The story of Aliko and Ambai: cinema and social change in Papua New Guinea

Eby, M 2017, The story of Aliko and Ambai: cinema and social change in Papua New Guinea, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Media and Communication, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title The story of Aliko and Ambai: cinema and social change in Papua New Guinea
Author(s) Eby, M
Year 2017
Abstract This exegesis evaluates the practice-led research process and the production of a feature film, Aliko & Ambai, with a local creative team and crew in collaboration with communities in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG). Working with the Centre for Social and Creative Media at the University of Goroka, I responded to specific communication for development (C4D) funding requirements by focusing on creating meaningful and culturally relevant content, establishing egalitarian methods of participation when engaging participants, and exploring structural support for all phases of production. The project created training workshops, used participant-observation during the production process, and conducted small group feedback sessions and individual surveys and interviews with the cast and crew. The film is a collaborative research output that provides the visual moving-image context for the discussion that is explored in the exegesis.

The primary argument of this exegesis is that best practices in media, communication, and development emerge out of the local context, and understanding the role of the facilitator, creative collaborators, and local communities is crucial to this context. The role of the facilitator is to create structures that will encourage collective, peer-based learning and to provide a bridge between the expectations of external stakeholders and the creative aspirations, cultural expectations, and contributions of participants. In addition to developing the content for the film, our local creative team facilitated cooperation with their indigenous communities during the production process. These communities, representative of similar communities throughout PNG, are also the target audience for the film.

This exegesis engages questions about how social change is currently being navigated in developing regions like Melanesia and how a creative media practice can contribute to that knowledge, by analysing the creation of narratives, exploration of social anxieties, improvement of skills, strengthening of identity, and creation of support structures that emerged from the film production process. There is evidence that ongoing media production projects in PNG have the potential to generate content that promotes a fuller and more creative expression of local entertainment while engaging with social change issues. However, this requires ongoing development of capacity with youth and indigenous community participation and this project provides insight into how to develop and support a local Melanesian narrative feature film production practice.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Media and Communication
Subjects International and Development Communication
Pacific Cultural Studies
Film and Television
Keyword(s) Cinema
Papua New Guinea
Communication for Development
Film Production
Capacity Building
Screenplay Development
Community Engagement
Practice-led Research
Social Change
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Created: Thu, 09 Nov 2017, 09:06:53 EST by Denise Paciocco
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