Mundiya Kepanga, the voice of the forest
Format : Documentary unitary (90/52min)
Available versions: VF, VI, VAnglais
Directors : Marc Dozier and Luc Marescot
Year of production : 2017
Coproduction : ARTE France
Broadcasted on : ARTE France, Ushuaïa TV
Backing : CNC, Procirep-Angoa, Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Total, Musée de l’Homme, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle
Distribution : ZED
Mundiya Kepanga, a Papuan chief of the Huli tribe in Papua-New-Guinea, is a voice from the forest who speaks poetically, humorously and philosophically about nature and trees. By sharing with us his ancestors’ prophecy, he alerts us about the situation of his primary forest and the tragedy of deforestation. His message makes us question the future of Humankind by reminding us that we are all the brothers of the trees.
A Papuan chief of the Huli tribe in Papua-New-Guinea, Mundiya Kepanga is also a child of the forest, born on a carpet of leaves from a centuries-old ficus. In the first person and in the manner of a traditional story-teller, it is Mundiya himself who recounts his story and that of his primary forest, one of the planet’s last natural sanctuaries. In a poetic and touching way, he shares his love for the forest while also revealing the ravages of deforestation, which has drastically accelerated in his country over the past decade. In his role as an environmentalist he travels from his remote village in the Highlands of New Guinea all the way to major international gatherings: from a meeting in the French senate to colloquiums organized during the COP21 and to Unesco where he joins the actor and activist Robert Redford. By meeting with children in schools, French loggers in the forest of Les Landes and scientists specializing in the environment, the modest Papuan chief becomes an ambassador of the forest and a voice for indigenous peoples. Forgoing statistics and alarmist reports, Mundiya simply invites us to take another look at nature and the elements. Unaffectedly, he talks to butterflies, stuffed animals in a museum and even to his own regalia when the time has come to give it away. By donating his most precious headdress to the Musée de l’Homme, he bears a message destined to all people on this planet: his forest is a universal heritage, it produces the oxygen that we all breathe and we must protect it. His plea to protect all the primary forests in the world reminds us that we are, all of us, the brothers of the trees.