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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Call for Ni Vanuatu film makers to enter Namatan festival

The number 40 will be a ‘unique item’ or theme for this year’s 2020 Namatan Short Film Festival, with the festival getting behind Vanuatu’s 40th anniversary of Independence celebrations.

This was announced by the Australian High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Sarah de Zoeten, during the official opening of entries for the Namatan festival on Monday.

A condition of entry in this year’s Namatan festival is that all films must include the designated ‘unique item’. This is to prove that the films have been created specifically for this year’s festival.

Ni Vanuatu filmmakers have until 19 October 2020 to submit their films.

“I am pleased to say that this year’s Namatan Short Film Festival will be held on the last day of  the Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation’s (VBTC) one week Christmas in the Park event in December and I know it’s going to be fantastic,” Ms Zoeten said.

High Commissioner Zoeten says the idea behind Namatan is to offer opportunities for Ni-Vanuatu, especially young Ni-Vanuatu, to express their ideas and share their vision and creativity through film.

“It is also for audiences to take their own messages away from each story,” she said.

Namatan has become one of Vanuatu’s most successful annual festivals, bringing original films from the people of Vanuatu to small screens across the country.

Now entering its ninth year, Ms Zoeten, says the festival is growing from strength to strength.

The festival annually reaches thousands of people from the North to the South of Vanuatu, through public screenings in schools, communities and through the finale event.

Ms Zoeten says at last year’s finale event in Port Vila alone, over 5000 people watched the films.

“To watch young men and women enter a room with the swagger of young men and women of high school age and within five minutes to see them watching those films and laughing and giggling and squealing in fright, has been such a wonderful experience,” she said.

“And to see them being able to see what they themselves can do and achieve has been extraordinary.”

Ms Zoeten says the quality of the films entered into Namatan has improved every year as more people have access to technology to produce them and as script writing, acting and sound production also improves.

“We’re very proud that Namatan has helped launch professional careers for previous contestants, some of whom are now working at VBTC,” the High Commissioner said.

VBTC’s Chief Executive Officer, Francis Herman, says Namatan is an important initiative for Vanuatu and is probably the only festival in the Pacific that targets grassroot filmmakers.

“For us, Namatan serves a very useful purpose in that it promotes local talent and the growth of that local talent,” Mr Herman said.

He says it’s also important that Namatan is used to develop local capacity, the techniques of producing films, both short and long, and to encourage career paths for Ni-Vanuatu who may want to go into this industry.

Mr Herman says Namatan also gives VBTC an opportunity to stockpile quality, local content for TV broadcast.

“We remain committed to supporting Namatan and to ensuring that the production this year is of a higher quality. The VBTC team, beginning with our Head of Television, Rick Malao, remain committed to providing advice and to assisting potential filmmakers who may want to up their skills,” he said.

The Namtan Short Film Festival is made possible through a partnership between the Australian High Commission and VBTC and its sponsors, Digicel Vanuatu and ANZ Bank of Vanuatu.

The Vanuatu filmmaker who tops the festival will win VT200,000, sponsored by ANZ Bank. The second and third place winners will take home brand new smart phones sponsored by Digicel.

Filmmakers wanting to win any of these exciting prizes, must submit theirshort films to the Vanuatu Broadcasting and Television Corporation by close of business on Monday 19 October 2020. To be eligible, films must be between one to seven minutes long and must include the 2020 Namatan’s unique item, ‘40’.

Entry is free and easy. Further information is available on the Australian High Commission’s website on

For more news and events, follow the Australian High Commission Vanuatu’s Facebook page on and the VBTC’s Facebook page on

The Namatan Short Film Festival was established in 2012 by VBTC and the Australian High Commission.



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