Creating filmmakers for ‘Cookiwood’


The Cook Islands is buzzing as film students prepare for the start of Film Raro in May.

Thirty-three students booked their place in Cook Islands film making history by becoming foundation students of the inaugural Film Raro Filmmakers Course 2013 in Rarotonga. <!--more-->The course began last week and is being run by the Cook Islands Ministry of Education in association with Film Raro Executive Stan Wolfgramm.


[caption id="attachment_4691" align="alignright" width="244"]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-4691" alt="Film Raro participant Georgina Williams learns camera skills" src="" width="244" height="200" /></a> Film Raro participant Georgina Williams learns camera skills[/caption]

The course is capacity building for the Film Raro – Filmmakers in Paradise challenge, which <b>Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest</b>’s New Zealand office has helped promote. The idea behind the Film Raro project is to create opportunities to market and profile the Cook Islands’ tourism potential globally while creating a filmmaking hub in the Pacific and initiate opportunities in Niue and Tokelau for locations.

The competition tasks professional film crews to create a short 10-15 minute film in 12 days in the Cook Islands, followed by a large public screening on May 25, 2013.

The draw card for the 12-week fledgling film course students is not just to make and produce films but to also work on the project as cast and crew. They will learn about scripts, readings, location, props and costumes and take tips from the professional filmmakers acting as mentors.

[caption id="attachment_4695" align="alignleft" width="255"]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-4695 " alt="Stan Wolfgramm works on scripts with participant Nana Hirata" src="" width="255" height="197" /></a> Stan Wolfgramm works on scripts with participant Nana Hirata[/caption]

The competition attracted 2000 entries worldwide and resulted in six lucky film makers being selected: Karin Williams, from Cook Islands, Hawaiian Erin Lau, Hollywood producers Webster and Robert Stone, UK Film maker Tajinder Hayer, Australians David Gould and Marcus Hamill.

MoE Programme Coordinator Michelle Williams said in the last 10 years, it was the first time that a course of this calibre has been conducted and “so far the response has been extremely positive” and student numbers still growing.

Film Executive Stan Wolfgramm says it is an original concept that tests the boundaries and is about capacity building, teaching locals about filmmaking. The class is made up of mothers, office workers, ex-artists and school students, to name just a few. Many have said, “I’ve never done anything like this before!”

The project has also prompted the National Women’s Association to work with a media organisation to create films around domestic violence.