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Popular movie maker here to produce dad Dr. Oberli’s tale on broken bones

Producer and Director Bettina Oberli in Honiara yesterday.
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By Robert Luke Iroga

Through her father Bettina loves and holds fond memories of Solomon Islands in her heart. And that affection has brought her to Honiara to capture that remarkable account of life into a family movie. Some 20 years ago she lived with her parents at the Lungga area in east Honiara. Today she’s a super film-marker and a popular movie director in Europe.

Bettina could still remember the long drive to Honiara with the empty road and a few trucks. She also remembers some pidjin words like you how? (how are you), wantok. Bettina is the daughter of bone specialist and popular doctor at the National Referral Hospital, Surgeon Dr Hermann Oberli. Dr Oberli served 10 years until 2002 when he left the Solomon Islands. But his love for the Happy Isles is indescribable. He worked under very tough conditions at the NRH and saved many people helping plenty as well to walk again or had their broken bones fixed. Many Honiara residents in the late 90s and early 2000s would recall seeing Dr Oberli in the news advocating for those with broken bones to be given attention and also his stories about how he miraculously saved many lives.

This time Dr Oberli is back to visit the fractured clinic he has started that already saved many lives. But on his return trip he brings his award winning film director and producer who is also his daughter Bettina.

Bettina is here to do a film on her dad’s return and capture images of his old work place with colleagues that will later be turned into a movie. Bettina is bringing her talent here to produce his father’s story.

“I want to discover my father more in this trip,” she told SBMOnline in an interview on Friday.

“I want to tell his story here and other places that he has worked,” she said.

Bettina is a director and writer, known for My Wonderful Wanda (2020), With the wind (2018) and Im Nordwind (2004). According to The Art for The World She lives in Zurich. After her award-winning debut film Im Nordwind in 2004, her second feature film Die Herbstzeitlosen in 2006 was viewed by more than 600’000 people globally. She worked for SRF/ARTE on the TV movie in two parts Private Banking in 2017. In 2018 she directed Le Vent Tourne, screened at Locarno Film Festival. In 2019 Kingdom for the Interdependence film anthology, winner for Best Direction at the WIFF, Vienna, 2020.

Why here?

Bettina said her father had always wanted to come to the Solomons every year but was unable to do so in the past three year due to COVID-19.

“When he told me that he was coming and didn’t know what to expect I told him I wanted to come with him to do a commentary film about his trip. And also an approach of a daughter to a father story.

“I have never spent enough time with him as he’s constantly working and he was away most of the time, like living here for 10 years and other projects around the world. So I didn’t get to spend some much time with my father. So I am here making a movie about my father. I told him it’s a movie about you and me,” Bettina told SBMOnline.

“It’s a father daughter movie and I want to know as much as possible about my father and what drives him to be so passionate about his work,” she added.

Dr Orbeli is now 82 but still actively working.

The other part of the movie will be shot in Switzerland with his mother and other part of his family.

“I want to get their perspective on what’s their take when one of their members is far away most of the time,” Bettina said.

Since their arrival in Honiara on the last day of February, Bettina and her cameraman have been sticking with her father at the hospital.

“We have been at the hospital everyday filming everything. We have been to the fractured clinic. We talked to the staff there. They are amazing people because I see that the circumstances are very complicated as there is never enough money but still they do everyday operations,” Bettina said.

On his return, Bettina said he could still see smile on his father’s face seeing the clinic he started now helping people.

A part from that Bettina also uses the opportunity to rekindle her memories of a place her father falls in love with.

Bettina leaves later this month but her dad has a longer stay at his adopted Solomons before he jets out to Europe after Easter.

-See Bettina’s full story in our SBM next issue-

-See Bettina’s full story in our SBM next issue-



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