New Series of International Documentaries on Maori TV

22 02 2008

Maori Television’s International Documentary slot, Pakipumeka o te Ao, screens every Tuesday at 8.30 PM. It features critically-acclaimed and award-winning works from celebrated filmmakers from throughout the world, highlighting unique and contemporary themes with a focus on people and popular culture. Upcoming documentaries include:

CLOTH OF THE GODS – Tuesday March 18 at 8.30 PM: As recently as 150 years ago, when a Fijian chief died, his wives were strangled with a sacred fabric called tapa cloth and it’s still widely used for all ceremonial occasions including birthdays and funerals. This documentary takes the viewer from the harvesting of the mulberry tree to a village near Suva where some of the best designers and printers create the richly patterned fabric. Each pattern and piece of cloth tells a specific story. This is the tale of a unique and ancient artform which resists modernisation and helps Fijians connect with their past.

OUR SMALL WORLD – Tuesday March 25 at 8.30 PM: Life on the tiny atolls of Tokelau, tucked just beneath the equator, is precarious. There is no airstrip, no harbour, not even a safe anchorage. The greatest challenge the Tokelauans face is the same confronted by all Pacific islanders. How to give their children a good education without losing them to the outside world? This programme looks at how a community tries to keep up with the 21st century, without abandoning the traditions that make them who they are.

NEXT WAVE: THE SCIENCE OF TSUNAMIS – Tuesday April 1 at 8.30 PM: Most Pacific Rim countries participate in an advanced tsunami warning system – but when the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami struck, no such system existed for that region. This documentary recounts the events of the disaster and explores the potential for more occurrences like it including scenarios involving vast destruction in the United States. Following a country-by-country breakdown of the 2004 tragedy, it explores how landslides can cause tsunamis of almost unimaginable power, how such a collapse in the Canary Islands could swamp America’s East Coast, and how a truly global tsunami warning system might be established.

THE LORD OF TUMUC HUMAC – Tuesday April 8 at 8.30 PM: Located in the heart of the Amazonian forest, the hilly Tumuc Humac region has restricted access and no-one is supposed to live there. But according to local Indian legends, people used to inhabit these mountains. The area is sacred because it was the home of Kailawa, a powerful warrior and shaman who gave birth to his own tribe: the Wayanas. This amazing scientific adventure takes the viewer to the very heart of one of the most incredible and fascinating Amazonian legends.

THE GIRL WITH X-RAY EYES – Tuesday April 15 at 8.30 PM: Four years ago, Natasha Demkina, a young girl living in Saransk, Russia, began to receive a lot of media attention. It began with an article in Pravda which hailed her as the ‘Girl with X-ray Vision’. Natasha apparently possessed the unusual ability to peer through human flesh and spot diseases and injuries that lurked unseen within people’s bodies. Or, at least, this is what Pravda claimed. It didn’t take long for other media to catch onto the story. Does Natasha really have x-ray eyes?

BLACK SOLDIER BLUES – Tuesday April 22 at 8.30 PM: When America established its Pacific base in Australia, the country’s Prime Minister warmly welcomed the thousands of GIs stationed there – except for the black GIs who were told to stay on their boats. When they were finally allowed to come ashore, they soon discovered their greatest threat was the enemy within. This documentary is a World War Two story with a difference. Told by the American and Australian veterans who were there, it is a tale of unexpected friendships and danger in a land with a government whose policy was to keep Australia ‘white’.

MAID IN AMERICA – Tuesday April 29 at 8.30 PM: They clean other people’s homes and raise other families’ children – often leaving their own families behind. This documentary offers an intimate look into the lives of three Latina immigrants working as nannies in the USA. It’s a rare view into what is becoming an increasingly common scenario and is an insight into the immigrant experience, labour issues and contemporary Latino culture.

WORLD OF AMERICAN INDIAN DANCE – Tuesday May 6 at 8.30 PM: The beauty, artistry, athleticism and competition of Native American dance are illustrated dramatically in this documentary highlighting the many dance styles incorporated into the culture from various Native American tribes and nations. Join actor Peter Coyote as he explores the meanings and origins of American Indian Dance, and learn how it has fortified and sustained the survival of this race. While having a powerful influence on US/Indian relationships, the dance demonstrates the ancient as well as the new struggles between intertribal cultures, progress, tradition, spirituality and commerce.

THIS IS WHERE MY DOG IS BURIED – Tuesday May 13 at 8.30 PM: On the dawn of June 4, 1989, an Israeli patrol on the Lebabon-Israel border was ambushed by a Palestinian squad. By the end of the clash, lasting just 12 minutes, three Palestinians were shot dead along with the Bedouin scout of the Israeli patrol. The Israeli patrol commander Nir Keinan was injured. This is a road movie, describing in a very personal way, the events that led director Nir Keinan to the moment where he had to chose between killing or being killed.

All documentaries carry English subtitles where required. Maori Television’s International Documentary slot, Pakipumeka o te Ao, screens every Tuesday at 8.30 PM.

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