And God Created Fiji For Filmmakers...

Hannah Bergin

The relationship between Fiji and Hollywood is a mutually beneficial one – the world’s most eminent film industry has helped to bring a great deal of publicity to Fiji’s remote archipelago, where investment is welcomed. In return, Fiji provides a breathtakingly beautiful backdrop in the form of a postcard-perfect tropical paradise. Shimmering waters, immaculate palm-fringed beaches, and an azure cloud-wisped sky make for a dramatic, romantic, and awe-inspiring setting for both blockbuster features and art-house films.

Cast Away (2000)

Tom Hanks’ heart-wrenching performance as Chuck Noland, the sole survivor of a plane crash in the South Pacific, earned him a much-deserved Academy Award nomination. For four remarkable years, Chuck survives off the island’s natural resources – but his survival comes at the cost of his physical and mental health. Until he is rescued by a passing cargo ship, his existence on the deserted island is a strenuous and unbearably lonely one. An incredible story of man versus nature, Cast Away demonstrates how the natural elements can be beautiful and generous, yet also cruel and dangerous.

The Blue Lagoon (1980)

The Land Has Eyes (2004)

Vilsoni Hereniko wrote and directed Fiji’s first (and as of yet only) feature film. The Land Has Eyes tells the story of Viki, a young girl seeking to recover her family’s reputation after her father is wrongly accused of a robbery. Along with the majority of the cast and crew, Hereniko was born and raised on the Fijian island of Rotuma, and his movie offers a raw, untainted, and sincere portrayal of island life and culture – all too often misinterpreted by the rest of the world.

His Majesty O’Keefe (1954)

The real-life story of Irish sailor David O’Keefe reads as if it were written for a Hollywood adventure movie – which it became in 1954. While sailing the South Pacific, O’Keefe became shipwrecked on the island of Yap, where the natives dealt in the currency of rai-stones. The sailor made his fortune by employing modern tools, which greatly facilitated the production of these magnificent stones, otherwise strenuously carved from limestone formations. O’Keefe subsequently lived like a king on the Micronesian islands he acquired. Despite having taken place on the Caroline Islands, the film adaptation of O’Keefe’s story mwas shot in Fiji.

Boot Camp (2008)

Boot Camp, which was released in the UK as Punishment, is a psychological thriller starring Mila Kunis. A group of misfit teenagers are sent by their parents to a rehabilitation camp on a remote Fijian island where they are subject to abuse and brainwashing at the hands of the program’s leaders. The harrowing film is all the more distressing given that it is based on real-life camps where dozens of deaths have occurred – the increased awareness of which was the director’s objective.

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