A tropical hilltopview with the ocean at left and a green mountain at right

Welcome to the South Pacific

These short documentary films share personal stories from the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia

Exploring through the power of personal stories

This series delves into Marquesan culture by listening to the stories people want to tell about their lives. From one person to the next, these films explore tradition, colonization, loss, and joy in the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia.

Episode One with Debora Kimitete: We visit the sacred site of Koueva on Nuku Hiva, a site dedicated to Debora’s husband, Lucien. He was critical to the resurgence of Marquesan culture, and he disappeared without a trace in an airplane crash in 2002.

Episode Two with Nicolas Haiti: On Nuku Hiva, the Haiti family runs a coconut drying oven that supports the livelihoods of 50 local families. As we watch each step of the process, Nicolas shows us that work, and a sense of home, can be found on the land itself.

Episode Three with Teiki Huukena: From his first tattoo at the age of 14, Teiki has been studying Patutiki (Marquesan tattoo), including the traditional symbols and their correct placement on the body. His own skin is a record of this journey.

Episode Four in Hapatoni: Tehautetua Tauhiro and his family are the cultural guardians of their valley. Through daily activities, art, and music, this generation of leaders demonstrates the power of strengthening culture by sharing it.

Teiki, a man with traditional Marquesian tattoos on his arms, looks down at his work.

Teiki and Patutiki

Jun 15, 20192 min read
Teiki Huukena has dedicated himself to the Marquesan art of tattoo, called Patutiki. He got his first tattoo, designed by his cousin, when he was 14 years old. Since then, his journey to reclaim the traditional symbols and their placement on the body has been written on his skin.   The journey is also represented…
A crowd watches the world cup on a bar patio.

France wins the World Cup

Jun 1, 20192 min read
The final game of the 2018 FIFA world cup started very early in the Marquesas, whose time zone is 11.5 hours behind most of Europe. It was still dark when we arrived, but a mix of local residents and visiting yacht owners (mostly French) were already seated in the community hall.   Despite the distance…
A crowd of people watch as men and women on horses pass by during a ceremony.

le 14 juillet

May 20, 20192 min read
The 14th of July is a national holiday in France, often called la “fête nationale” or simply “le 14 juillet.” In English, we call in Bastille Day, and it is named for a major event during the French Revolution in 1789. As a French Overseas Territory, this holiday is also celebrated in French Polynesia. These…
Two men and a woman with flower crowns smile at the camera

Meet the team

May 10, 20193 min read
Teamwork was key to our time in the Marquesas.   While I was mostly finding people to talk to, like Nicolas Haiti and his son Naura inside their coconut oven in Taipivai, Nuku Hiva, Eric Guth (photographer) and Matt Mastrantuono (filmmaker) were never far away.   I’ll admit it: I don’t like drones. From beeping…