“Rules of the Game”


‘Global Voices’ is a 26-episode series that presents compelling internationally themed documentaries made by U.S. and international filmmakers for a U.S. audience. The series will feature the U.S. premieres of seven documentaries funded by Independent Television Service (ITVS).

The international documentary series produced for the PBS WORLD digital channel, will launch its second season on Sunday, April 26, 2009, at 10 PM (check local listings). Complete schedules with airdates and channel information are available online at http://www.pbs.org/globalvoices

As always, our humble PNG is again featured, this time in the light of our 2007 elections. From what I can make of the YouTube trailer its more of an analysis on how Western democracy just doesn’t seem to fit in our country. This actually reminds me of a good mates documentary called Tanim, which was also about the same issues. (I can’t seem to find their website anymore so have a peek at the synopsis here).

The Student Film Makers website has a good write up here: In Rules of the Game, Australian filmmaker Thom Cooke follows the 2007 Papua New Guinea election, focusing of three of the candidates vying to become governor in a system often plagued with political corruption and violence. The film will premiere on May 31, 2009, on Global Voices on PBS WORLD.

The breathtaking and remote Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea is one of the last regions to join modern democratic society. More than 800 indigenous languages are spoken within this country of just 6 million people. For thousands of years, a complicated tribal society ruled each community based on physicality, courage or oratory. The political strength of a leader or tribe was demonstrated on the battlefield. Today, instead of dressing in traditional tribal costume for a fight, people march the streets, bringing the nation to a standstill as they promote their candidate.

The 2002 elections were the most violent and chaotic in Papua New Guinea history. Some people voted multiple times; others were prevented from casting a ballot by members of their own tribe, an illegal system in which tribal leaders have already decided on their favored candidate. In some regions of the East Highlands, no result could be declared-some of the ballot boxes were burned or otherwise destroyed and many people were killed. This left many to wonder how the nation would handle the 2007 elections and move from communal consensus to the concept of “one person, one vote.”

Rules of the Game focuses on three colorful characters who were among the 37 candidates running for governor. Running for reelection was Malcolm Smith Kela, a native Australian and self-made millionaire who has adopted Papua New Guinea as his new home and spent the last year trying to clean up the region’s law enforcement. Jon Yogiyo is a coffee grower who wants to export his product and create more opportunities for the people of the nation. A native to the province, his campaign slogan was simple: “Grow coffee and you will become rich.” The only woman in the race was Julie Soso, a grass-roots candidate who believes that after years of ineffective government led by both black and white men, the time has come for a woman to step up.

Following the candidates as they take their message to the people by any means necessary, Rules of the Game reveals that the nominees are willing to do whatever it takes to get the vote, be it bribery, tribal agreements, even campaigning at a funeral.

About the Filmmakers
John Lewis (producer) has produced and directed many films and programs for Australian screen and television, including the award-winning film The Good Looker, the award-winning series Rainbow Bird and Monster Man, the long-running art series Eye to Eye with Betty Churcher and Take 5 with Betty Churcher, and Order in the House, a weekly one-hour analysis of Australia’s Parliament that ran for 13 years.

Since 2004, Arcimedia-an award-winning factual and new-media production company headed by Lewis and Claire Jager-has produced Testing Taklo; Troubled Minds-The Lithium Revolution; the six-part interactive docudrama for children A Stowaway’s Guide to the Pacific; and Penicillin: The Magic Bullet.

Thom Cooke (director) is a multi-award-winning journalist and filmmaker based in Melbourne, Australia. He has previously worked for the BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Fairfax newspaper group. Since 2002, he has been with the SBS TV (a national public television organization in Australia) Dateline program, Australia’s longest-running international current affairs program.

In 2002, he won a Walkley Award, the highest prize in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the chaotic 2002 Papua New Guinea elections, during which more than 60 people died. He has continued to cover Melanesia and the South Pacific for Dateline, interviewing many of the region’s main political figures.

In the past year alone, he has been evacuated from Somalia, covered the Israeli incursions into Gaza and Lebanon, followed Iraqi police through their eight-week training course, investigated the renaissance of the U.S. nuclear weapons program, and reported on illegal migration from West Africa to Europe, among other stories.

Like all Dateline journalists, Cooke is a solo operator, both filming and reporting long-form stories from remote and at times hostile locations. In January, CNN launched its new documentary program World’s Untold Stories with Cooke’s film, A Very Thin Blue Line, dealing with the training of new Iraqi policemen despite staggering casualty rates.

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