Fiji Explored: 22 Documentary Journeys Await Discovery

hsbc-sevens-poster Seven Fijian Documentaries

Several full-length documentaries released over the last few decades really capture the true spirit and soul of Fijian Culture. The topics covered in these short films range from rugby, a cornerstone of the Fijian Lifestyle, a storytelling videographer exploring the tradition of firewalking, to the coming together of the Pacific Islands, through dance and song, during the covid-19 epidemic.

Embark on a journey through the vibrant tapestry of Fijian culture with a curated selection of captivating documentaries that delve deep into the essence of this Pacific island nation. From the adrenaline-fueled triumphs of Fiji’s rugby sevens team to the mystical tradition of firewalking, these films offer a kaleidoscopic view of Fiji’s rich heritage and contemporary life. Whether you’re drawn to the pulsating rhythms of traditional dance or the awe-inspiring beauty of the natural world, there’s something for every explorer in this cinematic odyssey. Grab a refreshing beverage and prepare to be transported to the heart of Fiji, where resilience, community, and a profound connection to the land and sea converge in unforgettable stories of resilience and hope.

Through the lens of acclaimed videographers like Gary Yost and Pete McBride, as well as a diverse array of filmmakers, these documentaries capture the essence of Fijian identity in all its complexity. From the adrenaline-pumping action of world-class surfing to poignant reflections on climate change and cultural preservation, each film offers a unique perspective on what it means to be Fijian in the 21st century. Join us as we celebrate the resilience, creativity, and indomitable spirit of the Fijian people, whose stories resonate far beyond the shores of their tropical paradise.

Click on the thumbnail in the table below to read more about the documentary and to watch the official trailer.

Alison’s AdventuresSereviNational Geographic Islands
Alison’s AdventuresSerevi | Fiji’s King of SevensNational Geographic: Islands
No CoverNo CoverReel Paradise 2005
Suva: ‘Pride of Fiji’Coral Reef AdventureReel Paradise
80 Waves 2010Miss South Pacific Beauty and the Sea 2011This Is Your Ocean Sharks 2011
80 WavesMiss South PacificThis Is Your Ocean: Sharks
Come Hell or High Water 2011No CoverImmersion the Movie 2012
Come Hell or High WaterMy Gentile NeighborImmersion the Movie
Waverider 2013Of Shark and Man 2015Chapter One The Kiteboard Legacy Begins 2016
WaveriderOf Shark and ManThe Kiteboard Legacy Begins
Given 2016Wonders of the Sea 2017Turtle Odyssey 2018
GivenWonders of the SeaTurtle Odyssey
White Rhino 2019Dancing Joy 2020Oceans Apart Greed Betrayal and Pacific Island Rugby
White RhinoDancing JoyOceans Apart
Sevens From Heaven
Sevens From Heaven

Documentary Overview: Gary Yost an Award-winning Director, Cinematographer, Editor, and Colorist located in Marin County, California. Watch the playlist discovering the music and dance, and how it is inextricably linked to the Fijian people. Created as an artist-in-residence funded by the Naqaqa Giving Foundation.

Documentary: Gary Yost Playlist

Documentary Overview: Native Coloradan Pete McBride has spent two decades studying the world with a camera. A self-taught photographer, filmmaker, writer, and public speaker, he is a Sony Artisan of Imagery and has traveled on assignment to over 75 countries for the National Geographic Society, Smithsonian, Google, Nature Conservancy. Watch the Award-Winning River of Eden Production Above | Pete McBride Official Website

Documentary: River of Eden Fiji

Other Fijian Documentaries

Alison’s Adventures: “Lost Island of the Fire Walkers”

Documentary Overview: Alison sets off to Fiji in search of a lost island said to have some of the last fire walkers on earth. She soon finds herself on a wild adventure with the island’s Chief, deep into the intense Fijian past: to a time of tribal wars, cannibals, and spiritual consequences for breaking traditions. As her virtue is gauged by a series of tests placed upon her by the villagers, along the way Alison learns the importance of family, living off the land, and stumbles upon the secret to happiness.

Documentary: Alison’s Adventures: “Lost Island of the Fire Walkers

Serevi | Fiji’s King of Sevens

Documentary Overview: Waisale Serevi; one of the greatest rugby players in history gives his definitive life story in this open and honest documentary. Follow the incredible journey of a man that overcame severe odds to inspire a nation.

Documentary: Serevi | Fiji’s King of Sevens Trailer

National Geographic: Islands (2011-)

Documentary Overview: A classic series of films exploring nature and man in various cultural and historical contexts. 

Documentary: Nat Geo Wild Islands Fiji Historical Documentary

Suva: ‘Pride of Fiji’ (1940)

Documentary Overview: James A. FitzPatrick takes a tour of the Fiji Islands. The short depicts the different types of natives that inhabit the islands and shows villages that have not been changed in architecture for centuries. There are ceremonial dances, and FitzPatrick politically correctly describes the rule of the islands under the British government.

Documentary: Suva: ‘Pride of Fiji’ (1940)

Coral Reef Adventure (2003)

Documentary Overview: Take a once-in-a-lifetime journey across the South Pacific for a spectacular IMAX adventure. Joy, ecstasy, a spiritual high: these words describe the exhilaration of diving a pristine coral reef, and ocean explorers Howard and Michele Hall bring their love of the ocean into action. With Jean-Michael Cousteau, deep reef scientist Richard Pyle and Fijian diver Rusi Vulakoro, they explore and capture on film the dazzling underwater world of coral reefs, magical places here on Earth. This tropical excursion through the South Pacific will surprise and delight you as you fall in love with the reefs, and your heart will ache at the tragic, irretrievable loss of these fragile worlds.

Documentary: Coral Reef Adventure (2003)

Reel Paradise (2005)

Documentary Overview: Former indie film “guru” John Pierson takes his family to Fiji for one year to run the world’s most remote movie theater.

Documentary: Reel Paradise (2005) Trailer

80 Waves (2010)

Documentary Overview: Filmed in glorious HD over 5 years and in 10 locations, 80 Waves is a collection of huge waves and big-name riders from across the globe. Amongst the culture, wildlife, and beautiful scenery of exotic surf spots like Fiji, Hawaii, and Bali, we see surfers and foil-boarders, tow-in surfing and body-boarding on such iconic waves as Hawaii’s ‘Jaws’ and Indonesia’s ‘G-Land’, all set to an eclectic collection of world music. With tons of spectacular wipeouts, interviews with pro surfers like Adam D’Esposito and Ken Bradshaw, and unmissable underwater footage of the largest great white shark ever seen off the coast of Hawaii, 80 Waves will make you want to run for the airport with your passport in one hand and your surfboard in the other!

Documentary: 80 Waves (2010) Trailer

Miss South Pacific: Beauty and the Sea (2011)

Documentary Overview: What does a beauty pageant in Suva, Fiji have to do with climate change? Quite a lot, as it turns out. ‘Miss South Pacific: Beauty and the Sea’ is a short documentary film about the 2009-2010 Miss South Pacific Pageant that brought contestants, or Queens, from all the major Pacific Island Nations to compete in a week-long pageant for the crown of Miss South Pacific. Addressing the theme of Climate Change and its impact on Pacific Island countries, the Queens eloquently and passionately implore judges, spectators, and the world at large to reduce global carbon emission lest their island homes will be lost to rising seas. Is it too late to turn back the tide? Watch Miss South Pacific and see.

Documentary: Miss South Pacific: Beauty and the Sea Trailer

This Is Your Ocean: Sharks (2011)

Documentary Overview: Three of the world’s top artists shatter your perception of sharks. Emmy-award-winning producer George C. Schellenger takes you into the world of sharks through the eyes of Wyland, Dr. Guy Harvey, and Jim Abernethy. These amazing artists take you into the crystal clear waters of the Bahamas, one of the last shark sanctuaries on Earth. They’ll you’ll learn why it’s critical to protect the ocean’s remaining sharks – and what will happen if we don’t. You’ll also meet Emma, a 14-foot tiger shark. With breathtaking footage shot on location around the world and breakthrough discoveries, it’s an adventure that will have you seeing sharks very differently.

Documentary: This Is Your Ocean: Sharks Trailer

Come Hell or High Water (2011)

Documentary Overview: Come Hell or High Water travels to oceans around the world showcasing body surfing’s characters, pioneers, innovators along with the simplicity and beauty of the sport. It’s about taking a breath and kicking your feet in the big blue sea. The movie, shot mainly on 16-millimeter film spans the globe from Tahiti to Fiji, to Montana, Hawaii, and California. The movie dives into the underground sport that most people know little about. Not only does Come Hell or High Water have incredible underwater imagery, but it will also wrench your heart as well as make you laugh! A one-kind film, Come Hell or High Water has already won Best Film and Best Cinematography at the London and New York Surf Film Festivals.”

Documentary: Come Hell or High Water Trailer

My Gentile Neighbor (2012)

Documentary Overview: In the beautiful Fiji Islands in the South Pacific, half of the population are Indian descendants who migrated as indentured sugarcane farmers during the British Colony. After living for more than a century in a Christian country, they remain Hindus and Muslims. This film portrays and interviews six people telling a single mission story of FIJI, Fijians Introducing Jesus to Indians.

Documentary: My Gentile Neighbor Trailer

Immersion the Movie (2012)

Documentary Overview: Immersion in the movie is a journey of what is surfing now. 7 years in the making, Immersion features some of surfing’s greatest talents and personalities and takes you to some of the world’s most isolated, notorious, and picturesque surfing locations – Australia, Hawaii, Fiji, Tahiti. This film captures mind-blowing swell events that made history and glue the viewer to its seat. You will travel following the footsteps of the filmmaker, Tim Bonython, and will embark on a memorable journey. Each sequence has a purpose and a story to tell.

Documentary: Immersion the Movie Trailer

Waverider (2013)

Documentary Overview: In the early ’90s, an iconic photo of a young boy dropping in on a huge unknown wave made the cover of Surfing Life. 20 years on, in 2013, the boy the world had never heard of earned his chance to compete against the best surfer the world has ever seen.

Documentary: Waverider (2013) Trailer

Of Shark and Man (2015)

Documentary Overview: A thirty-two-year-old man, trapped in a dead-end job in England’s industrial north, his life going nowhere, gambles everything to tell an inspiring untold story, a story which finds him in the middle of a feeding frenzy with sixty of the world’s most dangerous sharks.

Documentary: Of Shark and Man (2015) Trailer

Chapter One: The Kiteboard Legacy Begins (2016)

Documentary Overview: Chapter One introduces the world to the most exciting sport on the planet; kitesurfing. For the first time in history, a movie shot in 4K unites the legends, current champions, and future talents from the sport. By chasing the toughest storms, riding the biggest waves, or performing thrilling stunts, these athletes have found the key to the ultimate sense of freedom. Chapter One will take viewers on a ride-along with the most beautiful places on earth and inspires viewers to pursue a passionate life. The kiteboard legacy begins.

Documentary: Chapter One: The Kiteboard Legacy Begins Trailer

Given (2016)

Documentary Overview: GIVEN is the story of a legacy that takes one unique family on an adventure from their home in Kauai around the world. Told through the memories of a child, Given is the simple yet powerfully contemplative story of a unique family legacy that comes full circle.

Documentary: Given (2016) Trailer

Wonders of the Sea (2017)

Documentary Overview: Armed with cutting-edge 3D technology, French ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau and his adult children explore the ocean and learn about what puts it at risk.

Documentary: Wonders of the Sea (2017) Trailer

Turtle Odyssey (2018)

Documentary Overview: Follow the daily life of a beautiful sea turtle named Bungee and all of her largest obstacles.

Documentary: Turtle Odyssey Trailer

White Rhino (2019)

Documentary Overview: A professional surf photographer chases down the largest surf ever seen in hopes of capturing a once-in-a-lifetime image. What he receives is much more than that.

Documentary: White Rhino Trailer

Dancing Joy (2020)

Documentary Overview: The powerful music of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is the score; traditional dance from 21 cultures is the action. This is a filmed journey around the world. No spoken narration; the music, dance, and imagery tell the story. The film celebrates humanity, and the earth: a dynamic realization of Beethoven’s message of the brotherhood of all people, bound together by a loving source and sharing a single goal.

Documentary: Dancing Joy Trailer

Oceans Apart: Greed, Betrayal, and Pacific Island Rugby (2020)

Documentary Overview: Presented by former Samoa rugby player Dan Leo, who sacrificed his own career to confront corruption in his national union, Oceans Apart looks at the bond between the Pacific and modern Rugby and reveals the darker side of the sport.

Documentary: Oceans Apart: Greed, Betrayal, and Pacific Island Rugby Trailer

Sevens From Heaven

Documentary Overview: Sevens From Heaven is the story of Fiji Rugby Sevens, the winners of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2015/16, and the team that inspired the world in Rio when they won Fiji’s first-ever Olympic medal, and a gold at that! Discover how a tiny island nation with limited resources took on the world at Rugby Sevens and won. Go inside the team with never-before-seen footage to see what it took to take a team from an island in the South Pacific to becoming the best in the world. Created by HSBC Sport in collaboration with Zoomfiji.  Unrated | 17min | Genre: Sport | Filming Locations: Fiji | Directors: HSBC

Documentary: Sevens from Heaven Trailer