Sun sets on $35,000 appeal to film vanishing Pacific island

‘Anote’s Ark’, a film about vulnerable Kiribati and its inspired president, has a week to meet its crowdfunding target

Anote Tong, President of Kiribati during the panel the topics Human Rights and climate change. 6 March 2015. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

Anote Tong, President of Kiribati at the UN in Geneva in 2015 (credit: UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré)

By Alex Pashley

Anote Tong, Kiribati’s genial leader, has toured UN summits to the North Pole to rally for urgent action on climate change.

His plea is louder than most. Rising seas threaten to engulf his low-lying nation of coral atolls and force the migration of his people within their lifetimes.

The outgoing president, 63, is now the subject of a forthcoming film ‘Anote’s Ark’ by Canadian director, Matthieu Rytz, to bring the island’s plight in a warming planet to a wider audience.

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Rytz, who for the New York Times has photographed indigenous Kuna islanders off the coast of Panama, said he became “obsessed” with the people of Kiribati on a visit in 2014.

“I felt both righteous anger at the injustice of the situation and a sense of powerlessness in the face of such an inevitable outcome,” he wrote on the Kickstarter website.

Launched during the Paris climate conference in December, the appeal has eight days to meet its full target of CAD$50,000 (US$35,252). It has raised half that, so far.

The cash will pay for a return trip to finish shooting, translation and editing, said Rytz, and be completed by mid-2016.

Though if it fails to meet the target – and receives nothing – it will still be made, but on a smaller budget, Rytz added.

“I’ve invested too much of my own time (and money!) to not see this through, so the film will get made, and will premiere in 2016, come hell or high water.


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