In the first documentary about the indigenous people of Misima Island, located off the mainland of Papua New Guinea, Misima explores what happens when our lives escape our control, and how we can rediscover our resilience by rejecting defeat.

In 1985, an open-pit gold mine began operations on the remote island, which spurred dramatic changes in the lives of Misimans. Village men’s unexpected and unequal access to employment and new cash had profound effects throughout the island. Marriages and families buckled under the culture shift, neighboring clans fought over royalty payments and land rights, and villagers adopted Western ideas of industrialization, employment, and consumerism.

In traditional culture, women are expected to defer to men, are not invited into public or political spaces, and are valued primarily for their domestic responsibilities. So today, many years after the mine ceased operations, the long-term social impacts are still widely felt, especially in the lives of village women. Misima paints an intimate portrait of one of these women, Nevenak, whose marriage fell apart because her husband followed the allure of money and cheap thrills of the Western mine workers’ lifestyle.

When her ex-husband unilaterally moves their teenage daughter to live with relatives on another island, Nevenak's control over her single life as a mother slips again. A local land dispute with a rival clan threatens her access to the land she uses for subsistence farming, and Nevenak's life unravels even further. One day, she has an epiphany and refuses to remain a passive actor in her story. She becomes determined to secure her daughter’s future by winning their matrilineal land rights herself.

Without role models, Nevenak journeys into uncharted territory as a female clan leader. She bravely breaks cultural taboos by beginning to defend her land rights in public. She struggles to maintain her mountain garden all by herself. She spends her evenings writing tragically heartfelt letters to her displaced daughter across the sea.

Her world was turned upside down by a massive gold mine operation and the corrosive effects of Westernization, but Nevenak's resilience will inspire audiences across the globe. One village woman, attempting to regain control over her destiny, reflects a central aspect of what it means for all women to live in the modern world.



Which means, "My heart to you" in the spoken language of Panamisima





TOTAL GOAL $49,739

Proud recipients of the Canon USA, Inc sponsorship & fiscally sponsored by IDA a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization




THE Research is Supported by

The National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation

The Social Science Research Council

The Social Science Research Council

The Wenner-Gren Foundation

The Wenner-Gren Foundation

The University of California Regents

The University of California Regents


There is a need within anthropology to better understand the long term effects that extractive industries have on isolated cultures. The ethnographic research behind the documentary Misima is funded by these organizations.

These funds are strictly for the research.




Get access to Behind The Scenes videos and exclusive Story Vignettes from director Bryan Pitcher.







Writer & Director Bryan Pitcher (Misima Documentary)
"Lets give Misimans the chance to tell their story." —Bryan Pitcher

Bryan edited, and associate-produced, the feature documentary, Conversations With Nickle, which won Best Feature Documentary Award (Sedona Intl. FF) and was picked up by HBO. He associate-produced Faye Dunaway's directorial debut short film, The Yellow Bird, based on Tennessee Williams' play, which made its world premier at Cannes. He associate-produced and was a consulting editor for the international award-winning short film, The Bake Shop Ghost, based on the award-winning children's book by Jacqueline Ogburn. After directing and editing Scott Grimes' (American Dad!, The Orville, ER) music video for his top 20 contemporary hit Sunset Blvd, Bryan looks ahead to directing his first feature documentary, Misima.

Bryan graduated at the top of his class from The Los Angeles Film School (Hollywood), where he produced, wrote, and directed three 35mm student shorts. His third, The Purple Flowers, starring Ashley Johnson (The Help, Growing Pains) was fiscally sponsored by the American Cancer Society and was screened in United Artist Theaters in San Fernando Valley to promote cancer awareness. After graduation, Bryan was one of two people selected to study screenwriting at Columbia University’s Graduate Film Program (New York) for a one-off, two-semester exchange program.



Content Advisor Jordan Haug (Misima Documentary)
"The world needs to know their story." —Jordan Haug

When he was 12 years old, Jordan discovered his love for anthropology by checking out a copy of Margaret Mead's Growing Up in New Guinea from a local library in Tokyo, Japan. Having caught the anthropology bug at a young age, he decided to devote his life to understanding different cultures. This led him to seek a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology at the University of California - San Diego. For his dissertation, he conducted 20 months of ethnographic research on the island of Misima, Papua New Guinea (from 2015 to 2016). This included learning the local vernacular and utilizing the typical anthropological methods of participant observation of daily Misiman life. In 2004 a large industrial open-pit gold mine closed on Misima, leaving the island as the site of the first planned closure in Papua New Guinea. Jordan's research on Misima concerns how people hope for greater social equality in times of dramatic deindustrialization and geopolitical decline. In a country heavily dependent on the mineral extraction economy, Misima provides an important case study on the long-term social impacts of industrial development in the region, as well as the moral and political struggles that local people face in the wake of such developments.



Editorial Advisor Maysie Hoy A.C.E. (Misima Documentary)
"It has the potential to be far reaching." —Maysie Hoy A.C.E.

Maysie began her theater training in her hometown of Vancouver, Canada. Her troupe performed and taught Viola Spolin’s theater games in schools and correctional institutions. During this time she was cast in Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller. When the movie was over she left for Los Angeles and for the next eight years she learned the art of filmmaking by working for Altman in research, costume, and production design. It was on Altman’s Buffalo Bill and the Indians that she landed a job as an apprentice. There she discovered her passion for film editing. She moved up quickly to a film assistant. Later, she worked as a film and sound assistant on many Altman films and on projects that he produced with directors Alan Rudolph and Robert Benton.

Maysie’s editing credits include: Spare Parts, Tyler Perry’s: The Single Moms Club, Madea’s Christmas, Madea Witness Protection, Temptation, Madea’s Big Happy Family, For Colored Girls, I Can Do Bad All By Myself, Madea Goes to Jail, Meet the Browns, and Daddy’s Little Girls. Additionally, she edited The Joy Luck Club, The Player (co-edited), Smoke, What Dreams May Come (shared credit), Freedom Song, Crazy In Alabama, Love Jones, and Freeway. Maysie is an alumna of the American Film Institute’s Directing Women’s Workshop. She is on the Board of Directors in both the Motion Picture Editors Guild and American Cinema Editors. She has been featured with thirty accomplished craftswomen in a book called Great Women in Films.



Music Composer Russ Howard (Misima Documentary)
"I need to compose a score for this one." —Russ Howard

Russ is a film and music composer based in Los Angeles. He grew up in the wilds of Southern Oregon on a small farm. Between milking goats and bailing hay, Russ studied the mysterious arts of classical piano and punk guitar. After studying formally at the Berklee College of Music, he moved to LA and put up his shingle as a composer for hire. During the early years, he worked side by side doing production work and support writing with many of Hollywood's greatest composers, including Oscar winner Mychael Danna (Life of PI, Capote, Little Miss Sunshine). He has scored dozens of features (Hobo With a Shotgun, Family Weekend, Naughty or Nice), television episodes (Dollhouse, Teen Wolf, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Burn Notice), video games (Monsters vs. Aliens, Slims 3, Army of Two), short films, and ads. Russ' clients have included Sony, WB Games, Best Buy, and Verizon. His music has been heard on every major network and at film festivals around the world, including Sundance, SXSW, and Cannes.



Executive Producer Lorette Bayle (Misima Documentary)
"Bryan, films like this one need to be made." —Lorette Bayle

Lorette Bayle is an award-winning filmmaker who first produced and edited documentaries and PBS programs before directing short films. She studied Broadcast Journalism at Brigham Young University and Film Directing at the California Institute of The Arts (CalArts). She has worked for the Sundance Institute and has assisted the producers at American Zoetrope. After CalArts, she worked for FIND on Project/Involve and then for Kodak Motion Picture Film, first running their education programs then working with independent feature filmmakers. As Kodak’s Studio Features Account Manager, Lorette worked directly with production executives at the major studios including Universal, Sony, Disney, MGM, DreamWorks, Lionsgate, and LucasFilm.

Bayle just completed Scarlett-Angelina, as part of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women where she was one of eight women directors chosen for this workshop (2017). Her last short, The Bake Shop Ghost, starring two-time Emmy® winner Kathryn Joosten and Marianne Jean-Baptiste, screened all over the world, winning over a dozen awards for best short film. It premiered in the opening night showcase of the Seattle International Film Festival and the Rhode Island International Film Festival, where it was awarded the Audience Choice Award. Also honored with the Best of the Fest Audience Award at Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films. 



Project Advisor Carolyn Pfeiffer (Misima Documentary)
"Yes, count me in!" —Carolyn Pfeiffer

Carolyn first worked in Rome as Claudia Cardinale's assistant on films including Fellini's , Visconti's The Leopard, and Blake Edwards's The Pink Panther. She then moved to London and started her own public relations company. Her numerous clients included Robert Redford, Barbara Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Francois Truffaut, Robert Altman, The Beatles's company, Apple Corps, Ltd., and Paul McCartney. Moving to Los Angeles, Carolyn formed Alive Films with Shep Gordon. They produced Roadie starring Meatloaf and Return Engagement, a feature documentary about the Timothy Leary & G. Gordon Liddy debates (Alan Rudolph directed both films). Carolyn then joined Chris Blackwell to form Island Alive, a groundbreaking independent production and distribution company that produced and/or released a number of films, including Kiss of the Spider Woman that won the Palm d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival as well as an Academy Award for William Hurt.

Later, as co-chair of Alive Films, Carolyn produced a series of films for the company, including Trouble In Mind and The Moderns (both directed by Alan Rudolph), A Time of Destiny, The Whales of August, Grand Isle, Far North, and Silent Tongue. Alive Films also released a number of films, including the French sensation Betty Blue (an Academy Award nominee) and Maximilian Shell's Marlene (also an Academy Award nominee). Carolyn now resides in Marfa, Texas where she continues her work as producer. She just recently executive produced Far Marfa and the documentary Children of Giant for PBS. She is also producing Django Lives! starring Franco Nero. Carolyn is an active member of the Academy, the former president of IFP West, and was awarded the Pioneer Award by the Lone Star Film Festival in Fort Worth.



Project Advisor Amedeo D'Adamo (Misima Documentary)
"Glad to help in any way that I can." —Amedeo D'Adamo

Amedeo is currently a Visiting Professor in the History of Film Producing in the Master Réseau Du Cinéma MA at the Universita Della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano Switzerland and teaches Directing, Screenwriting, and Producing in the Graduate Media program at the Universita Cattolica, Italy. He also teaches Film Marketing in the school's Master in Communication & Marketing of Cinema. He was the Founding Dean and then President of the Los Angeles Film School in Hollywood, CA. He wrote, co-directed, and co-produced (with Nevina Satta) the UNICEF-endorsed feature The Tree Of Ghibet, which played at many international film festivals including Rome ’08, Miami ‘08, Austin ’08 and Torino ‘07. His last feature, The Wrong Hands, premiered in October 2010 at the Sulmona Film Festival (winning best film music). A rough-cut of his new film, a documentary on the filmmaker Alessandro Blasetti, premiered at the Bologna Cineteca's 2012 film festival, where he also presented the prototype of a camera he built from a revolutionary design created by Blasetti in 1928 that has until now never been realized.

In 2005, Amedeo co-founded The Traveling Film School, a non-profit organization that provides free film and theater training to children in underdeveloped regions around the world. Two years ago he co-created and ran the University Producing Lab at the Locarno Film Festival and now teaches in its Documentary Summer School. Amedeo holds an MFA in Screenwriting and Directing from Columbia University’s Graduate Film Program. Upcoming publications include essays on Post-Scarcity and on music in television, and his most recent publication is Ain't There One Damn Flag?: Portraying America in David Bowie's 'Young Americans', which appears in Enchanting David Bowie.


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