The remote Fijian mining town of Vatukoula, which literally means ‘Rock of Gold’, happens to be located less than 30 kilometers from the source of one of the world’s most recognized brands of bottled water, Fiji Water. This film tells Vatukoula’s story, exploring the complex connections between industry, community, and the global environment from a local Fijian perspective. The film also offers constructive lessons for communities around the world that are struggling to harness wealth from their natural resources while striving towards sustainable development.
Despite political unrest and military occupation of the Vatukoula gold mine, the filmmakers gain unprecendented access to this distant corner of Fiji. They find that while pristine artisan water is being bottled and shipped to the far reaches of the globe, the community of Vatukoula has been been forced to drink untreated water from the nearby Nasivi River for decades. Another startling connection between FIJI Water and Vatukoula is revealed when the filmmakers stumble upon an open dumpsite in the community containing FIJI Water industrial waste.
Kristian A. M. Maynard is a freelance filmmaker, editor, and camera assistant, originally from Bristol, England. Kristian was recently a member of the camera crew for the Oscar nominated film Frozen River (2008).
Mary A. Ackley was a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji from 2003-2005, where she became fluent in Fijian. She received a grant from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation in 2007 to conduct research on environmental risk perception in Fiji during her graduate studies at the University of Vermont. Ms. Ackley is currently a Sustainable Energy Consultant at KEMA, Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts.