A community living under existential threat of climate change in one of the most isolated places on our planet.

Type

Documentary

Length

90 min

What for

Theatrical/
Streaming

Current status

Production

Ontong Java (2020)


The Ontong Java atoll, isolated from the rest of the world, remains an enclave untouched by modernity. Tribally governed and pristine, these undocumented islands are presented through the eyes of filmmaker Guus Schuijl and the close friendships he develops with the inhabitants. We discover a world filled with rich cultural traditions that have developed over 2000 years. These customs and values are the cornerstone of the Ontong Javan identity.

As our explorations of this culture continue, a silent tragedy begins to unfold. Over the years, our friends have witnessed the rising sea slowly submerging their islands. Many houses have washed away and harvests have waned. The food production is in ravenous decline while the population continues to grow. Realizing the finite nature of their hidden paradise, the villagers’ anxieties swell as they contemplate their futures.

The only way these islanders are currently managing survival is with the support of their families on the mainland. One quarter of the community has already relocated to a dirty, disease-ridden, and overcrowded settlement in the capital city. The Ontong Javans struggle to adjust to their new life in the city, but with their atoll disappearing, they will have to find a way to adapt to this foreign world.

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More information can be found on the website: http://www.ontongjava.com.