HSH Prince Albert II was present at the avant-premiere of his first-ever film, titled ‘Alick and Albert’ in Saint-Tropez on Wednesday, October 13.

The film follows the Prince on his visit to the Badulgal people of Badu Island, and the development of his own extraordinary friendship with Alick Tipoti, the island’s most recognised artist.

The story took the audience from Monaco to Badu and then back again, with a focus on how these two undeniably different places are connected by one ocean, an ocean to which the people of Badu are intrinsically connected.

On a map, Badu can be found on the Torres Strait off the coast of North-Eastern Australia. However, its people do not identify themselves as Aboriginal Australians, and possess strong ethnic and cultural links to the Melanesian people of Papua New Guinea and the Western Pacific.

Today, the Badulgal people are faced with eroding coastlines and dying coral reefs as a result of global warming and overexploitation. As if that is not enough, Tipoti and his community are also fighting to keep their ancient traditions alive in an ever-changing world.

Tipoti first met the Prince in 2016, during an exhibition at the Oceanographic Museum, and warmly invited him to visit his island 14,000 km away. Ever the explorer, the Prince accepted the invitation and flew to Badu Island with Robert Calcagno and a Monaco Explorations team.

Upon his arrival, the sovereign was greeted with broad smiles and was quickly made to feel at home, so far away from home. Over the course of a week, the Prince appeared to meet every member of the community, from schoolchildren to the island’s elders.

The film showed the Prince converse with concerned islanders about the fight to protect their ocean and traditions, but perhaps the most touching of exchanges was between the Prince and the island’s ‘aunties’, the oldest female members of the community.

The aunties were visibly emotionally moved to welcome the Prince to the island, as they grew up watching his mother, Princess Grace, on the silver screen. This meeting brought tears to the eyes of the aunties, and warmed the hearts of all those in the audience.

However, this was just one part of a cinematic success, which will soon be coming to cinemas. In the meantime, you can watch the trailer below:

Featured image courtesy of P.Fitte