2021 Angel Film Awards - Monaco International Film Festival angel awards



“VOYAGERS OF THE FIJIAN PEARL” Written by Ruth Finnegan (UK)


Ruth an award winning writer and author was born and brought up in Ireland - Derry (then, alas, a city of murderous religious battles) and the more peaceful Donegal - and attended a peace-loving Quaker school, overlapping there with the actresses Judi Dench and Mary Ure. This background fostered in her the aspiration for reconciliation, understanding and non-violence which is the central theme in the ‘Betrothed’ screenplay. This was followed by Oxford degrees in classics and anthropology, fieldwork in Africa (influential in the screenplay’s mode of story-telling), and university teaching in Africa, Fiji, Texas and England, all contexts for learning about ideas, about beautiful words, and, most of all, about people.

Ruth is deeply inspired by music, loves the countryside and the sea, is a regular church attender (ecumenical), and adores her yearly visits to fantastic New Zealand. She has three daughters and five grandchildren, and lives in Old Bletchley (‘home of the code breakers’) in southern England with David Murray, her longtime husband.

In a more formal context, Ruth Finnegan OBE is Emeritus Professor of the Open University UK, Fellow of the British Academy, International Fellow of the American Folklore Society, and an Honorary Fellow of Somerville College Oxford. An anthropologist, poet and librettist, she is the author or editor of numerous prize-winning academic books and of the multi-award literary novels 'Black Inked Pearl' and ‘Voyage of Pearl of the Seas'. Though she earlier had the experience of preparing many short educational scripts produced by BBC2, she has only recently been essaying feature-length scripts, so she is totally thrilled that two of her screenplays (the. inspirational ‘Black Ink Pearl’) have this year won festival awards, and her screenplay “Betrothed” won Best Epic Historical Romance in 2018 at the Angel Film Awards/Monaco International Film Festival.

OF THE FIJIAN PEARL” Written by Ruth Finnegan (UK)

LOGLINE: (Genre: Fantasy/Adventure)

Two teenagers make unlikely (inter-racial) friends, build a boat from driftwood, and, gathering all their courage, sail through tumultuous danger-filled seas and to a magical island to try to find his Indian mother who had been swept away in a tsunami - a Bollywood-like fairytale of love, friendship, and heroism


After winning his rugby match the Indo Fijian boy Kristi goes to the beach for a swim. There he meets Kati, a native-Fijian girl who is collecting seashells to sell in the local market to help support her family. At first violently quarrelling, they then make (unlikely given their (usually opposed) racial, backgrounds) friends and agree to meet up again to meet again the next morning. Christy discovers a large piece of driftwood. As they carry it as into the sea it magically transforms into a sailboat.

The two along with Kati’s dog Holly climb into the boat and set sail. Kristi secretly hopes to find his mother who had been washed away in a tsunami.

They encounter vicious storms and terrifying wild seas. After many perilous adventures their boat crashes into the rocks of an island and to Kristi’s despair is completely destroyed.

They are greeted by islanders dancing to welcome them, and make their way through the thick bush in search of help. They become separated and Kati is left behind devastated and alone. Kristi goes on and is welcomes by the ‘Chief of Many Names’. He is told that he can't go back and look for Kati but finds a way around the rules and discovers her.

The two have a wonderful magical time on the island, which is a kind of (multiracial) heaven. But after a year and a day they are told they must go home. They find their boat magically repaired and ready to make the voyage across the seas to their home. On the way they miraculously come on Kristi’s mother floating in the sea. After Kristi fights the awesome sea monster to save her, the three make their way back to a colourful native feast and dance, destined to live happily ever after.

Personal Note: I spent three years living and researching in Fiji, so the details in the script are authentic - the dialects; the racial tensions, sometimes surmounted by friendship, even marriage; the plants, seashells, colour, scenery; the astounding market; the storms; like Kristi and Kati I was in a hurricane, and near-wrecked, and like them was terrified and entranced by a close reef encounter; a tsunami too - I too fled, alarmed, at a dire tsunami warning; and the amazing dawns and sunsets. Almost like a documentary: they are all true.