TWO European filmmakers Guus Schuijl and Iggy Pacanowsk visited Solomon Islands last year to film a documentary about Ontong Java.

They were investigating how climate change is affecting the community on the atoll.

The filmmakers are now back in Europe and have released a trailer this week for the film which can be found on Facebook.

The Ontong Java atoll is situated 250 kilometers north of Isabel and is currently facing an existential crisis.

An exclusive photo shared by Guus Schuijl tells the story with thousands words of Ontong Java, a string of remote Pacific islands at the mercy of climate change.

Mr Schuijl told Island Sun the global rise in temperature is affecting marine life and the rising sea level is affecting the shoreline and food production on the atoll.

He said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts in its latest report that the sea level in the Western Pacific will rise at least one meter by the end of this century.

“This amount of sea level rise will have serious consequences for Ontong Java.

“This documentary is currently in production. We hope to visit the atoll again in 2020 and continue our mission to document the effects of climate change on Ontong Java. If you are interested in helping us to make this film, you can reach out to us on Facebook.

“Most people on the atoll live in the two villages on the atoll, Luangiua and Pelau. Most houses are situated between 0.5 and 1.5 metres above the sea level and would have to be relocated.

“It is so obvious climate change is destroying the islands of my home,” Wendy Amangongo said.

“We all know it. It is so disappointing that our government does not even have a proper plan to protect us.”

He said the documentary is also following an initiative by Geoffrey Alacky. He was born on Ontong Java and now works from Honiara on forming an alliance of vulnerable islands across our nation.

“We will meet in February 2020 to finalize the outlook of the constitution for the organization,” Alacky explains.

“This will leverage greater visibility and representation for those Islands affected by climate change in the country,” he said.

Schuijl said the IPCC also predicts that climate change will cause tropical cyclones to become less frequent, but they will increase in strength.

“These climate changes are increasing the risk of a humanitarian disaster on the atoll.”

The director of this documentary, Guus Schuijl, tells us about the cyclone that hit the islands in 2015.

“It hit during low tide, but large parts of the islands became inundated and many people lost their belongings.

“I am afraid of what could happen when a strong storm hits during high tide and with a sea level that is 1 meter higher.

“A group of Danish researchers has been monitoring the gardens on Ontong Java. These gardens used to be the prime source of food on the atoll.

“But a higher sea level and coastal erosion is introducing more salt to the soil. The researchers predict that it will not be possible anymore to grow any food in the gardens by 2050.”

Guus explains that he has no doubt that Ontong Java is facing incredible challenges and it is important that we act now.

He said the culture of these people will be forever lost if we do not secure a place for them to live.

The trailer of the documentary can be watched for free on their Facebook page, also named ‘Ontong Java’. The full film will be finished by the end of this year.

“Ontong Java (2020) is a feature-length documentary about a community living under existential threat of climate change in one of the most isolated places of the Pacific Ocean.

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