Tanim – an award winning film made in PNG

By Emmanuel Narokobi

Bloody Shame on me! While I’ve been harping on about my Tropfest Short Film, I completely forgot to tell everyone about a more prominent and award winning film that a good friend of mine did way back in 2002. She’s currently in India now for about a month for a Commonwealth Study Conference, she’s quite a brain box that one!

So anyway the film is called Tanim and it was an hour long documentary which looked at the struggle between traditional values and modern elections in Enga. It has a string of showings and achievements, see below:

  • Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism for feature on SBS Television.
  • Still images published four times in TIME Magazine.
  • Front page colour shot on Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age.
  • Photo feature in ‘The Moment’, Good Weekend Magazine.
  • Illustrated stories in New Zealand newspaper and Swedish magazine.
  • 6000 people from more than 40 countries visited this site.
  • Interviews on both Swedish and Australian radio stations.
  • Photographic exhibition in Sweden.
  • Sale and broadcast of TANIM documentary to SBS Television in Australia.
  • Non-theatrical rights sold to Films for the Sciences and Humanities in the US
  • Sale in NZ territory to Maori Television
  • Sale to Variety Media in Africa

Not bad at all for someone who was only 22 at the time. She’s probabaly gonna kill me for putting up this post while she’s away in India, but I think more PNG’eans need to know what she did with her friends in this film. Especially considering the awards that it has gathered even as late as 2005. Visit the website to find out more.

And yes this girl is 100% Enga, you go gurrl!


View the first four minutes of TANIM online by downloading a sample movie.

TANIM intro in Quicktime format – 20MB
TANIM intro in Windows Media format – 12MB

12 thoughts on “Tanim – an award winning film made in PNG

  1. Yes Manu…the film Tanim is available at our library. It was recently shown in a graduate class on Pacific Island Studies which I had the pleasure of being invited to explain certain aspects of PNG Politics to the students.

  2. Carol, shame on you…here we are trying to promote her on her merits and you females always have to bring in your lovely body parts to make issues even more confusing….

  3. Manu, it really struck me watching the film “Tanim” which distinctly reveals the clash of cultures between our traditional societies and the imported western ideals of democracy and elections. That is not to say that “democracy” has not existed in our society. Democracy has been exercised in our society since time immemorial in the form of communal land ownership and consensus in decision-making. The western concept of democracy is however one that comes with institutions, rules and procedures.

    It really got me thinking a lot. Personally I feel that the current system of government (westminster) incl. the electoral system we have is not compatible with our society esp. where we still have very strong tribal allegiances and cultural norms and values deeply rooted in our society.

    I am hoping that sooner we could gather all the brains in the country to design a voting/electoral system that will render democratic results and be conducted in a form compatible with our society that avoids overt violence.

    Sadly, most educated PNGans reckon that we should be emulating the western world. We tend to have this conception that what is western is more civilized. Consequently, we overlook our own capabilities in coming up with endogenous solutions to our problems.

    Western societies have evolved over thousands of years to be where they are at today. We skipped the “civilization” period – straight from the “stone age” to “space age” or “web age” if you like. And we can be proud of that achievement.

    Oh that reminds me…I met this guy from Libya who was shocked when I told him I am from PNG. I don’t blame him as from what he watches on TV he thinks we are still a primitive/tribal society. Even to the point of asking whether we have computers at home. I told him that while it took 1000+ yrs for them to civilize, it took us less than 20-30 or in the words of Sir Albert Maori Kiki “Ten Thousand Yrs in a Lifetime”.

    However, we have to reconcile our cultures with the modern expectations. And the solution can only come about if we create a governance/electoral system that is fitting to our society.

    ….well I am just thinking aloud. Hope it makes sense!

  4. Hey hey

    Manu – you are naughty but always love it when someone blows the horn for the film. I am organising showing at POM Arts Theater so will advise all when that occurs – hopefully to coincide with the issuing of the writs for 2007 elections.

    Also – if anyone wants to put their hands up for small film project I am getting off the ground re a very interesting election in POM involving the ONLY female MP in PNG.

    xo from India.


  5. Before you go bagging Western Democracy remember it was essentially an idea they ripped off from the Greeks several thousand years ago. The West endured feudalism, centuries of war and some horrible dictatorships/monarchies/theocracies before they got to the point of free and fair elections.

    Solo makes a good point though. Taking a western cultural tradition and just transplanting it into a PNG context is not necessarily the most appropriate thing to do. Its obvious there must be a compromise but to whom should that be weighted in favour of? PNG tradition or the wider democratic experience.

    “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for everything else.”
    -Sir Winston Churchill

  6. Awesome!! congrats to da meri!…yea Danger, democracy is big talk but Tanim express her philosophy, hopes and dreams of our nation in her small little ways. If more of us expressed ourselves in that manner, we would surely be suprised at home many Papua New Guineas are craving for that change…it might just show our leaders hers its not a lonely voice somewhere in the wilderness.

  7. So Guys,

    What form would a compromise take? What could it look like in practical terms?

    Let us know when you set a date for your screening so I can do a flyer and a posting on my blog! (if you want, that is…) and Yes count me in I’d love to be involved in your film project…

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