Documentary on violence in Papua New Guinea wins Doc Edge Best Pitch

Associate Professor Paul Wolffram and Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) Film alumna Shu Run Yap have won the Doc Edge Best Pitch—New Zealand award for their documentary film project Sanguma.

Doc Edge Pitch is a competitive pitching event for film and series projects. Prizes for the Best Pitch include post-production services from Park Road Post Production, composition and recording services from The Sound Room, and travel assistance from the New Zealand Film Commission to attend the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.

Sanguma—Islands of Fear is a documentary film about one woman, Evelyn, and her mission to rescue innocent people accused of sorcery in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Sanguma is a Papua New Guinean word meaning black magic or sorcery.

Associate Professor Wolffram has been working in Papua New Guinea for 20 years and when he met Evelyn rescuing survivors of sorcery accusation related violence at great personal risk, he wanted to bring to light these horrors. “I found Evelyn doing this work with no resources and little support in 2018; I knew this story was going to be the most important I’d tell.”

“Winning best New Zealand Pitch at Doc Edge means that we’ve received tremendous support from the industry here in Aotearoa. Wherever co-producer Shu Run and I pitch this film, the reaction is one of overwhelming support for the film and the approach. Winning the pitch forum means that the industry will provide support to help complete the film to an international standard,” says Associate Professor Wolffram.

“An accolade like this is testament to the vision of what we hope to achieve—genuine and sincere collaboration with people who want to make a change,” adds co-producer, Master of Arts (Creative Practice) Film alumna and award-winning producer Shu Run Yap. “Sanguma and the impact campaign is an opportunity to help drive meaningful change and make the world a little better.”

The feature film is a part of an international impact campaign, and   the co-producers intend to produce a series of short films aimed at people in Papua New Guinea. The impact campaign aims to help bring an end to sorcery accusation related violence and gender-based violence in the Pacific.

The filmmakers hope to be able to travel to Papua New Guinea to complete their projects as soon as Covid-19 restrictions allow. If you would like to support the impact campaign, whether that be with expertise or financial backing, you can get involved by contacting:

Watch the feature trailer here:

Sanguma - Islands of Fear  -  Trailer from Paul Wolffram on Vimeo.