A Proud Moment

I am honored to announce that I was recently awarded Fellow of the Year at iLCP’s annual conference called WildSpeak.

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Announcement given by Buffy Redsecker – Chairman of the Board/iLCP

By definition, this is not a best photographer or best photograph award, but an award to call out the Fellow who has stood out as a staunch supporter of the organization itself.  Photography is, by nature, a solitary pursuit and trying to create a place where photographers can come together to collaborate and share knowledge is a tricky thing.

The Board and the Staff could not do this without the help and support of the Fellows.  This award is designed to honor the extra time and energy that is spent when that commitment is made to iLCP.  Besides a beautiful bauble, the recipient of this award will receive a Mindshift gift certificate and $2500.00 to support their work!  This year’s awardee stands out for her dedicated service as a board member and as an advocate for iLCP events around the world …  She’s the first person with her hand in the air volunteering for whatever is about to be asked, often without knowing the ask before volunteering.  She’s a mentor to many of us, and one of the most inclusive and collaboratively minded people in any profession I’ve had the pleasure to know.

Her massive work in recognizing culture, which, as we know, is impossible without environmental conservation.  Headhunt Revisited highlights the life and adventures of one of the greatest female explorers and artists of the early 20th Century, Caroline Mytinger, who traveled with her friend, Margaret Warner.  But as in all things that this woman touches, there is deeper work afoot.  She is also raising the respect for traditional culture in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and in collaboration with local artist, Jeffry Feeger, she is encouraging deeper celebration and memorialization of Melanesian heritage.  

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In addition to this incredible honor, Jaymi Heimbuch of Mother Nature Network wrote this lovely piece about Headhunt Revisited.  Click HERE to read it.

While the finishing touches of the film are being worked on, I have been busy acquiring the archival footage and images that illustrate the 1920s in Melanesia when Caroline and Margaret were there.  This is one of the most difficult and expensive parts of post-production! Thankfully, the National Geographic Society and the archives team were great to work with. They promptly licensed and delivered the cover of the September 1929 issue of the magazine, in which Caroline appears, for use in the Fly River portion of the film.  

Since announcing the NEA grant, we have raised over half of our required $25,000 matching funds! Can you help us raise the rest of this portion of post-production costs? Consider giving a year-end tax deductible contribution to Headhunt Revisited. Every dollar goes directly towards the finishing funds, archival footage and image licensing, and helps us maximize our NEA grant.

Thanks to everyone who has donated and supported the project. From the entire Headhunt Revisited team, we wish you a very Happy Holiday Season!

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Caroline Mytinger for President!

As we approach the upcoming election, our inboxes are full of political rhetoric and our social media rambles on with a variety of opinions. How about some positive news for a change?

The documentary film is quickly moving to completion!  Today, Sandy and I reviewed the small tweaks with our animator, Mahima Tuladhar. Icarus Music is in “sketch book” phase of the score and expressed how much excitement they feel in developing the music. Eddie and Marta say they feel like explorers themselves to find the right sound that will compliment the story.

In September, I was invited to be a guest lecturer on board the Silver Discoverer traveling along the coastline of Papua New Guinea.  I gave three presentations: Marinelife of PNG, Culture of PNG and, of course, Headhunt Revisited.  Ninety passengers were all inquisitive and interested in the visual shows along with the stories, the history of Caroline, and how her art has shown a unique representation of Melanesians. Jeffry Feeger, who appears in the film, solidified the value of the film and the audience was captivated by his stunning contemporary portrait art.  There were a few locations I had not been, providing me with a chance to engage with the community and collect more of my own portraits of these wonderful people.

We also had our inaugural “house party” fundraising event hosted by John and Lisa Merrill and an intimate screening event with Leo Coronado and Rob Martin. Both helped with raising awareness of the film and much needed funds to finish the film.  And yes! We do have some fun.

There are also those who have contributed to the film by authorizing image use – historic and filled with back stories.  A few months ago, I had the pleasure of communicating with Ross Plant, the grandson to one of the most notable early 20th Century explorers in Papua New Guinea.  Ivan Champion was instrumental to getting Caroline and Margaret on board the Vinapa, a 100 ton ketch engaged by the USDA New Guinea Sugarcane Expedition in 1928 and led by Dr. E. W. Brandes.  Caroline described Champion in her book in an endearing way – as a “large-sized Boy Scout”.  She was so impressed with his credentials as the escort and patrol officer for the expedition that she acknowledged his accomplishment of a “history making transverse across the island”.  Champion was everything a true explorer of the early 20th Century exemplifies – curious, brave, handsome and confident.

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Thank you, Ross, for sharing memories of your famous grandfather.

You can help us reach our final goal in many ways.  Host a small intimate party where I can share the details of the story and process of making a film; connect and share the newsletter with others and engage in a positive message about the importance of art; celebrate two forgotten female explorers, give a donation as a charitable contribution before the end of the year and help us reach our matching funds.

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Almost to Picture Lock!

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.

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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!

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National Endowment for the Arts

The Headhunt Revisited documentary film team is honored to share the news that we have been chosen for an award from the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS!!! One of just nine grants given to support production of an individual documentary film in this funding round, our period of support starts on June 1st. We will be working in earnest to begin our campaign to fulfill the requirements of the matching funds. With this effort and your support, our goal is to have a completed film by end of 2016.

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Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities.

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Headhunt Revisited presentations recently given in Papua New Guinea’s capital city of Port Moresby and hosted by the U.S. Embassy were enthusiastically received, providing proof – and continuing inspiration – that the enormous power of Caroline Mytinger and her paintings continue to communicate the history and cultural diversity of Melanesia through art.

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.

 

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It’s a Wrap with Lauren Hutton

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.

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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.

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We’ve had two focus groups to screen and provide feedback.  It was exciting and the constructive comments invaluable.  The editing continues!!!

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Who is “The Voy”?

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”.

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Captain William Voy of the SS Mataram

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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.

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A Wonderful Endorsement

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.

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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:

http://www.celinecousteau.com/#celine-cousteau

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!

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