The voice of the forest

Synopsis

Discover the forest through the eyes of a Papuan chief from Papua New Guinea, Mundiya Kepanga, a child of the forest. Like a traditional storyteller, he reveals to us the extent of the deforestation which has been stepped up dramatically in his country in recent years. Find out about his journey as a champion of the environment which will take him from his village to the greatest international meetings. Adding perspective, he offers us a new way of seeing our planet: our forest is universal heritage which must be preserved. Committed and fascinated by this cause, throughout the film Mundiya Kepanga becomes the ambassador of the forest and the voice of indigenous people. A call to protect the world’s primary forests which reminds us that we are all brothers of the trees.

Awards : - Festival de l'Oiseau et de la Nature, France : Prix de l'Environnement - Green Image Film Festival, Tokyo, Japon : Green Image Award - Festival du Film Vert : Primé - Greenpeace Suisse : Prix Greenpeace - FIFO Tahiti : Prix du Public - Festival du Film de Masuku, Nature et Environnement, Gabon : Prix du Jury Étudiant - Festival du Film de Masuku , Nature et Environnement, Gabon : Prix du Public - Rendez-Vous Carnet de Voyage de Clermont-Ferrand : Prix du Film Chamina Voyages - Festival International Nature Namur : Prix du Public - Sicili Ambiente Documentary Film Festival : Prix du Meilleur Documentaire - Fête Européenne de l’Image Sous-Marine et de l’Environnement : Palme d'or

Director's statement

I met Mundiya Kepanga just over fifteen years ago when I was sent to make a report on the Huli people in Papua New Guinea. He spontaneously took on the role of “guide” and took me along winding jungle paths so I could take my photos. Over these long days of hiking, Mundiya taught me not to love the forest, but to love “his” forest. As we walked, he told me the legends of his ancestors together with his personal views on nature. During this initiation, I started to understand that we did not have the same conception of the environment… I saw myself as an external element in the forest, like a foreign visitor. He saw himself as a small component of something much bigger. He never stopped saying “We” and “Us”, whether talking about himself, his people, and even animals and trees. Contrary to received opinion, I also understood that behind the poetic Papuan conceptions of nature, Mundiya was above all nurturing a highly practical vision of this environment. The forest considered as an “economic” asset is a value to be protected over time as it is essential for the group’s survival.

Why we selected this film

A warning which speaks to our hearts as it is expressed with gentleness and humility by a child of the forest. This poetic, pure and touching person invites each of us to reconnect with the child within us and to look at Mother Nature with wonder in our eyes. This proactive whistleblower calls us all to react and fight to preserve “his” forest.