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International Short Film Festival 2021

By Mary McCarthy pbvm and Jessica Oata

       Port Moresby, PNG 10 August 2021 -- The International Short Film Festival (ISFF21) staged on 7 August 2021 at the Paradise Theatre, Vision City, was a truly amazing event. At this critical time when COVID is raging in almost every corner of our world the theme Hope in the midst of COVID-19 could not be more relevant. And our young people certainly rose to the challenge in a remarkable way.

       Present at the ISFF21 were Fr Jacek Pinocy, Secretary to the Apostolic Nuncio representing Archbishop Fermín Emilio Sosa Rodriguez, Apostolic Nuncio to PNG, Fr. Giorgio Licini, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference, Fr Gregorio Bicomong, Salesian Provincial, Mr Joseph Manteit, Second Secretary to the Australian High Commissioner, Mr Hidajat Hanafi, Super Value Store (SVS), representatives from different Media houses, local film producers, principals, animators, media students, and their friends and families.

​​​​​​​       The ISFF21 was the climax of the Media Education Seminars 2021 (MES21) held through these past few months. Eight Catholic schools and institutions journeyed along in fellowship and friendship, a marvelous example of unity. For the participants it brought out their dedication, talent, commitment, and creativity. They emerged confident and above all are able to understand that communication is not merely having the latest mobile phone or posting a selfie, but that communication is a powerful tool and if used to advantage can transform the lives of the young and our people.

​​​​​​​       “Each Short Film had its positive message – loud and clear – there is always a tomorrow and other such words of encouragement amid threatening times. Mental Illness is a reality for some of our young people along with the terrible burden of poverty, unemployment, violence, family conflict, loss, and grief. Each offering was so well produced, so professional in the way the story was directed, and the characters played out. And there was plenty of laughter as students were entertained by their peers!! Creativity was at a premium in each one of the short films”, said Sr McCarthy.

​​​​​​​       Fr Ambrose Pereira SDB was right to make much of the leadership of the principals of each of the eight Catholic Secondary and Technical Institutes represented at the Media Education Seminars throughout the year culminating in this 2021 International Short Film Festival. “We owe you a debt of gratitude for the strong backing you always offer your staff and each of your students”, he said. That was very much in evidence today as each group of students presented their Hope in the midst of COVID Short Film.

​​​​​​​       “The relatively small group of students have taken the messages back to their schools and their school bulletin board display the rich fruit of their weekends at the Catholic Bishops Conference, Waigani and the Emmaus Conference Centre, East Boroko, venturing into the important field of Media Education. These core groups of students in each of our Catholic educational settings have the basic education in the essential elements of media to propel the program and to create a momentum that will impact large numbers of our youths. What could be more important for our young people in today’s world than developing a critical mind that is quick to discern the truth and quickly discard the lies that abound particularly on social media and in the world of advertising? What could be more important than nurturing Hope when the queues of young people seeking employment are so very long and the inability to enrol for further education and training beyond the reach of many our dearly loved youths?” said Sr McCarthy.

​​​​​​​       “Communication is about sharing a message of hope. It is a platform to inspire. It is an opportunity to evangelize. This message was picked up by the participants and put into practice”, said Fr Ambrose Pereira. He invited all to listen to the young and open up platforms for them to share their thoughts, reflections and feelings.

​​​​​​​       Almost all the films are in the PNG context though a couple of them a further afield with the same message. The films are resources for Pastoral Ministry and can be used in schools, parishes, institutions and youth groups. ISFF21 booklet has synopsis of the Films with questions for reflection and discussions. They can be adapted to your situation and needs as we journey with our people during this pandemic and offer them hope. The teaching aids and discussion starters can be used in a wide variety of situations where hope is needed. They aim to develop a clear thinking and a critical mind in the midst of a world where there is misinformation, disinformation and mal information. The ISFF21 kit with the films in high resolution priced at K 50/- is available. Contact CBC SOCOM,

​​​​​​​       The program concluded with a jubilant atmosphere as La Salle Technical College walked away claiming the first prize with their film titled ‘A click of Hope.’ Kunai Haus Film titled ‘A widow’s Prayer’ came in second placing while the gentlemen from De La Salle Secondary School came in third placing with their film titled ‘A graceful Triumph.’

​​​​​​​       The program has been inspired by SIGNIS International and the Salesians of Don Bosco. It has the backing of CARITAS Australia, MISSIO, SVS Mart, Paradise Cinema, NBC, TV Wan, EMTV and the many others who believe in the media.


























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