'As Worlds Divide' premiere
As surfers, we explore the world in search of perfect waves, discovering incredible places, people and cultures along the way. One of the most spectacular of these destinations is the Mentawai Islands.
Most who visit Mentawai return home with a sense of euphoria, having surfed the best waves of their lives, carrying the glow of a tropical paradise. Very few, however, find out that Mentawai’s indigenous people are desperately fighting for survival.
In 2008, Australian surfer Rob Henry packed up his life in Melbourne and moved to Mentawai in the hope of finding a more sustainable and fulfilling way of life. What he found instead were a people facing a threat far more pressing than his own.
“I was intrigued by the Mentawai people, their level of freedom and happiness, and wanted to understand what they were doing differently to us.” Henry said. “At the same time, I also found that they had their own challenges: how to maintain their language, culture and identity in the face of increasing commercialisation and acculturation.”
Nine years on Henry is returning to Melbourne to share the Mentawai people's story. “As the remaining tribes-people battle for their culture and land there is still hope from a small group of tribal educators who are making a stand.”
To help the indigenous community raise funds - to build a cultural education centre, implement a ten-year indigenous education program and publish a Mentawai dictionary - Henry and the Indigenous Education Foundation (IEF) are launching a feature documentary film, As Worlds Divide.
Filmed over Henry’s nine years living amongst the Mentawai, the film confronts the impacts commercialisation, forced displacement, and assimilation have had on the Mentawai people.
Given the deep affection surfers have for Mentawai, this is an opportunity for the local community to connect with surfers all around the globe and to share their story. Their request is simple: watch a film, save a culture #wafsac
As Worlds Divide film premiere to be held at Deakin Edge, Federation Square (Melbourne) on March 24th. Tickets available at: www.asworldsdivide.eventbrite.com.au