1hr 25min NR

Pasifika Routes Home: Short films from the diaspora 

Curated by Samantha Olvera (Taitano, Familian Queto)


Program Description: 

This selection of short films presents a glimpse into the multilayered organizing histories of two Pacific Islander communities in Southern California. In converging distinct moments of CHamoru and Samoan collectivism, we honor the resilience and indigenous knowledeways that NHPI communities have and continue to nurture within the diaspora and beyond.

To the Pasifika elders, artists, and cultural bearers doing the work everyday. Thank you for showing us the way.

“Nobody rules us, we rule ourselves.”


Ta Hasso I Manaina (2021) | 6 mins | Neil Tinkham, Kutturan CHamoru Foundation:

Like many organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kutturan Chamoru Foundation’s operations have been greatly reduced. To maintain its mission, KCF leaders will have members learn how to create an in-language chant and then have it published. However, in order to do this, members will have to meet online, in isolation, and learn how to work together apart.

Magellan Doesn’t Live Here (2017) | 22 mins | Mariquita Davis

Nearly 500 years after Europeans first arrived in Guam, Mario Borja, a Chamoru craftsman and amateur historian, reconstructs a lost history of our  people, that takes us from the British Naval archives to a Pacific crossing, which will bring his crew back to Guam in a hand built outrigger called a Sakman. 

The film is a parable about the resilient spirit that is at the heart of the survival of the CHamoru people and our culture. It is both biographical and experimental. Structured around this idea of trying to get Magellan on the phone, it introduces the question of how to traverse or translate between oral and literate culture or memory. The Sakman has been navigating between these two modes of history – disappearing from one, which is enacted and chanted – some fragment of it sustained in the other, as a drawing in an archive, and then through this intrepid group of craftsman, returning again to the lived form of cultural memory. 

This dynamic marks something of the shared experience of Pacific Islanders returning to their islands, both literally, for those of the diaspora finding their ways home by boat, or by plane, or in dreams, or across the internet, and metaphorically in the sense of returning to the strength of our traditions and our connection to the land and sea that define us. All of us face the anxiety of having lost something of this connection, and the uncertainties of finding our way as we return.

Samoan Americans in Carson, CA (2019) | 6 mins | Visual Communications

June Pouesi, director of the Office of Samoan Affairs, describes the waves of immigration from American Samoa that led to the development of the Samoan community. She also comments on VC’s photo documentation of work, cultural performances and youth activities.

Omai Fa’atasi: Samoa Mo Samoa (1978) | 33 mins | Visual Communications

Fakkai (2023) | 8 mins | Alf Bordallo

This project is about the indigenous CHamoru interpretation of time and its relationship to labor and community. Utilizing analog video, photography, and found-footage audio interviews, FÅKKAI recalls our fragmented history through distorted and repurposed media.