Voice of Change captures the life of 50-year old Bougainvillian nun, Sr. Lorraine Garasu, from the congregation of the Nazareth Sisters. The film tells the story of Sr Lorraine’s involvement in the Bougainville crisis, a 10-year civil war (1989 – 1999), that forced the closure of one of the world’s largest open cut copper mines and claimed thousands of lives. Seeing mothers and children suffer during the conflict, Sr. Lorraine led the women of Bougainville to fight for peace through continuous dialogue between the warring factions and peaceful protest.
After the crisis Sr. Lorraine built up the Nazarene Centre, a shelter built for women and children to seek refuge when in fear for their lives and a place where ex-combatants could go to receive trauma counselling and rebuild their lives again. With peace and normalcy now in Bougainville, today Sr. Lorraine continues her work with men, women, children and young people by helping them address issues that affect them at present.
Voice of Change is an important historical document that highlights the courage and leadership of Sr Lorraine and other women in bringing peace to the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. It encourages others to stand up for themselves and that if we work for what we believe in we can impact change.
Brief about the Director, Ms Llane Munau
Ms Llane Munau comes from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB). She hails from Pariro Village in South Bougainville and Kupe Village in Central Bougainville and is currently living and working in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province. Llane has a BA degree in Journalism from Divine Word University (Madang). From 2006 – 2009 she worked with the PNG Institute of Medical Research as the Media and Technical Officer assigned with the tasks of disseminating vital health information to communities where PNGIMR’s conduct its research. She did this by simplifying scientific information to understandable layman terms using forms of media such like short videos, animations and comprehensive material. Following her passion in film, Llane joined the National Film Institute of PNG from 2009-2014 as the Director of Photography. At the NFI Llane worked closely with the National Cultural Commission of PNG training grassroots on the basics of filmmaking. Whilst with the NFI, Llane has worked on 9 films with various organisations, either as, director, video editor, cameraperson or narrator. She recently joined the University of Goroka as the Public Relations and Marketing Officer. ‘Voice of Change’ is the first film, which she has directed whilst working with a set film crew. Llane is a self-taught filmmaker mentored by re-known documentary filmmaker, Mr Christopher Owen and by Dr Verena Thomas, Director of the Centre for Social and Creative Media.
As a Bougainvillian, Voice of Change is close to my heart. Sr. Lorraine Garasu is a household name in Bougainville because of her tireless fight for peace during the Bougainville conflict from 1989 – 1999. As a child growing up through the Bougainville crisis, I witnessed first hand the effects of the crisis. The killings, betrayals and struggles people had gone through and the disaster the civil war had brought on the people and the environment. The trauma that many Bougainvillians went through can still be seen and felt today. Now, 20 years after the Bougainville crisis, Sr. Lorraine Garasu is still working tirelessly in addressing problems that originated during the crisis era.
In ‘Voice of Change’ I wanted to highlight the Bougainville Crisis and the effect it had on peoples lives and the environment. Although the film is just 26 minutes and mainly about Sr. Lorraine’s life, I wanted to make sure my audience could feel the tremendous pressure Sr. Lorraine was going through in trying to bring peace back to Bougainville amidst the civil war. I also wanted ‘Voice of Change’ to be a historical documentation of what had happened 20 years ago on my island so the future generation could be reminded of what their forefathers endured and not repeat the same thing.
Through the whole pre-production and production of the film I learnt so many things from my mentor, Dr Verena Thomas, my crew, Bao Waiko and Dilen Doiki and my subject Sr. Lorraine Garasu. Sr. Lorraine’s charisma and zeal to make a change in her community and impact the life of individuals has challenged me to become a better person and especially a better Bougainville woman. I must never be quiet and watch passively when evil is practiced before my eyes but I have to stand up strong and courageous and speak up for righteousness to prevail.
Sr. Lorraine worked for what she believed and I want my film to encourage other young Bougainvillian and Papua New Guinean women to stand up and work towards what they believe in. Bougainville has a matriarchal society so I hope this film can also remind women in Bougainville that they are still the leaders of their land. If one person like Sr. Lorraine can impact the life of a whole island nation, imagine what 10 or 20 women can do.