THE UNTOLD STORY: FOOTAGE FROM THE PAPUAN RAINFOREST

This Press Release marks the end of a 3 year training programme in Papua with EIA.

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UNIQUE films are launched today showing the impact of forest exploitation upon the people of Papua, Indonesia.

The set of films made entirely by Papuan NGOs in collaboration with villagers, tell how their communities have been adversely affected by destructive logging and oil palm plantations.

The four short films, launched under the collective banner: “Save the People and Forests of Papua” give an insight into a country which is currently off-limits to journalists.

Click to watch:

Click to watch:

Training of the NGOs in research, filming and editing skills has been carried out by EIA and Indonesian NGO partners Telapak over several years as part of their capacity-building programmes.
The films, from Sorong, Arfak, Bintuni and Mappi, showcase previously unseen stories of timber, oil palm and agarwood companies causing conflict, environmental damage, and the loss of traditional land rights and livelihoods. In some cases these problems lead to intimidation and deception.

“A voice”

Ronny Dimara, head of Triton Sorong, said: “The Mooi people of Sorong want the government to stop logging and plantation companies exploiting and destroying their lands. We made this film with the support of our partners to give them a voice.”

Sena Aji Bagus, of Mnukwar Production, which produced two films, said: “The cases in Arfak and Bintuni show how industrial forestry and state run oil palm plantations have generated serious social, financial and environmental problems.”

The release of the compilation comes as Indonesia prepares to host next month’s crucial meeting on climate, where the issue of avoiding deforestation will be high on the agenda.

The relevance of the films could not be clearer – local communities have suffered the worst impacts of forest destruction in Papua, and they can play a vital role in avoiding further loss.

Paul Redman, who has worked on such projects for EIA in Indonesia for five years, said: “These people have worked extremely hard to bring these films together, sometimes at great personal risk. For example, one film-maker waited for four days in the forest to get footage of illegal loggers.

“Logging is a multi-million pound industry which impacts upon where they live. For them, the forest is their supermarket – when it is gone they have nothing and no access to any income either. They want these stories to be told and these stories have to be told – without their land, they have no hope.”

“By teaching local people the very same film and research skills and methods we use for documenting our investigations, we aim to empower communities to protect their environments and effect change.”

Editor’s notes:

The compilation of 4 films features;

• Defenders of the Tribal Boundaries: the consequences of oil palm development in the Arfak Mountains, West Papua Province. Made by Mnukwar Productions.
• Tears of Mother Mooi: how a logging and oil palm company has affected the Mooi people in Sorong, West Papua Province. Made by pt. Triton.
• Gaharu – Disaster or Blessing?: the impacts of the trade in valuable gaharu wood on local people in Mappi, Papua Province. Made by SKP-KAM.
• Destiny – Our Land: inequitable forest exploitation and the need for reform in Bintuni Bay, West Papua Province. Made by Mnukwar Productions.
Video clips and still images are available on request, as well as copies of the films and background factsheets in both Bahasa Indonesia and English

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