I write this newsletter as I prepare to venture back to Papua New Guinea as a guest lecturer on board the Silver Discoverer for the rest of September. In my absence, the film team will be working to get the film to picture lock and closer to completion!
You may be wondering “what is picture lock?” It is the stage where the script is finalized, all the visual content is edited and locked, animation and graphics completed, and archival footage and images selected and included. It is the finished story, but it is not quite ready for release.
I have a very special sneak peek for you – a sample of the animation that will be used in the film. Our animator, Mahima Tuladhar, is using her creative talents to bring Caroline’s words, as read by Lauren Hutton, to life. The sample is the beginning of the animated story about the painting titled “Sarli and Wife”. You’ll have to wait until the final film for the entire story, but for now, please sit back, listen, and watch the painting come to life.
I will also be showing this to the guests on board the ship while we travel the coastline of Papua New Guinea – and actually making a stop in Samarai, where Caroline created this portrait!
Mahima is working to complete the remaining scenes of animation and our composers, Eddie and Marta of Icarus Music are poised to develop the music score for the film and to begin the final audio mix. Here is a sample of recent work that Icarus Music completed for the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. We will stay above the water for the music in Headhunt Revisited, but this piece shows you the range of their talent and experience. Click for an introduction to “Symphony of the Jellies” or follow this link for their full performance of “Chorale of the Jellies“.
We are at a critical stage to reach our film festival deadlines in November. In order to complete this stage of post-production, we need to raise the portion of our matching funds to cover the animation, music composition, and audio mix. With our $25,000 award from the National Endowment for the Arts every dollar is matched 1 to 1! Click here to help us raise the matching funds!
The entire film team is working hard to reach our November deadline. Your contribution will go directly to the animation, music composition, audio mix, and get us to the next stage of completing this film.
Remember that every donation, no matter what size, is tax-deductible through our fiscal sponsor Documentary Educational Resources. You can help us finish this film by making a contribution today and by sharing this newsletter with a friend or family member.
Thank you for your continued support!
Endorsement excerpt from the U.S. Embassy and
Ambassador Catherine Ebert-Gray:
The Headhunt Revisited Project reaches across two countries that are key partners for the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby – Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. The documentary film not only helps to bring about a stronger, current sense of community and civil society, but it also ties to the past for some of the Melanesia’s most marginalized people – especially its women and youth. As the film highlights the continuance of cultural traditions and the island heritage of the Melanesian people, the Headhunt Revisited Project shines a spotlight on the contributions the United States and its citizens have made to help improve the lives of so many people in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, be it through providing foreign assistance, aid, funding opportunities or education benefits. The film also instills and encourages a deeper, more profound sense of pride for Melanesians to hold fast to their cultural heritage that has been slowly slipping away from these island nations.
I’m not sure how to begin this newsletter with so many fabulous things happening!
The number one exciting event was to record Lauren Hutton’s voice-over as our heroine, Caroline Mytinger. I was hooked in via Skype because I could not fly to Los Angeles to personally participate. John and Nick of Atlantis Group recording studio took charge of the important recording. Also there to assist was Eddie Freeman of Icarus Music. Eddie provided much needed help with communicating correct Melanesian name pronunciations. How would you say Ahuia? Yes, it can be a challenge but Lauren moved through the process – because she’s a pro.
There were stories that Caroline wrote in her books that also brought out emotions. The death of two subjects from one of her paintings titled Sarli and Wife, had everyone feeling the sadness as Lauren personally expressed it through her voice. Then there are the happy moments that only Lauren could bring out. She calls our intrepid artist “The Great Caroline” and we truly believe that she channeled Caroline with her magical voice.
Three hours is a long session to record and Lauren’s generosity to play the role of Caroline is so greatly appreciated. There really are no words to express our thanks.
We’ve had two focus groups to screen and provide feedback. It was exciting and the constructive comments invaluable. The editing continues!!!
As we just celebrated Valentine’s Day, it had me thinking about Caroline and Margaret spending 4 years together in such remote locations. I thought of how, with the exception of an occasional plantation owner’s wife, there were few other women Caroline and Margaret could share their journey with. Certainly, many of the lone – and lonely – men must have been smitten by the beauty of both Caroline and Margaret but as Caroline joked after Margaret received a proposal from a gentleman, he would never see the same affection from Margaret that she demonstrated with her friendship with Caroline. I did find one man who Margaret developed a long-time friendship with and that was Captain William Voy, who mastered the vessel Mataram in the Solomon Islands. What a lovely discovery when I was able to find and purchase Caroline’s first book Headhunting in the Solomon Islands, only to find within it a personalized inscription from Margaret to, as she called him, “The Voy”.
Captain William Voy of the SS Mataram
Margaret Warner on board Mataram with Harold Markham
So what has the team been doing? Sandy has been working hard on fine-tuning the rough cut with historic footage and ideas for graphics and animation. Our first focus group will be held on February 25th, where our guests are from the local film industry will view the rough cut and provide valuable feedback for the continued editing. We are planning on two additional focus groups – one for the education community and another for general audience types.
Feedback comments from all three focus groups, be it positive or critical observations, are all essential to bringing a concise and compelling film to a variety of audiences. When we have achieved the desired flow of the movie, our voice recordings will placed and then we will move on the the next step. Our animator will provide ideas and inspiration to complete segments that could only be visualized in animation.
As the process continues to bring this film to completion, I would like to reach out to our valued supporters for ideas and venues where I can give lectures or host small fundraising events. Every additional dollar raised with help pay for animation, graphics and other items that will bring this film to the screen.
This will be a pivotal year for Headhunt Revisited. Thanks to the help of our scriptwriter, Elle Russ, the narration is ready and we are on to the next phase of editing the film! This month we will be working to finalize all the visuals, from the footage to the archival photos, photographs and paintings. We have a wealth of content!
Receiving endorsements like the one below fuel me as we continue on.
When Michele and I were inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame on the same year, we discovered we had more in common than just diving. Our interest in cultures, the arts, and sharing stories push us to deepen our own and other people’s knowledge and understanding of places, people, and ecosystems. Michele’s passion for Caroline Mytinger’s story fuels her energy for this project and is the driving force that will bring this story to light. Papua New Guinea is a country still very much unknown to many people despite generations of explorers bringing images and stories to the world. In my own family, three generations have traveled to PNG, from my grandfather and father’s expedition in the mid 1980’s, to my own in 2010. By sharing Caroline’s story as a 1920s western woman painting portraits of the people of Melanesia, Michele is not just creating a bridge across time and culture, she is using layers of storytelling, painting and film, to convey a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary story that evades all notion of time and place.
Photo by Çapkin van Alphen
Celine comes from a family that exposed the world to the magic of the ocean. From her grandfather, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, her father, Jean-Michel to the next generation of Cousteau’s, Celine has demonstrated what that legacy means. What I am thankful for, in addition to her wonderful endorsement, is her commitment to connect her own stories of indigenous communities.
Learn more about Celine on her website here:
It is the support of my community that has gotten us this far. A finished film is just around the corner! Your continued support through the finishing stretch means more than ever. Please consider making your tax-deductible donation. Every bit will help this project through completion!
Each holiday season I am reminded of how Caroline spent her Christmas. Last year I shared with you Caroline and Margaret’s Christmas in the Fly River with a palmetto Christmas tree lit by fireflies. This year I would like to share with you their Christmas spent in Morovo Lagoon in the Solomon Islands.
“That Christmas Day with its enforced idleness was as long as a selfish life. We spent some of it up on the temple hill trying desperately to remember what snow looked like, and to recall the sound of church bells and crowds laughing.”
“When we stopped talking all we could hear was the bump of blood in our own veins. Vainly we tried to visualize a familiar face. What a Christmas present it would be to see one suddenly, when we had been meeting only strange faces for almost two years! What did turkey taste like? with cranberry sauce? and even spinach? We drew up a menu and, like natives, discussed it in detail from every angle; but in the end we could still taste only tinned fish and tinned mutton and tinned beef; and they all tasted alike. What did it feel like to be cool? cold? even frozen stiff? Wonderful! We were getting bogged down by the steady heat. It was intensified to steam now by the intermittent rains. And there was the unadmitted weariness of our own unrelieved company, something few expeditions will confess in print but which nevertheless does enter the picture.”
Unlike Caroline and Margaret, we will be able to enjoy time with friends and family sharing a fabulous meal, hearing laughter and acknowledging all with a good glass of wine. This year I am thankful for everyone who has supported HEADHUNT REVISITED through Kickstarter donations, my team who worked hard to submit to four large grants, and my colleagues who have set up speaking engagements. And, of course, there is someone who has offered endless moral support and held my hand when I was nervous and anxious. My special guy, George, whom I will spend some quiet time with this Christmas reflecting on all that is good in life.
Founded in 1968, Documentary Educational Resources (DER) provides distribution, support, and promotion for quality ethnographic, documentary film and media.
We are pleased to announce that DER and Executive Director, Alice Apley are now part of the Headhunt Revisited team. DER will be providing creative, administrative and distribution consultation for the documentary film.
DER distributes numerous films focused on the Melanesia region and culture, including the Academy Award Nominated First Contact. We are honored to have the experience of Alice and the entire DER staff behind Headhunt Revisited.
For years, I have titled this image “Elevala Woman”.
I was incorrect!
The power of social media and Kickstarter is amazing. During the expedition some 9 years ago, I had the privilege of photographing a special celebration (sing-sing) celebrating the 25th anniversary of Father Michael Igo’s ordination. It was held in the area of Hanuabada and Elevala, two distinct stilt villages just outside of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
For three days, people from all over came to sing, dance and celebrate. I saw this stunning woman from a distance and photographed her as she stopped and looked directly into my camera. I was able to quickly share the image with her on the back of my camera but then she vanished into the crowd — never to be seen again. I did not know her name nor where she was from. She was titled “Elevala Woman” because that is where I photographed her.
Through all the publicity during Kickstarter, I was contacted by a woman who said “This is my aunt!” How exciting for me to now know her name, Leontine Taita Veata, and that she has 4 children. It was explained to me that when a woman marries into another clan, they become a part of it and she is part of the Upi Kupuna clan from the village of Kairuku.
Leontine is now “Kairuku Woman”, the village where she is from.
As I think about the new discovery, I remember the thrill of meeting descendants of Caroline’s paintings. Now I celebrate finding the person in my photo and her children and look forward to a day I hand them all prints as tribute to a beautiful woman. Leontine’s portrait is has also become art that spans oceans and decades.
For all of my Kickstarter Backers receiving a print of Leontine, I will also include a printed caption of who this stunning woman really is — a PERSON, not just a subject.
Our Backers are global – Australia, United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea, North America, the Caribbean and even Africa. Thanks to this campaign, Caroline’s story now has a world stage.
I seriously cannot express how thankful I am to each and every one of you for sticking by us during this campaign.
It truly takes a village to make a documentary film. Our first priority is to edit a work-in-progress, prepare detailed proposals for upcoming grants and plan for pick-up shoots with our experts, like Dr. Joshua Bell of Smithsonian Institute, and Jeffry during the “One World, Two Visions” exhibition.
If it wasn’t for the kind and generous support of our backers, the goal could not have been reached. I am honored to have you with me on this journey.
As they say in Papua New Guinea – TENKYU TRU!
Welcome Jill Freidberg, Dr. Joshua Bell and Dr. Andrew Moutu
has been working as the story consultant for the documentary film.
Jill has been producing, editing, writing, and teaching non-fiction
storytelling for over 15 years. Her films have received national broadcast in
the US, Canada, and Latin America, have won numerous festival awards, and have
been translated into over 10 languages. Credits include the feature-length
documentary Sweet Crude and the Emmy-award winning documentary series, Community Stories. Freidberg currently teaches documentary filmmaking at the
University of Washington Bothell.
Dr. Joshua A. Bell
combines ethnographic fieldwork with research in museums and archives to study
the shifting local and global network of relationships between persons,
artefacts and the environment. Since 2000 his ethnographic work has
focused on documenting transformations in the Purari Delta of Papua New Guinea.
This work is complemented with on-going archival and museum-based
research. One of his museum based projects is on the 1928 United States
Department of Agriculture’s Sugarcane Expedition to New Guinea, which crossed
paths with Caroline Mytinger and Margaret Warner in the Middle Fly-Lake Murray
region. His work on the 1928 USDA Expedition has appeared in various journal
articles, and in an edited book on expeditions and their films during the 1920s
and 1930s, Recreating First Contact. Since 2008, Dr. Bell has been the Curator of Globalization in the Anthropology Department of the Smithsonian Institution’s National of Museum of Natural History, and currently serves as the Director of the Recovering Voices program. Acting as an advisor to Headhunt Revisited, Dr. Bell will
provide valuable guidance in the information and story told in the documentary
film and book.
Dr. Andrew Moutu,
a Papua New Guinean anthropologist, was one of the original team members
spending almost 2 months assisting us in gathering valuable information for the
project and with communicating with local villagers. Dr. Moutu received
his education at the University of Papua New Guinea and completed his Masters
and PhD Degrees in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. He
is currently the Director at the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art
Gallery. For his PhD, he carried out field research in Kanganamun Village
on the Sepik River. Dr. Moutu has graciously agreed to act in an
advisory capacity – continuing his involvement in the Headhunt Revisited