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Grassroots Democracy Documentary

Life in a remote village in Papua New Guinea, as a local villager campaigns for a seat in the national Parliament.

Synopsis

Grassroots Democracy follows the experiences of Harris who is campaigning in the national elections.

As a young man Harris was given an opportunity for education in Australia, and he has a dream to help his village, without losing the village culture and traditions.

His village is under threat with no storage for clean drinking water, gardens that are not sustaining the growing population and poor access to education and medical services.

So after graduating from Melbourne University he returns to his village in the East Sepik Province and begins his campaign.

However all does not go well as Harris must deal with the realities of life back in the village.

He struggles with malaria, a broken vehicle and the conflicting demands of village leaders as the container of equipment and campaign material from Australia fails to arrive in time.

Background

Harris met us only a few days before he returned to PNG and invited us to come to his village during his campaign.

In the coastal town of Wewak preparing our 3 hour drive to the village, AusAid representatives overseeing the election process advise us not to go as it is “too dangerous”; but as we load up our Jeep, with camera equipment and people wanting a lift we begin to experience the warmth and generosity of village life.

For over one month we are embraced by the village, the candidates and the general crowds as we assist transporting people to rallies and campaign meetings in villages.

It was such a privilege to experience and document this unique and special aspect of life in Papua New Guinea.

At this stage we didn't know that we would spend another 2 weeks in PNG filming Above and Beyond.

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