Vanuatu Cultural Centre

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National Photo, Film and Sound Archive

National Photo, Film and Sound Archive-Body-2

The role of the National Photo, Film and Sound Archive is to compile and preserve as much information as possible about custom, culture and tradition in Vanuatu in audio, audiovisual, photographic and digital formats. It has the most comprehensive collection of data about custom, culture and tradition in Vanuatu in these formats than in the world.

The purpose of having such a collection is to benefit the future generations and those that do not have direct access to this information.

The purpose of having such a collection is for the benefit of future generations

Main Objectives for the National Photo, Film and Sound Archive
1) Preservation of the audio, audiovisual and photographic heritage of the country, particularly the extensive collections of the Cultural Centre (the national film and sound collection)
2) Ongoing audio, audiovisual and photographic documentation of aspects of the different cultures of Vanuatu (including documentation of how these cultures are changing) and important events in our history
3) The recording of the history and traditions of the country on audio tape
4) The recording on video and on still camera of aspects of the history and traditions of the country, including customary performances, rituals and historic events
5) The identification and repatriation of copies of early photographs, films and sound recordings held overseas
6) The provision of video recording services to record miscellaneous events at the request of communities, organisations and members of the public
7) Providing public access to non-restricted material from the collection in audio and audiovisual formats
8) The production and publication of informational and educational materials in audio and audiovisual formats - including the regular radio and television programs “Kastom mo kalja” and occasional newspaper releases - utilising the national film and sound collection
9) Controlling the access and activities of foreign film-makers wishing to make programs about Vanuatu
10) Developing the revenue-generation potential of the film and sound production facilities of the National Film and Sound Unit

Tasks carried out by the National Photo, Film and Sound Archive
1) Interviewing invited persons for input into the radio program
2) Editing film footage for the production of films
3) Undertaking research on the collection to provide particular materials on particular topics for use by other sections of the Cultural Centre and for outside clients
4) Copying existing films on VHS and DVD for hiring and selling
5) Furnishing schools and libraries with copies of films from the collection
6) Liaising with the island population and fieldworkers to arrange documentation of custom ceremonies and historic events
7) Liaising with and between foreign film crews and island populations and fieldworkers to facilitate:
a) approval for filming by foreign film crews,
b) logistical arrangements, and
c) monitoring of film crews while in the field.

The aim ... is to assist in the preservation and promotion of aspects of custom and culture, and to try to ensure that as much as possible of Vanuatu’s cultures and history is recorded

Importance of the National Photo, Film and Sound Archive
One of the Cultural Centre’s major projects is the audiovisual documentation of traditional ritual and cultural activities. The aim of this is to assist in the preservation and promotion of aspects of custom and culture, and to try to ensure that as much as possible of Vanuatu’s cultures and history is recorded for posterity. Subjects of documentation include not only major traditional rituals such as initiation, grade-taking, funerals, marriages, clan-alliance ceremonies, seasonal agricultural rituals and the like, but also activities such as weaving and gardening, fishing techniques, village festivals, historical events, myth re-enactments and historical and cultural reminiscences (oral traditions). All these things are of great importance and interest to all ni-Vanuatu, and it is widely understood that future generations of ni-Vanuatu will be able to learn, study and benefit from this documentation project. We all know that everything is changing rapidly in today’s world, and one of the aims of this project is to help educate ni-Vanuatu about the value of their own and related cultures. Our country is very dispersed and culturally diverse, but our people can learn, through the material produced by this project, about cultures from other areas of the country, about which they may have little prior knowledge. Future generations can learn of the activities of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations. Before the recent arrival of new film and video techniques, recording was only in audio (reel-to-reel and cassette tapes). Now, with video, we can see as well as hear. This is one of the reasons why many areas are reviving certain rituals not performed for many years – so that the ceremonies can be preserved for the future in audiovisual form by the Cultural Centre. The National Photo, Film and Sound Archive, an important part of the Cultural Centre, provides its services free of charge to communities in the outer islands to document, at their request, ritual and historical events of importance. Sponsors of the ritual, chiefs and/or the village community involved retain a copy of the resulting video, which they can then use as they see fit (if their area or island has video-viewing facilities). Public interest and awareness of this project has become so great that it is impossible to fulfil all requests. Our 100 Cultural Centre Fieldworkers spread throughout the islands concentrate, at the moment, mainly on documentation - the tape-recording and photographing of oral traditions and rituals in their own and adjacent cultural areas. We do not at the moment have enough video equipment to distribute evenly throughout the country, although we have Cultural Centre film units based permanently in South West Bay, Malakula, at the Malakula Cultural Centre in north-east Malakula and to nours new builded TAFEA KALJORAL SENTA (Tafea Cultural Centre). The hope is to eventually have more units based throughout the islands.

National Photo, Film and Sound Archive-Body

Besides recording in the field, the National Photo, Film and Sound Archive has the responsibility to look after the unique and irreplaceable archives of films and sound recordings about Vanuatu held in its collection. The collection includes material recorded earlier this century, which has been sought out and returned to Vanuatu, as well as more than 3000 hours of footage recorded by Cultural Centre staff, fieldworkers and attached researchers. The archive includes 8mm films, Video 8 and VHS ½-inch video, as well as small holdings of other formats. The National Photo, Film and Sound Archive has achieved its objective of documenting and promoting ni-Vanuatu culture through video. Copies of certain of the non-tabu films are regularly shown, with permission, to schools, village communities, and so on. They are sometimes also used at local meetings, courses or workshops, or even sometimes taken by government representatives on workshops or conferences overseas.
With the recent introduction of television in Vanuatu (in 1992), we hope soon to be producing regular local documentary film features for broadcast. The Cultural Centre could thus benefit from television in Vanuatu by co-producing regular programs on cultural matters using existing films held in the archives and by recording new material. Using modern audiovisual techniques and facilities, we work to document and raise awareness of Vanuatu’s cultural richness and diversity, and to help ensure that our small island nation does not lose its unique cultural identity.

This year 2011 the Vanuatu National Cultural Council had aproved Four Filming projects:

1- EYEWORKS ESPANA SA, SPAIN.

2-LES FILMS EN VRAC, MAGIC TOUR.

3- LE FEU DES ORIGINES.

4- RISK PRODUCTION, "Things to do before you die".