Friday, February 25, 2011

Filmmaker Q&A: Steve Goodall, "Someplace With a Mountain"

Climate change has been a huge topic of discussion for decades now, but little has changed in our day to day lives. Steve Goodall, sailor and creator of “Somplace With a Mountain” discovered first-hand the profound impact our past and current choices have had on the future of a small group of Pacific Islanders. Before Steve’s arrival the Lapita people had not heard of climate change but they were already grappling with the effects of sea level rise on their small, flat island. See “Somplace With a Mountain” March 12 at 4:00 pm. Click here to buy tickets.

What is your overall summary for the film?
It is a documentary about a special group of pacific islanders: the Lapita Navigators, the forefathers of many cultures in the tropical Pacific. They are losing
their homes and crops because of sea level rise. Their livelihood and culture are dramatically threatened as the islands they live on are flooding day by day. A sailor, Steve Goodall, came across them on his travels and discovered they knew nothing about the current forecasts for sea level rise. Once informed they asked for his help. Steve took their statements, filmed their lifestyles and traveled to the Island of Yap to look for land.

What was the most challenging part of creating the film?

My inspiration was that these people don't use any fossil fuels and they are going to be wiped out because of our lifestyles.

What do you want to impart on your film’s viewers?
A sense of loss and responsibility if we lose this culture, and a willingness to help preserve it.

This is my first film. I didn't want to make a film I was just a sailor seeing the world. I didn't know what else I could do to help these people so I just tried to document their story. The San Francisco Ocean Film Fest seemed like a logical fit.

These people don't think like we do, there is no "I, ME, MINE" in these villages. They are all so happy. As you walk around the villages you hear only laughter coming from their huts, these simple people with nothing are so happy, and we with everything are not.

What was the most enjoyable part of making the film?
Receiving the thanks from the people for trying to help them.

Who or what is your inspiration?
The people’s lifestyle. They use no fossil fuels and live in a true village. I have never seen people so dedicated to their friends and families’ well-being. It does exist, but for how much longer?

What was the most memorable moment in creating the film?
When the Chief from Lamotrek said on camera "We are not the ones who polluted the whole world" and at that moment I realized the true extent of what we had done.


  1. It seems to me that a logical place to look for concrete help for the islanders threatened by rising sea levels would be to contact NFL players of Polynesian ancestry. These young men have resources and contacts and a natural interest in the area and its people that could prove invaluable. You might start with Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Just a thought!

  2. It seems to me a discussion on global population is long overdue. The native born population of the USA has stagnated. All the growth has come from immigration and the children of immigrants. These new arrivals and their offspring are the major new pollution causes.Blaming the USA doesn't solve the problem.

  3. US Immigration? WHAT? So rich white Americans with huge SUVs,multiple homes,jet,etc. all using fossil fuels are not a factor? Only dirty immigrants and their kids create a dirty environment? I am not saying that it's just the US. Many societies bear responsibility. But to turn this into to an immigration bash is just selfish and ignorant. Way to hide the true facts. But then what do you expect from those who see anyone that's 'not one of us' as the bogeyman.