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There Once was an Island

Briar March

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Festival year: 2011

The inhabitants of a low-lying island in the Pacific risk losing all their belongings in case of the island’s submersion as a result of global warming. Will the local people stay on their island or move to Papua New Guinea, leaving their country and their culture behind?


Takuu is a tiny island with just a few hundred inhabitants. It has no electricity, no shops and no regular boat connection to the mainland. People live off what the sea and their vegetable garden produce. Regularly, tidal waves surge onto the island, urging the Polynesian government to draw up a plan to transfer the islanders to the mainland. Driven by uncertainty about their future, the island dwellers have invited two scientists, oceanographer John Hunter and geomorphologist Scott Smithers, to assess the situation. The camera follows Teloo, Endar and Satty who hesitate between starting a new life in Bougainville, far away from their traditions, or staying on their island, where the battle against rising sea levels has only just begun.
In There Once Was an Island, audacious Teloo, Endar and Satty give a unique insight into the life and traditional culture of Takuum, revealing the human impact of climate change.


New Zealand 2010, 80 min.


Spoken language: English

Official website:


On the Level Productions

+64 272829593

World sales:

Journeyman Pictures

+44 2089419994 / +44 2087866050

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When & where?

  • Monday, March 28, 2011 - 19:30

    Het Nutshuis, The Hague

  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 20:00

    Het Nutshuis, The Hague

  • Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 19:30

    Het Nutshuis, The Hague

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