Annie Stiven and Les McLaren have spent 15 years in PNG since the early 1970s, working in government cultural institutions, and on independent film projects about culture and change. They both speak and read tok pisin (Melanesian Pidgin) fluently.
They have written, produced and directed five documentaries which have been invited to international festivals including nominations for Best Film at Cinema du Reel in Paris and Golden Gate in San Francisco. They have been invited to present films at festivals in Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Amsterdam, New York, and Hawaii.
Cowboy and Maria In Town was awarded Best Documentary at Dendy Awards, Sydney Film Festival, also nominated for Best Documentary AFI, Australian Human Rights Award, ATOM Awards, and in International Festivals. Pikizjaa was also nominated for the Dendy Awards Best Documentary. Taking Pictures, about documentary filmmakers in PNG, has screened widely and continues to sell internationally.
Les was the Senior Video Producer with the Training Technology Centre who have produced award winning multimedia products - including the Australian Humanitarian Award (Education) for CDROM in 1999, and the AIMIA Grand Prize, and Best Education & Reference award for a CDROM in 2003. In 2003 Les spent four months in Bougainville working with the UN-led peace monitoring group as a liaison officer with Bougainvillean, Australian, New Zealand, Fijian and ni-Vanuatu personnel.
Les McLaren and Annie Stiven co-wrote a short history of filmmaking in Papua New Guinea for the Australian Documentary Conference 1993, ISBN: 0646165402. Les McLaren also wrote a short memoir about early film & music experiences in Papua New Guinea for Meanjin Quarterly, Vol 62, No. 3: ISBN-10: 1740660951 ISBN-13: 978-1740660952