Losing Paradise…Geelong Filmmakers Journey to Kiribati

Joel Carnegie and Caleb Plumridge

Broadcaster Joel Carnegie and Filmmaker Caleb Plumridge want you to know about Kiribati before it disappears.

Losing Paradise, a project the Geelong-based media producers have been working on for some time, will depict the uncertainty and possibility this island nation in the Pacific will no longer exist due to climate change.

The pair will leave Geelong for the Pacific shores of Kiribati to document their story next month.

Carnegie, a documentary maker at Space Company, said the project was an opportunity to raise awareness of the changes happening to the environment, and their response as humans to use their skills and experience to offer some vehicle to explore this issue and counteract some of the alternative facts and views.

“I’m also particularly interested in the impact of climate change on people and how we are inadvertently changing and affecting the planet, and how that impacts communities and cultures,” he told Dscribe.

Rising sea levels driven by oceans expanding as they warm and melt ice sheets and glaciers has impacted Kiribati and almost all aspects of life for its people.

The majority of its 33 coral atolls are less than six metres above sea level and satellite data indicate that it will continue to rise.

The Kiribati government spent more than $8 million in 2014 to purchase land in Fiji to relocate some of the inhabitants who are grappling with significant rupture to their lives, experiences and identities.

Joel Carnegie and Caleb Plumridge

Escape Shift filmmaker Plumridge said his collaboration with Carnegie to produce this documentary was inspired by his interest to convey a meaningful story on climate change and their role to make it real to an audience.

“As a neighbour to these Pacific island nations, it’s our responsibility in Australia to pay attention to what is going on in the region. Kiribati doesn’t make the headlines too often so we feel it’s our responsibility to do something”, he said.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit last year that over the next four years, Australia would provide $300 million to Pacific island countries including $75 million for disaster preparedness.

“There is no more pressing need in the region than to help manage climate change and improve disaster resilience,” he told Pacific leaders.

Despite the research and planning Carnegie and Plumridge have done to prepare for their venture, they said the beauty of producing documentaries is the story won’t truly unfold until they get on the ground, which they’re both comfortable with.

“I’m always completely in control of the process so this project is a real shift of mind and letting go which so far has been a real positive experience and we haven’t even left Australia yet,” Plumridge said.

A release date has yet to be announced as the production needs time, focus and content to attract the attention it deserves on this global issue.




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