What if your community had to decide whether to leave their homeland forever and there was no help available? This is the reality for the culturally unique Polynesian community of Takuu, a tiny low-lying atoll in the South Western Pacific. As a terrifying tidal flood rips through their already damaged home, the Takuu community experiences the devastating effects of climate change first hand. In this verite-style film, three intrepid characters Telo, Endar and Satty, allow us into their lives and their culture and show us first hand the human impact of an environmental crisis. Two scientists, oceanographer John Hunter and geomorphologist Scott Smithers, investigate the situation with our characters and consider the impact of climate change on communities without access to resources or support. Intimate observational scenes allow Teloo, Endar and Satty to take us on their personal journeys as they consider whether to move to an uncertain future in Bougainville or to stay on Takuu and fight for a different, but equally uncertain, outcome.
This film gives a human face to the direct impacts of climate change in the Pacific, challenging audiences everywhere to consider their own relationship to the earth and the other people on it.
March's meticulously observed examination of the crisis facing the small atoll of Takuu is an object lesson in patient documentary film-making. This sobering and important film is a warning to the world.— Peter Calder, The New Zealand Herald
There once was an island is a rare gem among climate change movies.— Richard Leckinger, Greenpeace
This emotionally charged documentary had audiences in tears... It will completely change your outlook on life.— Raindance Film Festival
A haunting film that may serve as a prelude for other Pacific islands in the near future, and their challenges related to world-wide climate change events.— Educational Media Reviews Online