The iconic statues and sensationalized “mysteries” of Easter Island (Rapa Nui) have drawn the interest of the world for centuries, attracting curious visitors to its shores. Today, this tiny, barren island is experiencing an economic boon as tourism skyrockets. Yet the indigenous culture and the island’s fragile environment are suffering.
EATING UP EASTER, directed by native Rapanui filmmaker Sergio Mata’u Rapu, explores the dilemma his people are facing. Crafted as a story passed down to his newborn son, Sergio intertwines the authentic history of the island with the stories of four islanders. In their own voices, these Rapanui reveal the reality of modern life and the actions they are taking to preserve their culture and environment amidst rapid development.
A local ecologist leads recycling efforts to tackle the mounting trash arriving with tourists and the waves of plastic washing up on shore. Two musicians struggle to build a free music school they hope will preserve cultural practices and reunite their fractured community. Sergio’s father, formerly the island’s first native Governor, attempts to balance traditions against the advantages of development while building a mini-mall in the island’s only town.
EATING UP EASTER reveals and suggests ways forward in tackling the universal complexities of balancing growth and sustainability faced by local communities worldwide.