"Indigenous Pacific Islanders in Film"
by Dr. Vilsoni Hereniko
Tuesday, March 14, 2:30 pm. Hawaii Convention Center,
Room 313 A/B/C
Screening: The Land Has Eyes, followed by afterfilm
discussion with Hereniko and Jeannette Paulson-Hereniko,
Tuesday, March 14, 7:30 pm. Room 313 A/B/C
scholar-artist from the tiny island culture of Rotuma
(in the Fiji group) presents the Annual George Kneller
Distinguished Lecture at the 50th Anniversary Conference
of the Comparative and International Education Society,
on March 14, 2006 at the Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu
Hawaii. Dr. Vilsoni Hereniko is one of Oceania's best-known
playwrights and filmmakers living and working in the
Pacific region today.
speaks on "Indigenous Pacific Islanders in Contemporary
Film," emphasizing the educational importance of
native peoples to tell their stories in their own ways
to the larger globalized world. As an artist and educator,
he has created cultural products that present a voice
rarely heard in the mass media of today.
has written children's books, published more than a
dozen plays; many of his plays (such as Last Virgin
in Paradise and Sera's Choice) have been produced and
studied in schools in the Pacific region as well as
in the United States and England.
the last seven years, Hereniko has taken up filmmaking
as a means of reaching an international audience as
well as other fellow Rotumans. Hereniko is also the
first indigenous person from Fiji to make a feature
film, having been its best-known playwright for more
than twenty years. Titled The Land Has Eyes, his feature
film is set on Rotuma and is about a young girl who
seeks freedom and justice for her family through education.
Screening: The Land Has Eyes
Afterfilm discussion by Vilsoni Hereniko and Jeannette
participants will also be treated to a screening of
Hereniko's feature film The Land has Eyes, followed
by a discussion with Hereniko and his co-producer, his
wife, Jeannette Paulson-Hereniko.
more information on the film visit:
The film premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film
Festival in 1994 and subsequently was invited to screen
at film festivals all over the world, including the
Rotterdam Film Festival, Moscow International Film Festival,
Montreal International Film Festival, and Shanghai International
Film Festival. In 2005 the Smithsonian's National Museum
of the American Indian (in New York as well as Washingto
D.C.) and the New York Museum of Modern Art invited
Eyes to screen at their venues. The film has won several
awards, including best dramatic feature at the 2004
Toronto ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.
youngest of eleven children, Hereniko earned a Masters
degree in education from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
in England and a Ph.D. in literature and language from
the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Fiji. Hereniko
taught at the USP for about ten years before being invited
to join the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University
of Hawaii, 1991. In 1997 he received the Hawai`i Elliot
Cades Award for his "significant body of work of
exceptional quality," and in 2000 he received a
presidential citation for meritorious teaching from
University of Hawaii.
Hereniko is not writing plays or books, directing or
teaching, he authors scholarly articles, and also edits
The Contemporary Pacific, the leading journal for the
academic study of the Pacific.
George Kneller lecture is funded by a generous endowment
to the Comparative and International Education Society.
The gift was at the bequest of the late Dr. Kneller,
who was a philosopher of education at University of
California at Los Angeles, who wrote on many subjects,
including in the field of Comparative Education.