This was a documentary we made about the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea in 2010, and was commissioned and produced by the Papua New Guinea Church Partnership UK.
Ever since missionaries Albert Maclaren and Copland King first brought the Gospel to Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 1891, the Anglican Church has carried out a mission of preaching, teaching and healing. In a country with 700 different languages, inaccessible terrain and all the problems of a developing nation such as HIV, this is a challenge indeed. Today the country is made up of five Anglican dioceses – Dogura, Popondetta, Port Moresby, Aipo-Rongo and New Guinea Islands – and each had a wildly diverse story to tell us, from the islands to the highlands. Visit deserted coasts, dense jungles, fast-growing urban towns and inaccessible mountain ranges – all filled with a range of amazing indigenous peoples.
Our director Steve was born in PNG and always enjoys a chance to return and film there. For this film he followed a wide itinerary and visited more of the country than ever before with a local media professional assisting him. With the equipment and crew kept very light, the shoot was done in a traditional documentary style using a fixed-lens camera with a long zoom (which gave an incredible range of what could be filmed), tripod, boom mic for interviews and a bounce-board for reflected light. Almost all filming was done with natural light only, as some of the areas had little or no power for charging light batteries. Travel to the filming locations was done by small propeller planes, 4×4 trucks and dinghies. This is a great example of what can be done with a very small amount of equipment and not many resources or crew.
Refreshingly the film was not designed to feel like a charity appeal or an attempt to evangelise, but instead tries to illustrate how the remarkably resourceful Anglicans all over PNG are setting up their own schemes to become self-sufficient and help their local parishioners. The result was these compelling stories of the Anglican people who live in this astonishingly beautiful but little-known Pacific country.