The first guide to Pacific Islands films was produced at the center in 1986. Because of the sheer volume of films made in and about the Hawaiian Islands—nearly as many as the rest of the Pacific combined—the decision was made with the 1989 edition of the guide to exclude films concerned only with Hawai‘i. The Center began compiling information on films related to the Pacific Islands in the early eighties to facilitate the use of films in the classroom. Judith Hamnett edited the first guide and published it under the title, Guide to Films About the Pacific Islands in 1986. Melissa Miller took on the work of updating the guide for the Moving Images of the Pacific Islands Conference held in 1989. Accordingly, her edition of the guide took the name of the conference as a title, Moving Images of the Pacific Islands: A Catalogue of Films and Videos. The next edition of the guide was edited by Diane Aoki and Norman Douglas and published in 1993 as Moving Images of the Pacific Islands: A Guide to Films and Videos. That edition listed over 1,100 entries across a wide variety of subjects. The latest printed edition of the guide (Center for Pacific Islands Studies Occasional Paper 41) was produced in 1998 and can be purchased from the Center. The guide contains information about each of the films listed, including the film’s distributor, if this is known. Descriptions of the films and videos are generally paraphrases or abridgments of distributors’ or festivals’ advertisements.
Moving Images of the Pacific: A Guide to Films and Videos is now available as a Media Wiki. This transition is in response to the ever-changing Internet and part of the center’s efforts to promote access to information about the Pacific. In 1986, CPIS produced the first guide to films in and of the Pacific Islands region. This first edition of The Moving Images of the Pacific Islands included information about each of the films listed, such as the film’s distributor, if known, and descriptions of the films and videos, generally paraphrases or abridgments of distributors’ or festivals’ advertisements. In 1997, Alexander Mawyer (CPIS MA, 1997) compiled a fourth edition of the guide published by the center in the Occasional Papers series. Although the Internet was then still in its early days, the center worked to establish and make available an online database of the MIPI project, which had grown in that year from a record of several hundred Pacific films in the third edition of the guide to over 2,600 in the updated, online edition. Since then, CPIS has maintained the online database, which has grown to over 6,000 film entries. Over the years, the MIPI online database has been a standard reference and source for scholars in the United States and abroad.
Alex Mawyer suggested the move to Media Wiki and worked with Tisha Hickson on the process of migrating the project in 2011. The goals of this migration include facilitating and maintaining the most current and comprehensive information possible about Pacific filmmaking, providing better support for regional scholars and filmmakers to find information about and discuss Pacific films and filmmaking, and enhancing the variety and breadth of information about Pacific films (for instance, offering a forum for expert commentary on films recorded in the database, many of which exist in only a few copies globally yet bear a tremendous significance to local communities or scholarly endeavors). Media Wiki, the public, open-source software behind the well-known Wikipedia, offers a robust platform for hosting and maintaining an up-to-date, flexible, and extendible version of the MIPI project well into the future.
From 2012 to 2015, Nick Jordan served the MIPI project as webmaster and played a central role in moving MIPI to a wiki. Nick works as a web developer and design researcher in Chicago, Illinois. You can reach Nick through his website . Nick helped transition MIPI to its current dwelling with the Digital Arts and Humanities Initiative at the University of Hawaiʻi in 2015.