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Post-production   /  Thor F. Jensen


A world-first canoe voyage that redefined adventure and inspired a nation


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Thor F. Jensen

  • PRODUCER Dr Sophie Pascoe



Danish filmmaker Thor F. Jensen, under the apprenticeship of three Papua New Guinean master sailors, Justin John, Sanakoli John and Job Siyae, sets off from Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea on a world-first circumnavigation of the island of New Guinea in a traditional sailau (sailing canoe) called the Tawali Pasana. While Thor wants to tell a contemporary story of the island, the sailors wish to inspire new generations of sailors, but the team soon realise that the journey is much more difficult than first anticipated. Thor is forced to rethink his position on the canoe and the sailors have to adapt their traditional skills as they face the deadly North West Monsoon. Over the course of 13 months and 21 days and 6300 km – dodging trecherous reefs, witchcraft and crocodiles – the fellowship of the Tawali Pasana captures the imagination of the island. But to reach the finish line they must all make sacrifices.

Support this project

3.18% funded
  • $50,000.00

  • $1,590.00

  • 10

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Dianne Kilbride $100.00
Brett Craig $100.00
Kirsten Cadogan $20.00
Ross Brogan $100.00
Karen Morgan $20.00
Lloyd Babidge $50.00
Anonymous $50.00
Dorthe Olsen $50.00
Robert Goodfellow $100.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

In Papua New Guinea (PNG), 67% of the population is under the age of 35, making PNG one of the youngest populations in the world. After waves of colonization, dispossession and development, generational change in PNG means that traditional knowledge is at risk. This story of three master sailors undertaking a world-first circumnavigation inspires the youth of PNG to value their cultural heritage, respect their elders and dream big. For an international audience, this film redefines the adventure genre by foregrounding traditional knowledge and centering Indigenous lives, while challenging outdated stereotypes through earnest and nuanced storytelling.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

This documentary seeks to inspire young Papua New Guineans to value their traditional knowledge and the campaign activities will be used for educational programs in schools across the Pacific. Internationally, we aim to challenge outdated colonial stereotypes of the Pacific by telling a contemporary and positive story from the second biggest island in the world.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

In short term, this documentary aims to shift attitudes about the island of New Guinea internationally and increase awareness of our Pacific neighbours in Australia. In the medium term, we hope the film will connect people across the island of New Guinea to preserve traditional knowledge. In the long term, we aim to inspire the youth of New Guinea and through educational campaign activities to reduce youth crime, increase school attendance and improve literacy rates. This story of perseverance and resilience will become part of the contemporary narrative in Papua New Guinea and create a legacy for sailing in the Pacific.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

For audiences in the Pacific, this film will encourage people to value their traditional knowledge and to unite around contemporary stories of adventure, mateship and resilience. Through a broader educational campaign, students will learn about the story of the circumnavigation and be taught tools to reach their dreams. By collaborating with our Papua New Guinean stakeholders, we will develop a program to screen the film around the country and generate social change campaigns to provide opportunities for youth and education. By screening the film at festivals in Australia and promoting to international broadcasters and distributors, the film will be seen by a wider audience and contribute to movements to challenge colonial stereotypes of the Pacific.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

During this world-first circumnavigation, we established several partnerships with organizations in Papua New Guinea that will inform project development and social campaigns. We have established connections with the PNG Tourism Authority, Pacific Maritime Training College, the Massim Museum and the Kenu and Kundu Festival Association who can provide guidance and local context. In terms of financial and in-kind resources, we have sponsorship arrangements with Consort Shipping, Vanimo Surf Lodge and Tawali Resort. We have already received support from the PNG Ambassador to Europe and the Danish Embassy in Jakarta, which may be used to promote the film to diverse audiences. The sailors and their communities in Milne Bay will be central advisors throughout the process.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

After seeing the film, we hope that young Papua New Guineans will value their traditional knowledge and learn from their elders, so these practices can be preserved for future generations. School teachers are encouraged to download free educational materials and use the captivating story of the Tawali Pasana in their classroom. For an international audience, we hope to change the outdated perceptions of the Pacific region and call on people to support the sailors to undertake inspirational speaking tours through donations, purchasing the film, children’s book and hosting screenings.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

We will monitor and document the project’s success through quantitative indicators, including the number of screenings, film festivals, downloads and distribution of educational materials. We will also collect qualitative data including short video statements from audiences after they have watched the film, and engage with audiences at film screenings and on social media. We will collect written feedback from school teachers who have used the teaching material as well as student reviews. In the long-term, we hope to see an increase in youth practicing traditional cultural skills and will also monitor statistics on literacy and youth crime, as well as tourism in the region. We will provide stakeholders and partners with feedback from the project, including regular newsletters.