"Killer Whale and Crocodile"The second Pacific Islands Film Festival: Cultural Forum Through Film starts today at the Doris Duke Theatre. “These films represent the state of documentary filmmaking in Oceania today,” says Vilsoni Hereniko, Director of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai’i, who organized the festival and is also a filmmaker—he directed the 2004 film “The Land Has Eyes.” Cultural Forum Through Film is sponsored by the Center for Pacific Island Studies, School of Pacific and Asian Studies, at the University of Hawai’i, and the Pacific Basin Institute, Pomona College. Thanks to them, all festival screenings are FREE. That’s a whole weekend of great films that are a window on what’s going on elsewhere in this big ocean we call home.

The festival kicks off with at 7:30 p.m. with the Hawai’i Premiere of “An Island Calling” directed by Annie Goldson. Her documentary looks at a tragedy in Fiji, telling the story of a prominent gay couple, John Scott and Greg Scrivener, who were murdered in their Suva home in 2001. The film won the Best Documentary and Achievement in Cinematography Award at the 2008 Qanta Film and Television Awards and the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Festival International du Film Documentaire Oceanien.

I’m especially looking forward to “Killer Whale and Crocodile,” pictured above, which takes viewers up Papua New Guinea’s Sepik River to observe the Iatmul tribe’s thriving carving culture. Screens Saturday at 7:30pm. See you there.

You can also find information on the festival at UH’s magazine Malamalama.