23rd Edition of the Rencontres Internationales du Cinéma des Antipodes – 13-17 October 2021

His Serene Highness, Prince Albert of Monaco, was the honoured guest at the opening of the 23rd edition of the Rencontres Internationales du Cinéma des Antipodes in St Tropez on the 13th October, a festival that features Australian and New Zealand films.

The event was attended by the Australian Ambassador, Gillian Bird PSM, who is also the Honorary President of ABIE France.

The five-day film feast, organised by ABIE France member and President of the Cinéma des Antipodes, Bernard Bories, this year opened with a documentary that took the Prince to the remote Badu Island in the Torres Straights.

Prince Albert’s involvement began in 2016 when the Musée Océanographique de Monaco hosted “Ghost Nets”, a striking exhibition of sea creatures created out of discarded fishing nets and ocean debris by the people of Torres Straight. The huge exhibition, which eventually toured the world, was organised and curated by another ABIE France member, Stéphane Jacob of Arts d’Australie.

A number of the Aboriginal artists came to Monaco for the opening, and from this was born a friendship between the Prince and the island’s leading artist, Alick Tipoti. The two share not only a love of art and the ocean, but a deep involvement in environmental issues.

An invitation to visit was offered, top Brisbane film producer Trish Lake became involved, and the result was on the screen: Alick and Albert, a moving feature-length documentary that has the Prince leaving behind palace pomp to participate in island ceremony.

But the link between Monaco and Badu Island didn’t end there. From this initial visit has come a joint ocean mission, researching climate change and its effects on Australia’s north.

Photos by Claire de Robespierre.