In 2001 New Zealander Paul Wolffram was in Papua New Guinea studying music for his PhD, when he began making films about the Lak people he was staying with. Fifteen years later he headed back for another film, utilising his connection with the Lak to undergo a gruelling initiation into the world of Buai magic. The experience involved dehydration, fasting and isolation over the course of more than 90 hours, with the intent of enhancing his creative powers. What Lies that Way got its world premiere at the 2017 New Zealand International Film Festival.
...What Lies That Way is an attempt to give outsider audiences a glimpse of the ancient artistic traditions that exist in these remote communities. I spent 14 years learning the music and dance traditions, during various trips to the islands, and then I decided I was ready to attempt to enter the shamanic practice that allows men to become composers and choreographers.– Director Paul Wolffram on website The Spinoff, 20 July 2017