Saturday, September 28, 2019
Brava Theater Center
San Francisco, CA

Proceeded by short film, Coach

Expected Guests: Director Joanna Lester, Moderated by Jennifer Matt

Duration: 76 minutes
Country: Australia
Year: 2018
Language: Tok Pisin, English (subtitled)
Website: Power Meri


Proud, strong and hopeful, the pioneering women in the Papua New Guinea Orchids (PNG) team have overcome more challenges than most to play their much-loved national sport of rugby. But after years of playing at the grassroots level, they have just three months to transform themselves into a competitive national team.

Power Meri takes audiences on a journey through rarely-seen corners of PNG and behind the scenes of women’s sport. It follows the Orchids through selection trials, arduous training with a fly-in-fly-out Australian coaching mentor, and diverse personal struggles as they face the world champion Australian Jillaroos and compete at the world cup.

But their mission is greater than winning. In a country with appalling rates of domestic violence, sport is one of the few arenas in which PNG women can show their strength. If they can perform like men on the rugby field, can they change attitudes about the treatment and status of women back home?

DIRECTOR: Joanna Lester


Joanna Lester is a journalist and documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on the bigger picture impact of sport. She has reported for global media organizations including the BBC and Associated Press and has worked at Olympic and Commonwealth Games, world cups, and other major sporting events across four continents. She has covered rugby league throughout the world, from its birthplace in England to its pinnacle of popularity in Papua New Guinea, via countries where most people don’t even realize the sport is played. Her current work focuses on how sport can change lives and improve societies, and how women’s involvement in sport contributes to gender equality, particularly in the Pacific. Power Meri marks her entry into long-form documentary storytelling, building on her unparalleled and intimate access to the film’s characters and her longstanding relationships in rugby league and Papua New Guinea.

CO-PRESENTED BY: UN Women, SF Chapter, Girls Rugby NorCal, San Francisco Golden Gate Women’s Rugby Football Club