Australia

PACIFIC HEARTBEAT SEASON 8
Prison Songs

PACIFIC HEARTBEAT SEASON 8: Prison Songs
 
PACIFIC HEARTBEAT

 

The eighth season PACIFIC HEARTBEAT provides viewers with a glimpse of the real Pacific—its people, culture and contemporary issues. From revealing exposés to in-depth profiles and unexpected histories, the anthology series features a diverse array of programs that draws viewers into the heart, mind and soul of Pacific Island culture.

 

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Prison Songs
The people imprisoned in a Darwin jail are shown in a unique and completely new light in Australia’s first ever documentary musical. Incarcerated in tropical Northern Territory, over 800 inmates squeeze into the overcrowded spaces of Berrimah Prison. In an Australian first, the inmates share their feelings, faults and experiences in the most extraordinary way – through song.

 

 

 

PACIFIC HEARTBEAT
Leitis in Waiting | Cover Story

Pacific Heartbeat's Leitis in Waiting. The May Program Guide cover story by Emily Bodfish

May 2019 program guide cover story by Emily Bodfish, PBS Hawai‘i

 

Now in its eighth season, the anthology series PACIFIC HEARTBEAT brings the authentic Pacific – people, cultures, languages, music and contemporary issues – to your screen. This new season brings stories of determination and courage from Australia, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Tonga and the U.S. The series is a production of Pacific Islanders in Communications in partnership with PBS Hawaiʻi, and is distributed nationally by American Public Television.

 

Among the films premiering this month is Leitis in Waiting, which tells the story of the Kingdom of Tonga’s evolving approach to gender fluidity through character-driven portraits of leitis, or indigenous transgender women. The most prominent leiti, Joey Joleen Mataele, is a practicing Catholic of noble descent who, over the course of an eventful year, organizes a beauty pageant, and later a conference with fundamentalist Christians to discuss the rise of the rhetoric of intolerance toward leitis.

 

Filmmakers Joe Wilson, Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu and Dean HamerFilmmakers Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson and Hinaleimoana Wong-Kale – the subject of Hamer and Wilson’s earlier film Kumu Hina, which was also a film about gender fluidity that aired nationally on PBS – spoke with us about the film:

 

Could you give us some insight into your intentions with the film, the meaning of it for you and your audience?

 

Hamer: At first, we thought we would create a short film about the [beauty] pageant itself, which Hina won one year, by the way. While pursuing that, we realized we needed to make a feature length film on the leitis search for equality and recognition in their own country.

 

Wilson: We wanted our film to have an effect everywhere, but especially in Tonga. Our approach to filmmaking is to show, not tell, and let the viewers decide for themselves. That approach lends itself to the Tongan talanoa method of conflict resolution. You sit down with your opposition and try to come to a mutual understanding. Joey, the protagonist of the film, is currently using the film in that way as part of her advocacy.

 

Hina, you were instrumental in making the film because of your insider knowledge of the culture. Could you give some insight into those cultural differences some viewers might not understand, including the concept of the “usefulness” of the leitis?

 

Wong-Kalu: In Tonga, the royal family is held in utmost regard. They are synonymous with the nation itself, the flag, and the national seal “God and Tonga are my inheritance.”

 

On “usefulness,” the understanding in Polynesian culture is that your worth is not measured by how much you acquire, but rather by how much you sacrifice of yourself. The Tongan understanding of the word “useful” as it applies to people is different from in the west. When you hear people in the film say that the leitis are “useful,” it is praise for their service to others.

 

Wilson: At the same time, the frustrations that we tried to capture on film is the leitis’ struggle with something that marginalized communities struggle with everywhere. Whenever leitis, or anyone that has been relegated to a certain place, says, “I deserve more,” a backlash occurs.

 

What do you think the U.S. and Tonga can learn from each other?

 

Wong-Kalu: I would like to beg the question – why does Tonga have to learn anything from the U.S.? Tongans had a great way of embracing everyone in society. I want Tonga to be more discerning about what they import.

 

Hamer: One thing the U.S. can learn is that gender diversity has been around for centuries, and widely accepted in many parts of the world. The vast majority hid because the forces against them were so strong, but they were still there. It isn’t going to kill society if those people don’t hide anymore.

 


Leitis in Waiting

Saturday, May 25 at 8:00 pm

Click here to see PACIFIC HEARTBEAT SEASON 8 programming lineup and schedule

 

 

 

FAKE OR FORTUNE?
Tom Roberts

FAKE OR FORTUNE? Tom Roberts

 

Tom Roberts is considered one of Australia’s most important artists, a pioneer of Australian Impressionism whose works commands hundreds of thousands of pounds. After a fierce bidding war via a U.K. auction website, an Australian couple bought the painting, shipped it back to Brisbane and presented it to a leading expert on the artist’s work – only to be told that it was not genuine. The owners’ unhappiness with the verdict has been compounded by personal business difficulties that make it more important than ever to prove that their hunch was right. Our series experts believe some of the answers to the mystery lie in Roberts’ time in England, where he trained at the Royal Academy in the 1880s. The quest for further proof takes them to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Can they find enough evidence to earn the painting a second hearing?

 

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PACIFIC HEARTBEAT
Poi E: The Story of Our Song

PACIFIC HEARTBEAT: Poi E: The Story of Our Song

 

POI E: The song behind our PRIDE is a story which brings to the screen, the life of Dalvanius Prime – a man who brought disco to Australia; the warmth of the Ngoi Pewhairangi, a community elder whose passion for indigenous Māori language; and the lives of the Patea Māori club, a traditional Māori Kapahaka (dance) group comprised of freezing workers from the small town Pātea. When Dalvanius returns to Pātea, he not only comes face-to-face with the reality of a dying mother but also to a devastated community whose livelihood was on the brink when the Freezing Works were shut down. The lives of everyone in Pātea were up in the air as families struggled to make ends meet. Dalvanius did the only one thing he could to make ends meet – tour and sing in a time when being Māori meant you had to watch where you step.

 

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NATURE
Nature’s Miracle Orphans: Wild Lessons

NATURE: Nature's Miracle Orphans: Wild Lessons

 

Watch two-toed baby sloth Pelota learn to be independent in Costa Rica, while in Australia, young kangaroo Harry must be taught to socialize with his mates. Baby fruit bat Bugsy needs special help when his mother can’t provide milk.

 

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EARTH’S NATURAL WONDERS – LIFE AT THE EXTREMES
Surviving with Animals

 

Learn why wildlife holds the key to survival for the people who live in some of the world’s most extraordinary natural wonders, such as northern Australia, northern Siberia and Vanuatu.

 

 

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS
Gary Clark Jr. / Courtney Barnett

 

Gary Clark Jr.

 

Experience the contemporary R&B of Austin’s Gary Clark Jr. as he plays songs from his album The Story of Sonny Boy Slim.

 

 

Courtney Barnett

 

Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett performs tunes from her album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.

 

 

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