Tuesday, 18th September 2018
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This series of documentaries charted the experiences that Will Millard had with the Korrowai tribe in remote Papua New Guinea. It was Will's plan to see how one of the last hunter gatherer tribes on the planet worked and how it was experiencing the inroads of the modern world. In the first number of documentaries Will spent most of his time with two elderly men called Huap and Halal who lived deep in the jungle. Most of Will's days were spent following the two men around as they went about their daily business. In the main the two of them lived on their own but when Will arrived a nephew, called August, and his family came to live with them so it gave Will a wider context in which to view how the tribe lived.

Needless to say that life was very hard for everyone involved, food was scarce and there was no such thing as a doctor nearby or even medical supplies so if you got sick you just had to grin and bear it and hoped that you pulled through. It appeared that Will got on well with everyone that he came in contact with. Even though he had a translator with him he himself spoke a fair bit of their language and even though he was finding the experience hard physically he bore it with a great deal of good humour and grace. However that was not to last and in the final part of the documentary everything quite literally went off the rails. It is quite usual in documentaries of this kind that the people involved are paid for their time, including those that are being filmed, not just the porters and all the other ancillary staff. But August had a big problem with Will.

He kept on asking for more and more money and was majorly put out that he wasn't getting enough even though as soon as he got money he spent it.

August lived mainly in a Government constructed village where most of the Korrowai now live and getting your hands on money is difficult especially in a cash economy where people wanted the latest modern devices even if they couldn't use them. For example August had a mobile phone even though there was no electricity in the village.

August's latest request was the money so he could buy a boat that he could use to generate an income for himself and his family. Will was astounded by this and didn't even have the amount on him, roughly £600. The two had a terse argument and Will left after handing over the money that had been originally agreed on. The big problem was that Will had already decided that he would be making one more visit to the village and the jungle to see Huap and Halal and that is when the major problems started.

To say that August went ballistic is putting things mildly, he made a huge show of pretending to attack Will with a bow and arrow as well as throwing the groups belongings all over the place. The bigger problem became apparent when the rest of the village decided to back August and his demands and said that the group would not be able to leave the village if they didn't hand over the money that August was demanding. It later became known that the villagers would be given part of the money that August was demanding.

In the end there was nothing that could be done other than to hand over a huge sum of money that amounted to £1500.

Significantly less than the amount that August was looking for but a lot more than the amount he had asked for on the previous trip.

Afterwards Will tried to rationalize it all talking about how these people were living in a place where they had no chance of making money and tried to make the most of any opportunity where they could find it. But still there was no disguising the bitterness in his voice especially over the actions of someone who he had come to think of as a friend.

As part of the agreement that was reached with the villagers Will was allowed to travel with just one person to go and visit Huap and Halal in the jungle. It was here that you truly felt that Will, especially given what had happened, felt most at home. He visited with the two men, giving Halal much needed medicine, for a day and then went and rejoined the rest of his group. No matter how great the experience that he had it would always be tempered by what happened with August at the end of his visit. This was an interesting piece of documentary making and especially given the way that a lot of what was done was in front of the camera and not out of view.

Most of the time you don't see the mechanics of how documentaries are made, the money handed over to various people and the deals struck for access, but in this documentary you did and it was all the better for it. There is no doubt that Will Millard had good intentions in trying to make his documentary but even though things didn't pan out exactly as he might have though it was a salutary lesson on how even the best intentioned of people can get caught up in bad circumstances.

Vladimir and Anton are Slovakian sibling musicians with a shared rare gift – mastery of the classical violin.

Following the great success of touring with 'Russian' repertoire across Ireland and UK, Vladimir & Anton are back with their new show. This time focusing on the melodies that we all know and grew up with. Hear simplicity and beauty of songs like Que Sera Sera, Danny Boy, Tarantella Napoletana or Roll Out the Barrel re-composed to Vladimir & Anton's classical virtuosic style.

"The Nigel Kennedys of their nation" Evening Standard

Show starts @ 8 p.m. Tickets: 23/€21eu concession available from the Box Office/Tel: 051-874402 or http://www.theatreroyal.ie


Letters to the Editor

  • A Wonderful Harvest

    Even though the weather Gods didn’t exactly play ball over the weekend it doesn’t take away from the fact that this years Waterford Harvest Festival was yet again another wonderful success. It was great to see the streets of the centre of the city so beautifully and thoughtfully decked out. The various food stalls offering tastes from all over were great to wander around. The information and background that each of the stall holders were able to give on the provenance of their food was really interesting an …

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