FILM

Pronunciation and Style Guide
ARMEA [phonetic: ar - may - ah] Note: Title is always capitalized.

Director
Letila Mitchell

Community Partner / Associate Producer
Rotuman Women’s Weaving Collective
Iane Tavo

Synopsis

“If you listen to nature, it will lead the way…” Elder Gagaj Taimanav

Steeped in symbolism and no larger than a child’s hand, the diminutive bird known as the Armea is found in only one place on Earth: the Pacific island of Rotuma.

After scores of performances around the world and years away from Rotuma, ARMEA opens as the dedicated dancers and musicians of Rako Pasefika make their long awaited return home to the island. Arriving by air yet received just as their seafaring predecessors were, the Rako team engages with creative elders in the hopes of revitalizing ancient stories that are in danger of being forgotten. As Rako prepares to perform a new production inspired by the totemic Armea, their relationships with elders, knowledge keepers, healers, artisans and cultural custodians reveal deep and reciprocal connections to this ancient land and to the immense ocean from which it rises. Both an offering to those who have guided the way — such as the hån lep he rua sacred women — and a promise to sustain sacred artforms for generations to come, ARMEA is an ode to all that is small yet sacred.

Logline
Through music and dance, Rotuman artists work with their elders to create new ceremonies and to revitalize stories of land and ocean.

About Reciprocity Project
Reciprocity Project is a global storytelling movement supporting Indigenous creatives telling stories of hope, made within their communities, via film, photography, and podcasts.

Technical Specifications
TRT | 20 minutes
Aspect Ratio | 16:9
Color
Format | Digital
Audio | 5.1
Languages | Rotuman, English
Location | Rotuma. ARMEA was filmed at key sacred spaces on the island of Rotuma, a tiny island four hours north of Fiji. The sacred spaces include Islepi, Mount Solroroa, Faniua, Joro, and Fuli’u, and the villages of Savlei, Maftoa, Else’e, and Losa.

FILMMAKERS

Director Biography
Letila Mitchell is a practicing artist, director, producer, founder and artistic director of Rako Pasefika, a multidisciplinary collective of Indigenous Oceanic storytellers whose creative practice has its foundation in Rotuman culture and its links to Indigenous Oceanic communities.

Letila’s work explores Rotuman creative practice in the context of Indigenous Oceanic knowledge with the goal of deepening this knowledge and strengthening creative practices that link it with cultural activism and biodiversity conservation. Stories of Sạsi, Pera, Lạgi, of Ocean, Land and Sky, are intrinsically interwoven into her practice, while also building knowledge and creating with family and a community of practice.

Her practice focuses on cultural entrepreneurship, transmission of cultural knowledge, arts for social change, and developing Pacific models for environmental and cultural sustainability across creative industries. She seeks to bring Indigenous Oceanic women’s knowledge to the forefront because it is this missing knowledge and voices that perpetuate the imbalances that we see in our everyday lives in Oceania. As a woman of Oceania, her work is constantly inspired, motivated and responsive to the growing body of work by many indigenous Oceanic women who actively work to respond to the ongoing impacts of globalization, economic and environmental challenges in the Pacific.

Artist statement
This film is a story of the power that comes when we listen and respect nature. Our knowledge systems connect us to our land, sustain our peoples and teach us that sustainability and reciprocity are shared from generation to generation through stories.

Our cultural elders — our mapiga — are keepers of these stories. Our dancers and musicians embody stories and are the vessels that pass them down from generation to generation. Our weavers, wove the spirits of our ancestors into their apei. All our guardians and custodians are born and developed into different roles, all significant and important. Some are healers, others are warriors, keepers of cultural protocols, or storytellers.All are activists, fiercely guarding and protecting Land. It is the heart, spirit and intentions that generate true community benefits.

By listening and working with elders, and by committing to continuing practice and passing on knowledge through our creative work we ensure that Indigenous knowledge and our ancient stories are not forgotten.

About Reciprocity Project
In Season Two of this multimedia project, storytellers and community partners created films in response to a question: What does a 'return' to land, language, and reciprocal relationships mean to you and your community? Facing a climate crisis, the Reciprocity Project embraces Indigenous value systems that have bolstered communities since time immemorial. Reciprocity Project invites global Indigenous filmmakers to center Indigenous perspectives about the reciprocal relationship between all beings — seen and unseen — and the lands we inhabit.

COLLABORATORS

Nia Tero is a US-based non-profit working in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and movements worldwide with a mission of securing Indigenous guardianship of vital ecosystems. Nia Tero is committed to an antiracist and inclusive culture centering Indigenous rights, wisdom, practices, worldviews, and protocols.

Upstander Project is a Boston-based non-profit that uses storytelling to amplify silenced narratives, develop upstander skills to challenge systemic injustice, and nurture compassionate, courageous relationships that honor the interconnection of all beings and the Earth. Upstander Project envisions a world rooted in responsibility and respect for all where upstanders confront injustice and repair harm to ensure all beings thrive together.

REI Co-op Studios develops and produces stories that entertain, enrich and explore the power of time spent outside, while complementing the co-op’s broader climate and racial equity, diversity, and inclusion commitments.

PRESS & ACCLAIM

News

CREDITS

Coming Soon

For Series Credits please see the Season Two Press Kit

Zipped downloadable full press kit with photos will be available soon.

CONNECT

Website | Reciprocity.org

Social Media | @reciprocityproj | Instagram | Facebook

Podcast | Seedcast

Press Contact | press@reciprocity.org

Updated | February 14, 2024