Private Project

Voices of Kula

Voices of Kula is a feature-length ethnographic film that tells a story of empowerment, of local responses to cultural and economic changes and of the strive to revitalize cultural heritage. A group of elders from Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea and a cooperating anthropologist set out on an intriguing journey around an island network in the South Pacific to strengthen kula, a traditional system of exchanging shell-valuables around a ‘ring’ of approximately 40 islands. Fearing the destructive impacts of cash-economy on kula practice, the team takes action to fight misconduct and the corruption of the system. Voices of Kula takes the viewer on a journey into an intriguing inter-island network of exchange-relationships - with some stunning encounters along the way.

  • Gina Knapp
  • Susanne Kuehling
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 26 minutes 38 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 21, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Papua New Guinea
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Gina Knapp

Regina Knapp is a German anthropologist and filmmaker with extensive research and filming experience in Papua New Guinea, her country of birth. She acquired her PhD in anthropology at the Australian National University in 2011 and worked as visual anthropologist for the Max-Planck-Institute in Leipzig (Project: Documentation of Endangered Languages), the University of Jena and the State Museums Berlin. In 2020 she got awarded the Wenner-Gren FEIJOS-Postdoctoral fellowship for the completion of her current film Voices of Kula. Since July 2021 she is curator for visual anthropology at the Ethnological Museum and Museum for Asian Arts Berlin.

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Director Statement

The focus in my work as anthropologist and as filmmaker is best described as relational. The ideas, scripts and the production of my films and research projects are based on personal relationships and networks and realized in very close cooperation with the communities involved. When filming, I stay as much in the background as possible and adjust myself to the flow of events.