CANBERRA - If you haven’t already watched the film, ‘Aliko and Ambai’, I strongly suggest you do.
It was first screened in November last year, produced by the Centre for Social and Creative Media at the University of Goroka as the product of a PACMAS innovation grant.
It is a true Papua New Guinean film and it has everyday PNG in it: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
You’ll appreciate the beautiful footage of our country and realise how easy it is to make friends there.
You’ll see images of contemporary PNG.
The drunkards singing until daybreak (so disturbing, no respect for neighbours).
The husband who assaults (‘quite normal, it’s a family problem’).
The young girls who don’t do well in school (‘what a waste of school fees’).
The teenagers experimenting with drugs and alcohol (‘what’s wrong with them, can’t they see they’re ruining their lives?’).
‘Aliko and Ambai’ explores these themes and much more. And, if you watch it again, you’ll find it also has solutions. It’s a film about courage, friendship and the pursuit of happiness.
I watch this film regularly for personal reasons. My dear friend Lilly Samuel was in that film. She worked as the production accountant and as a secondary actor.
Lilly passed away late last year.
Like so many young Papua New Guinean women, Lilly was a single mother. She was a good worker too. One of those ‘behind-the-scenes’ people who are always there - on set, in the office, checking on payments, following up orders, catering, running errands…. Just always available and ready to help. And always cheerful, always smiling.
The film is in loving memory of her, for in ‘Aliko and Ambai’ a bit of Lilly Samuel is immortalised. This is my tribute to her.
Remember the times we’d walk down the UoG campus hill
and ‘x’ which houses we liked
Or the one time I attempted to drive Martin’s car up the hill
it jerked a bit and you said, ‘Come on Terri!’
Or remember that time
after they put new big IMac monitors in the edit suite
we’d go in when no one was around and take crazy selfies
Of course, we’d save it all on our memory sticks
before deleting everything.
Countless trips to the market, town runs, bank runs
coffee break stories
Why do I have to remember these times, Lilly?
I recall the first time I met you at Raun Raun theatre
You gave me a bright smile
Since then you’ve always treated me special
You always gave me a hug when I arrived in the morning
and multiple times throughout the day
You were good like that, good at showing love.
You called me ‘Doctor’ even before I started this PhD journey
The plans we used to make for post-PhD
I will not execute, not without you
‘cause they were our plans.
What is that?
Death stole you
I’m mad at Life for not keeping you safe
It was not your time
Rest in peace, my Lilly
Theresa, who worked briefly on ‘Aliko and Ambai’ as producer's assistant before moving to Canberra for studies will represent the film when it screens in Canberra for the first time next month