Into The Jungle - The MovieBy: Patricia Francisconi 374 Austria
This is a Documentary aimed to show the world an amazing country with an incredibly rich cultural heritage, stunning rain forests and a people that are often misunderstood. With this project I am to show that we can overcome all perceived cultural boundaries and differences to see what it is that makes us fellow humans, struggling to survive. Indigenous people, some often seen as "savages" or "cannibals" have shown me such kindness, hospitality, love and empathy that it makes me wonder what it is that makes us civilized. And I found it in the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea. These people, their livelihoods, their land and their rain forest with its stunning flora and fauna are under constant threat from impacts of mining, drilling and logging operations in the name of development and economic progress, without regard for the potential destruction this causes. I will exercise great care when shooting this film and be culturally sensitive in every regard possible. I will not infringe on peoples privacy or aim to show anybody featured in the footage in a negative light.
In September of 2011 I decided to travel through some of the worlds last frontiers. To a country that next to nothing is known about and where tourism is far from people's imagination.
It is a country full of wonder with one of the world's largest unexplored jungle regions and hundreds of tribes with over 850 languages.
Next to no infrastructure left me having to take a dingy 400 km into the heart of what can only be described as an untouched paradise, being left there and having to walk out 100 km with a heavy backpack, surviving on ants, maggots and the kindness of the local tribes people.
This is an adventure into the heart of Papua New Guinea.
The Vision behind this documentary series is to educate, to fascinate and to share unique experiences
made on a unique journey to one of the worlds last uncharted frontiers.
Papua New Guinea is a country that is full of wonders and an incredibly diverse society and peoples.
It is the birthplace of agriculture and the first gardens ever made by mankind, thousands of years ago.
Hundreds of tribes with cultures as diverse as if they were from entirely different worlds comprise a
society that speaks over 850 languages, many of which are in danger of being forgotten due to so-called
progress and exploitation often masked as development.
It is a country with next to no infrastructure, with poverty and undernourishment, where tribal warfare and violence in cities that barely existed 30 years ago is what little news reaches the outside world.
But it is also a country with an incredibly generous and hospitable people if one scratches beneath the
This project was dreamed into existence by Patricia Francisconi as a result of her first journey to PNG, with the aim to show the heart and soul of Papua New Guinea.
Without any prior arrangements she managed to make her way by plane, foot and dingy, into the heart of one of the worlds biggest undisturbed rain forest regions, where she stayed with different tribes, experienced hunger, fear and despair and walked a hundred kilometers through the bush in the shoes of
people who have to experience these and other hardships every day of their lives.
This is also an attempt to show that in the face of disbelief and lack of understanding from men and women alike, despite horror stories told by locals and ex-pats meant as discouragement, it is possible for
a woman travel on her own, without a male chaperon and protector, through an undeveloped and sometimes dangerous country to experience a real adventure that in the eyes of many only a man should have.
One of the goals of this documentary series is to show that a woman isn’t necessarily reckless or that her
sanity should be called into question if she desires to test her strength and resolve in a hostile and difficult environment. At the same time it aims to document tribal life in PNG from a female point of view
with a focus on womens roles, expectations, dreams, rights and limitations in Papua New Guinean society.
From the start it was imperative to keep any kind of documentary as authentic and close to a solo-trip as can be accomplished, while interfering as little as possible in the local people’s daily lives. For this reason it was decided to limit the production team to two members, with Patricia Francisconi leading
through the series, trying to recreate her experiences on a lone journey and using the connections from
her previous trip to assure village stays and gain insight into the day to day lives of men and women of
different tribes in Papua New Guinea. She will be responsible for directing, logistics and travel safety for everyone involved.
Nikolai Schmid will be traveling as the main camera man and will be responsible for cinematography,
sound and video editing.
The entire experience, including preparations and organization as well as the daily struggles with difficult
situations will be documented in a reality show style, to produce a documentary series containing of 6
episodes, giving the viewers a unique perspective on a travel experience very much off the beaten path
as well as document the different tribal cultures, landscapes and strange animals, such as tree kangaroos or poisonous snakes that might be encountered in the jungle.
Since this is a reality project, a detailed screenplay is impossible to provide but the series will follow a general script provided below. Every episode will focus on different aspects of PNG life, the challenges of traveling a country with next to no infrastructure and the hazards a sole female traveler will have to take into account.
The first episode/pilot will be showing the preparation process, struggles and intricacies of putting together a project of this magnitude, ending with the arrival in Port Moresby.
It will include a description of the possible dangers on this adventure, such as the challenging environment, tropical diseases and by far the most important factor, human beings.
The following episodes will begin with documenting the life in one of the worlds most dangerous and violent cities with the hope to show a different, gentler side of Moresby, as it is called by the locals. The
viewers will be able to take a look at the day to day lives of first generation tribal migrants in a very young nations capital.
From Port Moresby the journey will continue to the Highlands, famous for tribal clashes and indigenous lifestyles, to Goroka and its colorful Goroka Cultural Show.
Hundreds of tribes from all over the country gather to share their traditional rituals, songs, dances and
The colorful masks, feathered head gear, sing-sings will show a glimpse of the vast cultural heritage of this fascinating country and its incredibly diverse people.
The production team will be staying in the Asaro village to document regular tribal life as well as the preparations for this major cultural event.
The audience will learn how to grow Sak-Sak, Taro and Yams in the same region, human beings first developed farms and gardens 50 000 years ago.
After the Goroka Show the viewers will be able to take a look into the exciting lives and jobs of helicopter pilots in some of the most challenging terrains, with a chance to be a part of med-evac or rescue missions
and see the difficulties foreign have to overcome due to lack of infrastructure or conflicts with the local tribes.
From the capital of the West Highlands Province, the journey will continue along the infamous Highlands-
Highway, the one road in the country, towards Tari and Kiunga while getting to know the different tribes
and documenting their differences as well as similarities in culture, language and way of life.
The audience will experience nerve wrecking travel in the “Public Motor Vehicles”, VW minivans that make the only from of public transport, along a windy mountain road, the maintenance of which is left to a
corrupt government of a poor country.
The next stop will be Kiunga, a town solely developed for mining purposes and material transport. Its genuine “Wild West” flair, the roughness of life in the area and the close proximity to the Indonesian
border make it a breeding ground for the so-called “rascols” and other out laws.
The ecological and economic impacts of the Ok Tedi gold and copper mine and the pollution it caused in the area, have left a huge population with very few protein sources and the dry starch products from the Sago palm tree are the staple food of the area.
The next stop will be Lake Murray, one of the most remote and inaccessible areas in the countries where Patricia will be visiting the friends she made on her previous journey and reconnect with Colin, Jenna and their baby Maiti, who walked a hundred kilometers through the bush with her, just to show the way.
The viewers will see the awe in children’s eyes when they encounter their first foreigner and learn what
one can eat on the long marches through the bush to reach the next village. They will watch how Sago
is farmed and dugout canoes made, try to find the floating island learn how to avoid some of the worlds
From this untouched “Paradise”, the trip will lead back to Kiunga where a little Czesna airplane from Mission Aviation fellowship will take the team to a tiny airfield in the Highlands from which they will make their way on foot, through the bush, to the East Sepik province, known for its traditional lifestyles and excruciatingly painful initiation rituals of the “Crocodile People”.
Patricia will show the viewers how to set up a camp for the night in the jungle, how to avoid infections from water or small wounds in tropical climate and how to rely on the “Wantok System” for safe travel
and tribal hospitality.
Tree kangaroos, eagles, birds of paradise and cassowary are just some of the strange animals encountered in the PNG bush. In a region as unexplored as this, there is always the possibility of encountering an unknown species, like the recently discovered, “Worlds Smallest Frog”.
Patricia and Nikki will then attempt to travel down the Sepik river in a handmade dugout canoe or raft, to Wewak, where another small airplane will take them back to the Highlands to end the documentary in a refugee camp for people who have escaped the horror and atrocities they had to endure at the hands of the Indonesian military in the neighboring West Papua or Irian Jaya.
Their stories and struggles will hopefully raise awareness for persecuted tribal minorities all over the world.
The hope is to capture the unique experience of traveling through Papa New Guinea independently, relying solely on local transport and contacts and the so-called “Wantok” system, to fascinate the viewers
and reach a large audience through all types of media available.
Distinguishing Features and Merits
The documentary series offers a large entertainment value to a diverse viewer base.
Not only will there be a constant thread of excitement running through the entire series due to possible
dangers from wildlife, terrain or surroundings, but the protagonists reactions and emotions captured in
the moment will also draw the audience in and help them relate to and relive an amazing adventure.
This project offers insight into a country and its people that very little is known about and takes the viewers on a unique journey, at a time where the interest in traveling off the beaten path and survival
in hostile environments is at a strong rise.
Adventure TV-Shows have been steadily gaining popularity among a large audience but the one unique
point, this documentary brings to the table has not yet been attempted in this format by anyone.
A sole, female, gay adventurer, making her way into some of the most remote and hard to reach areas of
the world, trekking through dangerous terrain and dealing with unexpected situations. Seeing indigenous
tribes and their reactions to a foreign woman documenting their way of life will bring an entirely new perspective to the viewers and move the traditional documentary focus, we have all gotten accustomed
to, a little bit more towards women and their roles in indigenous societies.
This venture will not only include a fascinating and capturing reality-like series, it will be precluded by live updates on route, post production will be accompanied by a web page featuring free clips and trailers as well as large online presence on social media platforms.
In addition, photography exhibitions, submissions to film festivals and articles in magazines will help focus attention on the project.
The idea behind this endeavor is to fascinate, educate, excite and capture the audience while telling
an important story about an incredible country, the lives its people lead and the challenges they face, to
show that women don’t need to be afraid to be explorers and to help us understand the huge value of
protecting cultures and habitats, in a time where we can’t seem to stop and consider before taking what
feel entitled to in the name of economic progress.
16-08-2012 06:43 PM