THE FILM ARCHIVE
Although he started the film with the detached perspective of a cultural researcher, he eventually found himself at the centre of a deadly series of events.
Wolffram went to Papua New Guinea to document the music, dance and cultural rituals of the Lak. He was able to do this with great success.
Harvard University anthropologist Michael Jackson noted of the film: “I know of no more successful or ingenious film that draws the viewer into another life-world while keeping faith with the tenor of its traditional narratives and respecting the lived experience of his/her interlocutors.”
However, Wolffram got more than he bargained for. Over the course of his research he uncovered dark secrets looming in the Lak people's history.
When a man goes missing from the village in which Wolffram is filming, the villagers attribute his disappearance to a giant man who lives in the bush, known in local mythology as Song.
Soon Wolffram finds himself questioning the divide between rationality and mysticism.
Filming in New Ireland was challenging. “It was very difficult to film in because it's a rain forest, and it's very wet,” Wolffram said.
“The area I was filming in was particularly difficult to get in and out of, so I had to carry most of the equipment in on my back, on dirt paths, through the bush. All of my equipment had to be recharged via solar panel.”
Wolffram has an ongoing personal commitment to the Lak people. He gives them half of the royalties collected from screenings of his films and makes regular return visits to PNG.
Stori Tumbuna screened at the 2011 Jean Rouch International Film Festival in Paris, and received the Jean Rouch prize from the San Francisco based Society for Visual Anthropology in 2012.