Power Meri follows the PNG Orchids, Papua New Guinea’s first national women’s rugby team, on their journey to the 2017 World Cup in Australia. These trailblazers not only must win on the field but also beat intense sexism, a lack of funding, and national prejudice to reach their biggest stage yet.
First-time director Joanna Lester was born in England, where she grew up surrounded by rugby league. She channelled her passion for the sport first into journalism, and then into community development, moving to Australia and later Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 2014 to work for a rugby league-themed program striving to promote social change through the sport. When, in 2016, it was confirmed that PNG would field a side in the next Women’s Rugby League World Cup for the first time, Joanna began documenting the stories of players and the journey of the team to create a film that would share the Orchids’ story with audiences throughout PNG and beyond at a time when women’s sport in the region is enjoying unprecedented growth.