Wednesday 22 June 2011


“There are still places unknown…”

Screening in 2011 New Zealand International Film Festival a remarkable story about a young Wellingtonian who travelled to the remote rain forests of Papua New Guinea where he discovered an indigenous community with a dark secret.

Paul Wolffram lived off the map for two years with a community beyond roads, with no power or running water. Using solar panels to charge his camera equipment he set out to film the ritual practices of the people but ended up recording an incredible tale of murder.

Living among the Lak people of Papua New Guinea, Paul came to witness an implausible series of events that resulted in bloodshed and death, what’s more, he was held responsible. As his relationships with the people grew he was able to glimpse a hidden reality, a dark and menacing history that loomed over the community. Over time the sense that something is amiss grows. His deepening curiosity brings to light dark secrets that set in motion a compelling and deadly set of events.

“I know of no more successful or ingenious film that draws the viewer into another world while keeping faith with the tenor of its traditional narratives”

 Michael Jackson. Anthropologist, Harvard University.

About the Film Maker

 Paul lives in Wellington with his wife and two children. Over the past ten years working with Melanesian people in Papua New Guinea Paul has contracted malaria six times, been bitten by a snake, cashed by several wild pigs, and collected a number of skin funguses.

Paul has worked with a number of Pacific communities creating documentaries on subjects and stories that are important to the people he works with. He has worked with the Banaban people, a displaced Micronesian culture now relocated to the Fijian Islands, the Tokelauan community, on a film about traditional women’s arts, and with the Deaf community in New Zealand. Paul’s films have been screened internationally and his ethnographic film work in the Pacific is currently playing in several international film festivals.

Paul received his PhD in music from Victoria University of Wellington where he now teaches in the Film Programme. His production company focuses on producing disability resources. Paul has directed a number of films and resources on New Zealand Sign Language including “Sign with your Baby”, “Sign of the Times: The Story of New Zealand’s Visual Language” and the “United Nations Convention on the Right of Disabled People translated into New Zealand Sign Language”. Paul’s wife Victoria Manning is profoundly deaf and a leader in the New Zealand Deaf community.

“Stori Tumbuna: Ancestors’ Tales” is the second film in a trilogy of ethnographic documentaries about the island region of Papua New Guinea. All three films are being released in 2011. Paul travelled back to the Lak region in southern New Ireland last year to show his host communities a preview of the films and to gain approval for the films from his friends and adopted family.

If you would like to see a preview copy of “Stori Tumbuan: Ancestors’ Tales” please email:


Phone: 04 463 6823

Cell: 021 2340814


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