Anote's Ark

Anote's Ark
Director: Matthieu Rytz

Canada, 2018, documentary, 77 mins., English with Lithuanian subtitles, V

The low-lying Pacific nation of Kiribati faces a daunting challenge: imminent annihilation from sea-level rise. As Anote Tong, Kiribati’s President, races to find a way to protect his nation’s people and maintain their dignity, many iKiribati are already seeking safe harbor overseas. Set against the backdrop of international climate negotiations and the fight to recognize climate displacement as an urgent human rights issue, Anote’s personal struggle to save his nation is intertwined with the extraordinary fate of Sermary, a young mother of six, who decides to migrate her family to New Zealand. At stake are the survival of Sermary’s family, the iKiribati people, and 4,000 years of iKiribati culture; yet the story also serves as a cautionary tale for low-lying populations everywhere.

2018 Best Feature Award at the Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival
2018 Special Mention in the International Documentary competition section at Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival
2018 Sustainability Award at Thin Line, Texas

About the director

Matthieu Rytz is a producer, curator, photographer and director. A visual anthropologist by training, his passion for photography and ethnology has led him across the globe to photograph cultural and human diversity over the past ten years. His photographs, as well as those he has commissioned, have been exhibited internationally.

He strives to bear witness to complex human stories and focus especially on the relationship between Man and Nature. He specializes in photographic installation and is currently working on a multidisciplinary project using film, still images and virtual reality - whatever best serves the story.

He recently produced, filmed and directed his first feature film, Anote’s Ark, a documentary dealing with the realities of climate justice and migration. It premiered at Sundance 2018.

Matthieu Rytz was born in Switzerland and is now a digital nomad.

About President Anote Tong

Twice nominated for the Nobel Piece Prize, winner of Sunhak Peace Prize and 2012 Hillary Laureate, his Excellency Anote Tong is a world-renowned leader in the battles against climate change and for ocean conservation.

Throughout his three terms as a President of the Republic of Kiribati he was forced to confront an extraordinary challenge and a bleak, all-but-unthinkable future for his compatriots: Kiribati is, he believes, quickly disappearing beneath the waves due to climate change, and the entire population may need to resettle.

Nevertheless, despite and perhaps because of this vast and unenviable task, Tong was able to achieve a great deal during the 13 years he spent in office. Under his leadership, the government of Kiribati created the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, a 150000 square-miles UNESCO World Heritage site off limits to fishing and extractive industry. It is, he says, more than just a richly diverse gift to humanity from the people of Kiribati: it is intended to serve as an inspiration to the international community. Initiatives such as this one – typical of Tong's vision and his ability to balance political reality with humanitarian and ecological idealism – have earned him the Peter Benchley Ocean Award from the Blue Frontier Campaign.

He has also been awarded an honorary Doctorate in Engineering from the National Pukyong University in South Korea.

Section: Wide Angle

Screenplay: Matthieu Rytz

Dir. of Photography: Matthieu Rytz

Music: Patrick Watson

Producer: Bob Moore, Mila Aung-Thwin