, Trouble in Paradise, a film by Christopher Horner and Gilliane Le Gallic of ETC France, will air on Planète Future in Europe on April 7th, 2004, and again on the 21st, the evening before Earth Day. It will be broadcasted for eight weeks.

Before and after the French airing, various conferences, debates, and press events will take place in Paris and other areas of France to foster awareness about global warming and its effects on Tuvalu and the planet.

Beyond Europe, the film makers also intend to distribute the film in other countries.

The documentarists initially heard about Tuvalu from a report about the DotTV Corporation, the reseller of Tuvalu's .tv internet country code, seen on the local news in Los Angeles. They also learned about the threat of the sea rising and decided to go to the islands and investigate further.

The film is an overview of how a country so remote, with a total land-mass smaller than Manhattan’s, operates in today’s world. It also attempts to get a real sense of the impact global warming has on Tuvalu. This is largely accomplished by eye-witness accounts given by a number of the country’s citizens, including Toaripi Lauti, the first Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Hilia Vavae who has worked for the Tuvalu Metrological Centre for over 20 years, and the Tuvalu Ambassador to the United Nations, Enele Sopoaga.

The film includes a section about the "borrow pits" dug by the Americans during the war in 1942 while Tuvalu was still part of the British Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony -- and the impact they have had on life in Funafuti over the years.

Lambert Wilson, a well know European actor, lends his voice as the film’s narrator. After the film, he gives a short summary of some of the practical, daily things we can all do to help reverse environmentally destructive trends - and to help keep Tuvaluans and others from losing their lands.

Tuvalu Online had the privilege to preview the movie, and we were very impressed with the production. The film starts out with the text of a statement to the United Nations in 2003 by the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Saufatu Sopoaga, on what the impacts of climatic change are having on the islands. The production then covers the aspects of everyday life in the tiny Polynesian nation, from traditional and religious values, the importance of the land and sea to their lifestyle, and the benefits and problems with modernization.

Interviews were conducted with many Tuvaluan personalities, who were able to give their opinions on the environment problems and other topics in a very relaxed mode, which is not always easy  to do with the generally publicity-shy Tuvaluans. This is a tribute to the manner in which Chris Horner and Gilliane Le Gallic were able to gain their trust.

The film shows so many scenes of Funafuti, and we saw many dramatic changes since we were last there, my Tuvaluan wife in 1993, and myself in 1981. We had heard about most of them, but had seen little with exception of a few photos - scenes such as the paved roads and runway, street lamps, motor vehicles other than motorcycles, two and three story buildings, and a much more densely populated island.

Hopefully this wonderful production will spark more interest in what we are doing to our planet, and how it may claim one of our smallest nations as the first victim.

Brian Cannon

Tuvalu Online


For more information, contact:

Email: etcfrance@aol.com
TEL: 01 44 84 63 49  - FAX: 01 44 84 63 72


1.Chris Horner

2.Gilliane Le Gallic

3.Enele Sopoaga

4.Hilia Vavae

5.Loto Pasefika

6. Funafuti

7. Gilliane at work, rain or shine

Photos 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7
© C.F.Horner 2004

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