Film Festival Premieres

Fall is here, the air is crisp and the leaves are just beginning to turn vibrant!  The entire team also feels refreshed and thrilled to announce that Headhunt Revisited will screen at two film festivals in October and November. Receiving the phone calls from festival organizers giving the good news was exhilarating.

We’ll start with LA Femme Film Festival, headquartered in Beverly Hills and the festival venue in downtown Los Angeles, as our US Premiere! LA Femme International Film Festival is a notable festival that provides a platform for female filmmakers to share their films with a varied audience. This includes stories of powerful women in history like Caroline and Margaret! From their mission statement, “LA Femme Film Festival is more than a festival –  it is an emergence of artistic, professional women who can make a difference in the entertainment community by creating productions that speak to a worldwide audience.” With the festival date fast approaching on October 19th-22nd, there are lots of details to finish up.

For friends and supporters in the Los Angeles area, you can purchase a variety of film ticket packages by going to this link:  LA Femme Tickets

You can also purchase single tickets to see Headhunt Revisited. The screening date is October 21st, 6 – 8:00 PM at the Regal Theater Stadium 14 in downtown Los Angeles, located at the LA Staples Center, 1000 W. Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90015.

After Los Angeles, we fly back to Seattle for our Pacific Northwest Premiere at the Friday Harbor Film Festival.  We certainly could not ask for a more beautiful location than in our own backyard on San Juan Island. It’s sure to be a fabulous weekend with film friends from November 3 – 5, 2017.

Headhunt Revisited will be screened on Friday, Nov 3rd and Saturday, Nov 4th, at 1:00PM at the Brickworks. You can see the entire schedule here and purchase tickets here.
Friday Harbor Film Festival aims to:

Entertain audiences through the art of compelling storytelling;
Inspire audience members, as well as filmmakers to be a force for positive change;
Enlighten all participants by conveying relevant information, creating awareness and expanding appreciation of our fragile planet, diverse cultures and those daring to explore new frontiers;
Encourage students to participate in the Young Filmmakers Project to learn the art of storytelling through film.

Cartoon drawing by Caroline Mytinger of herself dancing and Margaret playing ukelele in front of villagers.

Come join us at either one of these wonderful film festivals and help us celebrate like Caroline and Margaret would. We hope to see you there!

 

Summer of Anticipation

Necessity is the mother of invention. And Melanesia is perhaps one of the greatest testaments to what innovations can grow out of necessity! Taking a book from that proverbial page, we recently made the decision to upload our film trailer directly to Facebook, and the results were incredibly exciting. This new strategy captured the attention of many new viewers who expressed their excitement and support for importance of this story, and shared the trailer with their friends.

  • Reached 29,812 people
  • Viewed over 10,000 times
  • Shared 164 times
  • Received over 180 responses and comments
  • Garnered numerous personal messages and testimonials

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Check out our Facebook page and “like” it if you have not already joined the many followers.

Testimonials Continue to Pour In!

Wilson Onea, Deputy Director – Financial Analysis & Supervision Unit (FASU) at Bank of Papua New Guinea made this poignant statement and it is a reminder as to why this film is so important for others around the world to see.  It is, of course, how the connection to our past and our history is so vitally important.

“A truly fascinating adventure through the eyes of my grandmother. The documentary itself resonantes of the early 1900’s melodramas in the south seas of the Pacific. A great slice of PNG’s little known history. A gripping  documentary that ultimately delivers  a satisfactory contemporary context. A copy worth keeping.”

Paul Barker, Executive Director, Institute of National Affairs Papua New Guinea

“Very moving; wonderful blending of the past with real people then, as portrayed in Caroline’s painting, writings and the fine footage shown, but then bridging between them and the present and the people, including descendents in different corners of Papua New Guinea and Solomon islands, whom you tracked down and featured…. Of course her paintings defy time; they’re so vivid, colourful, warm and of course unique, and provide an invaluable link with the past in PNG, but also the past and diverse cultures and ways of life for all humanity.”

Our Press Kit is complete and our designer is adding the final touches to a wonderful new postcard. Downloading our public press material is easy, and full of helpful resources for those interested in planning a screening in your community – or simply learning more about the film. Just follow this link, Headhunt Press Material, to receive the trailer, press kit, poster and a ringtone for your phone! Both iPhone and Android are available.

“Land of the Unexpected” Embraces the Film!

It was May 11th, one day after my arrival into Port Moresby. My body was still trying to make the 17 hour leap to catch up to the bright Papuan sun, while my nerves were already far ahead of me, firing on all levels.  How would the film look on the big screen? How would it be viewed by the very people it is about? And how could I end the cycle of sleepless nights?  With barely enough rest to make up for the 30 plus hours of travel, I was called to the theater to approve the projection.  I’d only seen it on my computer or home television and was not sure of both picture and sound – especially in a theater environment.  But amid any uncertainty was the thrill of good news. Paradise Cinema was moving us to a larger seating capacity because so many people RSVP’d to attend the very first private screening.  Then there was the after-party scheduled at the Crystal Lounge.  The US Ambassador and her staff were coming, as were some of PNG’s most influential politicians and cultural leaders. How would I survive the evening?

Jeffry Feeger, Michele Westmorland and Lynne Ainsworth with Jeffry’s impressive creation “Through Siaka’s Eyes” auctioned at the After-Party event at Crystal Lounge

The completion and addition of the new trailer for the film is now on our website and you are the first to see it!  Thank you, Sandy Jeglum, Chris Julian and Icarus Music for the work to make an inspirational and compelling trailer.  Go to Project Page to watch.

I am pleased to tell you that the warm thrill of a rave will penetrate even the most jetlagged anxieties. Launching the completed film with a private premiere in Port Moresby was the most gratifying return on years of effort. To sit amidst an audience in Papua New Guinea, and to hear and feel the warmth and approval, is everything I have hoped for through this long journey.  Although there have many wonderful testimonials and responses, below are a two that I will share.  There will be more to come through social media!

Catherine Ebert-Gray, U.S. Ambassador to PNG and the Solomon Islands

“Headhunt Revisited is a brilliant retelling of the adventures of American portrait artist, Caroline Mytinger, and her friend, Margaret Warner, who traveled to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands to capture portraits of the indigenous peoples. This extraordinary story, which took place in the 1920’s, is another example of how women’s courage, talent, and contributions to history have too often been lost – until someone like Michele Westmorland comes along with the vision and determination to uncover and tell their stories to the world.

Watching Westmorland bring Mytinger and Warner’s journey to life and recreate their travels in modern Melanesia is to relive the joy, danger, difficulty, and sadness of the experience.  As she brings history to life for the descendants of those captured in Mytinger’s moving portraits, many of them who remember the visit through family folklore, she offers viewers an opportunity to peer into a mostly unknown world both past and present.”

Comments from the Audience:

  • “I sat in awe as the story cleverly unfolded – tears of appreciation actually came to my eyes and a lump was in my throat when I expressed my admiration of the documentary to my neighbour in the packed theatre. Michele’s camera lens was not distorted by a foreign Western lens as she followed the epic journey from Caroline Mytinger’s portrait painting expedition of the late 1920s to locate the descendants of her portrait subjects. She does not tell their story but honors and respects them as they tell their story.”
  • Caroline painted portraits through Melanesia and how fortunate and exciting for us who love our Melanesia that there is some history in ‘colour’ through Caroline Mytinger’s paintings.”
  • I have read a little more about Caroline since the Premiere last night, and what I appreciate most, and what was conveyed in your film, is her respect for the cultures she was capturing on film and canvas. She was a woman far ahead of her time, and her courage and authenticity, her unstoppable determination to stay true to herself, is a source of inspiration to me. You embody those same traits, Michele, I think you and Caroline would have been firm friends!”          

The accolades for the film did not stop at the end of the evening.  Invited as a guest along with artist Jeffry Feeger and Rae Smart, Co-Producer Australia, we spoke in an interview with host, Douglas Dimagi, of Talkback Show/FM 100 Radio.                                                                                        

Emmanuel Narokobi, Director of Photography – PNG,  and I also appeared on EMTV’s program, Point of View with host Tania Nugent, and commentators Philma Kelegai and Cleopatra Kolta.  The 48 minute program is available through this link EMTV And do leave your comments at the end! It would be wonderful to have as many people, especially those fans in North America, to support this valuable programming in Papua New Guinea.

Next Steps

The glow of a warm reception on home turf will linger, but there is still much work to be done. Our next crucial task is to invest in getting the film in front of audiences. This means a costly and uncertain period of applying to enter the film festival circuit. Waiting patiently for answers from numerous festivals is not one of my strengths. The entire team is anxious. And because the festival circuit is subjective, one never knows what a festival’s panel will choose. Headhunt Revisited has the distinction of being an untold story of a female American hero. But in the trend toward social justice films, we can only wait to see how a very different sort of story will be received.

Our very own and talented animator, Mahima Tuladhar is designing the Press Kit for any and all distribution requirements. And we will soon invest in targeted Public Relations and Impact strategies to broaden the film’s reach to international audiences. Final tweaks are being done before we can master the film to DVD/BluRay.  If you are inspired to support our final efforts to launch the film, we do have a short window of opportunity to add significant donor/sponsor names to the credit roll.  Please contact me for more information on how to make this happen at michele@westmorlandimages.com or visit the Sponsor-Donate page on this website!

A Big Day for the Film!

As I pack a variety of equipment and clothing for my 34th trip to Papua New Guinea, my excitement is building. So are a few anxious moments as I think about the “Private VIP Screening” of the finished film to leaders of the community in Port Moresby, who have become my friends through this shared journey. The U.S. Ambassador, Catherine Ebert-Gray and the Embassy staff will be special guests, joining me as fellow Americans who share the deepest respect and admiration for the diverse, ancient cultures of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

Respect is a prominent virtue in Melanesian society. Respect for tradition. Respect for elders. Respect for family and lineage. Respect for the earth and those who will inherit it after us. The paintings and sketches that Caroline left behind speak of her respect for her subjects – portraits of indigenous people on their own terms, highlighting their skill and beauty, often placing them in the context of their homes or trades. Like Caroline, my decades of travels through Papua New Guinea have nurtured the deepest of respect for the peoples and traditions of PNG. That is why I feel both compelled and privileged to launch Headhunt Revisited: With Brush, Canvas, & Camera with a private screening for the people whose history inspired this film.

In addition to seeing the film on the big screen for the first time, an After Party celebration will feature the work of contemporary Papuan artist Jeffry Feeger. Jeffry’s stunning self-portrait “Through Siaka’s Eyes” will be available for auction. As a popular contemporary artist well known throughout PNG and Australia, Jeffry’s work brings Caroline’s legacy full circle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you believe the wonderful creation of the painting? The photo to the left is of Jeffry actually completing the painting and the other is the finished masterpiece!  We have so many people to thank who are sponsors for the big event: Bank South Pacific, Crown Plaza Hotel, Paradise Cinema, PNG Airlines, Cosmopolitan Club, Masalai Communications, Media Partners and Mary Elzs OrchidInBloom

Our voice of Caroline in the film is model/actress Lauren Hutton. In the past few weeks, Lauren has championed the use of mature models in significant advertising. Calvin Klein has Lauren included in the very tasteful ad proving age has no limits! Check one of the many articles on line HERE.

Watch our Facebook page for updates on media coverage for the screening in Port Moresby!

Share this blog with friends! We need your help to raise the balance of funding to bring this story to the big screen!  Any amount is greatly appreciated. Just click here to make your charitable contribution.

Announcing New Corporate Sponsor!

Bank South Pacific (BSP) is an iconic and unique bank in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific. It has the largest branch network in Cook Islands, Fiji ,Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu with over 4,000+ staff across the Pacific. The Bank proudly supports the communities that it operates in, through banking and financial services through its network of Branches, Premium Service Centres, Sub Branches, Agents, ATMs or EFTPoS and through its Community Projects in Sports, Education, Health, Culture and Financial Literacy. BSP’s 2017 Community Projects focuses on “Empowering Women and Children”. It has delivered 280+ community projects since 2009, worth over K6.7 million. In operation since 1957, it prides itself with the knowledge, history, experience and a commitment to the region where other institutions cannot offer.

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Headhunt Revisited: With Brush, Canvas and Camera is proud to have this time honored company and their support for a film about history and art that crosses oceans and decades.

I am proud to say that the new BSP headquarters will be including a few of my images as part of their interior design. The following photographs represent a sample of the collection that will be on display.

Individual donors are coming in with sponsorship that earn an Executive Producer status in the film credit roll.  Alice L. Robertson is one of those special individuals who is recognized for her generosity. Her greatest achievement was establishing the NANPA College Scholarship Program in 2000 through the foundation. I have had the extreme pleasure of working with the college program for some 15 years, and it has been a gift, working with such talented young people. Thank you, Alice, for recognizing the value of this documentary film and for your generous support.

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The team is working very hard, immersed in the final stages of preparation before the film is mastered.  The mastering process formats and finalizes the film for screenings, allowing it to be made into DVD’s and prepared for distribution.  As we anticipate the completion of the film, we are excited to offer you, our supporters, a small gift.  An original Headhunt Revisited ringtone for your Android or iPhone.  Email me at michele@westmorlandimages.com and I will reply with an attachment for you to download.  This wonderful, musical ringtone is representative of the original score int he film, and captures the adventurous spirit of Headhunt Revisited.

Share this blog/newsletter with friends.  We need your help to raise the balance of funding to bring this story to the big screen?  Click over to the Sponsor/Donate page on this website to make your charitable contribution.  And please note that the website has a new look!!!

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Historic Footage Acquired!

Historic footage is an important part of telling Caroline and Margaret’s story.  Locating footage from the 1920’s can be a challenge but we did find some beautiful and compelling scenes from three sources – and we would like to individually thank them for working with us during the identification, delivery of comp material for review, and licensing of the clips that will appear in the film.

The National Film and Sound Archives of Australia have been instrumental in the delivery of archival footage with the help of Sean Bridgeman, Zsuzsi Szucs and Siobhan Dee.

Pearls and Savages was produced and filmed by Frank Hurley between 1920 – 1923.  In addition, a book with his stunning images was written by Jim Specht and John Fields and published in 1984 titled Frank Hurley in Papua.  This book sits proudly on my shelf.  Our team  would like to thank the Hurley Family in Australia for their generous support of the film to allow inclusion of material from Pearls and Savages in the film pro bono.  This is significant and a testament to how important it is to support projects that have historic value.  

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Frank Hurley with his film camera in Papua New Guinea, circa 1920.  Courtesy of the State Library of Queensland, Australia.

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In addition to filming in Papua New Guinea, Frank Hurley was the principal photographer and filmmaker during the Shackleton-Endurance Expedition in the Antarctic between 1914 – 1916.

The National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution has also provided film clips from the Sugar Plant Hunting in New Guinea (1929), led by Dr. E.W. Brandes, with an extremely cost effective license.  Caroline and Margaret would be very happy to know that an expedition that they actually “hitchhiked” on is included in the documentary.  Thank you to Pam Wintle, Daisy Njoku, Dr. Joshua Bell and Media Preserve for making this possible.

Oddball Films, based in San Francisco, did extensive research to find us historic clips that help to expand on the time period when our heroines ventured out on their journey. Thank you Stephen Parr, Anthony Bianco, John Schmidt, and the archivists at the facility.  

Add to all this fabulous news is that WE MATCHED OUR REQUIRED FUNDS FOR NEA.

To everyone who stepped up to support the film with generous financial support, we are honored and thankful.  A shout out to all who have taken the time to donate online or via check to DER.  We are especially thankful to two friends who have watched me take this journey since the beginning.  I knocked on their door one early morning – which was the house that Caroline lived in for the last 40 years of her life – and it was an instant collaboration and long term friendship.  Jerry Fielder and Daniel Campbell, your generosity pushed us over the matching fund amount.

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Licensing the archival footage is a huge milestone for Headhunt Revisited that was made possible by our backers and NEA!  We still need financial support for the last leg of this journey – mastering, outreach and distribution.  Though we can’t make any announcements yet, plans are in the works for releasing this film in the Spring!  We’re just around the corner!

 

 

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!

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!

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.