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Pacific Heartbeat Premieres tonight on World Channel!

Posted on April 20, 2020


--Films from Three Consecutive Seasons Are Streaming Now for Free, Providing Expanded Access to Pacific Stories During the Ongoing Stay At-Home Period--

(Honolulu) - Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) announced today an expanded line-up of films available for online streaming from its flagship public television series, Pacific Heartbeat. Films from the current and two previous seasons are now available to U.S. and Pacific audiences for free, via streaming video, for an extended period of time. The announcement coincides with the national broadcast premiere of Season Nine of Pacific Heartbeat on WORLD Channel, tonight at 8:00 pm (ET and PT).

“With three new documentary films and two encore presentations, Season Nine will connect audiences with Pacific Islander experience from Hawai’i to Samoa, Kiribati, to Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and beyond,” said PIC Managing Director and series producer Cheryl Hirasa. This year, we are especially mindful of the many people who are sheltering at home for an extended period, and so we have worked to renew the online availability of an expanded slate of films from our previous seasons.”

Pacific Heartbeat is presented through a partnership between Pacific Islanders in Communications and PBS Hawaiʻi, and is distributed by Boston-based American Public Television (APT) and broadcast nationally on WORLD Channel (distributed by APT in partnership with WGBH & WNET), in addition to hundreds of scheduled broadcasts on local PBS stations.

Now in its ninth consecutive season, Pacific Heartbeat is an anthology series that provides viewers a glimpse of the real Pacific—its people, cultures, languages, music, and contemporary issues. From revealing exposés to rousing musical performances, the series features a diverse array of programs that will draw viewers into the heart and soul of Pacific Island culture.

Films are selected each year from among numerous submissions, including projects funded by PIC with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts. 


Pacific Heartbeat Films Available for Streaming Now


Streaming begins right after the broadcast premiere of each film

Anote’s Ark - streaming 4/20/20 - 4/19/21
By Matthieu Rytz

The remote Pacific Island nation of Kiribati is one of the first countries in the world that must confront the effects of climate change. The imminent annihilation from sea-level rise is at their shores, and Kiribati’s President Anote Tong must find a way to save his people. Set against the backdrop of international climate and human rights negotiations, Tonga’s struggle for global action is intertwined with the intimate story of Sermary, a young mother of six migrating from Kiribati to New Zealand to escape the rising tides. At stake is the survival of Sermary’s family, the Kiribati people, and 4,000 years of Kiribati culture.

Power Meri - streaming 5/4/20 - 5/3/21
By Joanna Lester

Power Meri follows Papua New Guinea’s first national women’s rugby league team, the PNG Orchids, on their journey to the 2017 World Cup in Australia. These trailblazers must beat not only the sporting competition, but also intense sexism, a lack of funding, and national prejudice to reach their biggest stage yet. Proud, strong and hopeful, these women have overcome more challenges than most to take the field in their much-loved national sport. But after years playing at grassroots level with no coaches, funding or support, they have just three months to transform themselves into a competitive national team to take up an invitation to compete on the world stage.

Born This Way and The Rogers - streaming 6/8/20 - 6/7/21

Born This Way
By Mitchell Hawks

In New Zealand, Te Awarangi “Awa” Puna is an openly transgender Maori teen attending her final year at Kapiti College in Wellington, New Zealand. This documentary follows her journey from male to female as we see the support of her family and the hurdles she must overcome.

The Rogers
Double feature with Born This Way
By Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson

An intimate glimpse into the lives of those who formed the first visible group of transgender men in the Pacific Islands - The Rogers of Samoa - as they build an outside oven, seek romance, and prepare to perform a traditional men’s dance in public. While still facing many obstacles, their stories illustrate the power that comes when those rejected by society create their own community.

Streaming now until June 30, 2020

Prison Songs
By Kelrick Martin and Harry Bardwell

The people imprisoned in a Darwin jail are shown in a unique and completely new light in Australia’s first ever documentary musical. Incarcerated in tropical Northern Territory, over 800 inmates squeeze into the overcrowded spaces of Berrimah Prison. In an Australian first, the inmates share their feelings, faults and experiences in the most extraordinary way through song.

Leitis in Waiting
By Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson

Leitis in Waiting tells the story of Tonga’s evolving approach to gender fluidity through a character-driven portrait of the most prominent leiti (transgender) in the Kingdom, Joey Mataele, a devout Catholic of royal descent.  Over the course of an eventful year, Joey organizes a beauty pageant, mentors a young leiti who is rejected by her family, and attempts to work with fundamentalist Christians regarding Tonga’s anti-sodomy and cross-dressing laws.  Her story reveals what it means to be different in a deeply religious and conservative society, and what it takes to be accepted without giving up who you are.

Te Kuhane o te Tupuna
By Leonardo Pakarati and Paula Rossetti

This documentary film is a journey from Easter Island to London, in search of the lost Moai Hoa Haka Nanaia, a statue of significant cultural importance. It explores the social and political landscape of the island of Rapanui as the people attempt to claim back what is rightfully theirs: their land and a lava-rock image of tremendous presence, representing one of the world's most extraordinary cosmological views.

Corridor Four
By Stephen Tringali and Maria Bissell

A nationally recognized K9 Unit Officer, Isaac Ho‘opi‘i is responsible for saving numerous people from the Pentagon during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Countless articles were written about his heroism following 9/11. He was photographed by Richard Avedon for a spread in USA Today.  He appeared on NBC’s Today Show. And he ran the Olympic Torch on its way to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics. 

Corridor Four is a documentary that illustrates Isaac’s story in the aftermath of 9/11.  After all the news cameras had turned off and all the lights had dimmed, Isaac was left only with the horrific images he had seen and the memory of those he was unable to save.  His is a story not of a hero basking in the glory of his past deeds, but of a human being filled with regret that he couldn’t change something completely out of his control.


Let's Play Music: Slack Key with Cyril Pahinui and Friends
By Na‘alehu Anthony

Master slack key musician Cyril Pahinui, jams with some of the most revered and talented musicians in Hawai’i in intimate kanikapila style backyard performances.  Cyril was the son of Gabby “Pop” Pahinui, who is considered the Godfather of Hawaiian slack key guitar and whose music was featured prominently in the Academy Award winning film, The Descendants.


Streaming now until June 30, 2020


Poi E: The Story of Our Song
By Alexander Behse and Tearepa Kahi

A film about the unofficial national waiata (anthem) of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and the community spirit of Pātea and Dalvanius Prime.

POI E: The song behind our PRIDE is a story which brings to the screen, the life of Dalvanius Prime - a man who brought disco to Australia; the warmth of the Ngoi Pewhairangi, a community elder whose passion for indigenous Māori language; and the lives of the Pātea Māori club, a traditional Māori Kapahaka (dance) group comprised of freezing workers from the small town Pātea. When Dalvanius returns to Pātea, he not only comes face-to-face with the reality of a dying mother but also to a devastated community whose livelihood was on the brink when the Freezing Works were shut down. The lives of everyone in Pātea were up in the air as families struggled to make ends meet. Dalvanius did the only one thing he could to make ends meet - tour and sing in a time when being Māori meant you had to watch where you step. 

Being Bruno Banani
By Susann Wentzlaff and Jörg Junge

Being Bruno Banani tells the unique story of the first and only Tongan luger who qualified for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

After several days of trials in Tonga, the 21-year-old student, Fuahea Semi from the island of Eua was selected. No one could have foreseen it, but it was an inspirational choice, he was a real natural talent. Without any financial support from overseas partners, it would probably only be a short trip. Mathias Ihle from Makai Europe came up with the unique marketing strategy of changing the successful candidate's name to that of a sponsoring company - Bruno Banani.


About Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC):

Established in 1991, Pacific Islanders in Communications (PIC) is the only national public media organization that supports media content and its makers to work together to promote a deeper understanding of Pacific Islander history, culture and contemporary issues that define our communities. PIC addresses the need for media content that reflects America’s growing ethnic and cultural diversity by funding independently produced media, and by providing hundreds of hours of innovative media by and about Pacific Islanders to American public television including its flagship series Pacific Heartbeat. 


About American Public Television (APT):

American Public Television (APT) is the leading syndicator of high-quality, top-rated programming to the nation’s public television stations. APT distributes one-fourth of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles in the U.S. Founded in 1961, among its 250 new program titles per year, APT programs include prominent documentary anthology series such as Pacific Heartbeat and AfroPop, performance, news and current affairs programs, dramas, how-to programs, children’s series, and classic movies -- many of which are considered some of the most popular on public television. For the complete catalog, visit APTonline.org


About WORLD Channel:

WORLD Channel tells stories that humanize complex issues.  WORLD shares the best of public media in news, documentaries, and fact-based informational programming that helps us understand conflicts, movements and cultures that may be distinct from our own. WORLD's Emmy® Award-winning original content offers a national platform to makers examining issues too often ignored by mainstream media. These emerging and master filmmakers spotlight a diversity of voices, telling stories not heard elsewhere. Carried by 165 partner stations in markets representing almost 67% of US TV households, WORLD can also be experienced via WORLDChannel.org and social media platforms.


About PBS Hawaiʻi:

PBS Hawaii is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Hawaii’s sole member of the trusted PBS system. We advance learning and discovery through storytelling that profoundly touches people’s lives. We bring the world to Hawaii and Hawaii to the world.

PBSHawaii.org | facebook.com/pbshawaii | @pbshawaii


About the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA):

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.


About the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB):

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of nearly 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related online services. For more information, visit www.cpb.org and follow us on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and subscribe for email updates.



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