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Friday, June 19 • 10:30am - 11:00am
Pawa Meri : Lapan LIMITED

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Pawa Meri is a documentary about women leaders in PNG. Pawa Meri portrays strong female role models in PNG society and aims to challenge existing stereotypes about women and inspire young women to become leaders themselves.

The woman selected as the subject represent diversity in terms of their province of origin, educational background, whether they live in a town or a village and their area of contribution and expertise.

Each film tells the story of one woman. As a collection of six, the filmic biographies are an important record of women’s lives in contemporary PNG.

The project aims to strengthen the PNG film industry by working with six Papua New Guinean women that each directed one of the Pawa Meri films. These emerging documentary directors were mentored and given support to realise their vision.

The project is supported by the Gender Division of the Australian Aid Program and represents a collaboration between Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia and the CSCM at University of Goroka in the Eastern Highlands Province, of PNG.

Film 1: Lapan (Manus)

“God I wokim yumi na graun istap blo yu mas hat wok, kaikai na lukautim ol pikinini blo yu. Sapos yu les, pikinini i hangere na ino nap sindaun gut na fail lo skul.” - Miriam Potope

Lapan is a film about Miriam Potopi, one of the first female village magistrates in PNG. Village courts began operating in Papua New Guinea in 1975 and they now serve two thirds of the population. The role of village courts is to ensure peace and harmony in the area for which it is established by mediating in, and endeavouring to obtain just and amicable settlement of disputes. Traditionally, village courts have been male-dominated and virtually all the magistrates are men.

Miriam Potope was born on the island of Manus in 1945. Married at the age of 13, she became a single mother shortly afterwards when her husband left her for another woman. Despite Miriam’s personal difficulties and her limited formal education, she volunteered to become a magistrate in the Buloso Village Court in 1985. This made her the first female magistrate in PNG. At the age of 66, Miriam is a strong-willed, outspoken and fearless woman of spirit – who places great value in her traditional customs, culture and her religion. She inspires other women in her village to be strong and follow their hearts.

Miriam’s charismatic personality, her understanding of cultural laws and protocols as well as the challenges she confronts as a female village magistrate is captured in Lapan. It provides the audience with an understanding of the village court system unique to Papua New Guinea and the role Miriam plays as a leader in her community and beyond.

Friday June 19, 2015 10:30am - 11:00am CDT
Ritz-Carlton Upstairs Capella

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