Oceania’s Voice

Curated by Olivia Townsend

Since Robert Flaherty’s “Moana” (1926), the first film described as a ‘documentary’ at the time of release, Pacific Islander stories and voices have been silenced in favor of Hollywood monetization and Western colonization. This program elevates Pacific Islander’s voices and images which have been ignored and suppressed by mainstream media. Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu’s “Kapaemahu”, narrated in Olelo Ni’ihau and subtitled in English, tells the story of four Mahu- Hawai’i’s indigenous third gender- and their legacy today in colonized Hawai’i. Aidan Haley, Canyon Woodward, and Forest Woodward’s “Matagi Mālohi: Strong Winds”, provides imagery to Kevin Aipopo’s speech regarding climate change in the Pacific. His speech transforms the narrative of Oceania and Pacific Islanders passively drowning in the rising sea level, to actively fighting for their homelands. Both films use Pacific Islanders’ voices to reframe the narrative which has been forced onto them by Western depictions.

Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson
“Kapaemahu”
2020, 9min, color, sound

Aidan Haley, Canyon Woodward, Forest Woodward
“Matagi Mālohi: Strong Winds”
2020, 4min, color, sound

About the Curator

Olivia Townsend is a student filmmaker studying at SFSU, living in San Ramon, CA. She is a 4th year student, majoring in Cinema and minoring in Critical Pacific Islands and Oceanic Studies.

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