Fanihi : a cultural digest. Cannibalism or conservation?
Tharp, James Whitney.
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There is a conflict on the island of Rota in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands between conservationists and the cultural traditions of Chamorro inhabitants. The traditional model of broadcasting media to a wide audience is not effective in intervening in environmental conflicts within indigenous communities compared to an emerging model of filmmaking that embraces local voices and perspectives. Historically, indigenous depictions in media tend to misrepresent "Others" in order to reinforce the imperialist interests of Western society. Within this essay I intend to analyze how Western media suppresses indigenous voice while investigating strategies for the creation of effective environmental films targeted towards specific local audiences. Awareness of the mistakes of filmmakers of the past combined with the availability of inexpensive production and distribution technologies will allow alternative models of filmmaking to portray a diversity of perspectives. Environmental films that feature indigenous voices allow local communities to define and strengthen their own cultural values while creating texts that broaden global understandings of the diversity of the human experience.
Fanihi: a cultural digest is a film that is part of the student's thesis project.