While at Film School, Susi spent quite a lot of time in Papua New Guinea. First, she took time out to make a health education film for the PNG government; agricultural plant and animal health, rather than human. (‘Development’ was bringing growth of settlements, more intensive farming and even new species; aggressive colonisation of West Papua by Indonesia wasn’t helping. But disease being caused by infection – rather than by evil or mischief – was a new concept to local audiences.) Specially toughened 16mm film prints were made in Tok Pisin (‘pidgin’) and Hiri Motu language versions, for outreach screenings in rural areas.
Susi returned to make her graduation film, about a ‘development’ project in this rapidly changing country. The 2 main characters, an English volunteer and a farmer from the central Highlands, explain their different versions of capitalism to the camera, though never to each other…
The Carrot and the Stick was edited over a 2-year period and then shown at Edinburgh, Cork and RAI film festivals.
Meanwhile Susi had taken another year out to make ‘Breaking the Bush‘ with a PNG video crew, to share people’s stories of what can happen when a logging company visits your village with promises.
This was made for local audiences and in Tok Pisin (the original title ‘Brukim Bus’ has a double meaning). It was shown on the new television station EmTV, but we also distributed hundreds of VHS copies around the country – and were delighted when pirate copies started appearing.