Deakin University
Browse

File(s) under permanent embargo

Big Stories Small Towns: Asia Pacific (Indonesia & West Papua)

media
posted on 2017-02-06, 00:00 authored by Martin PotterMartin Potter, Enrico Aditjondro, Dodid Wijanarko
Big Stories Small Towns: Asia Pacific (Indonesia & West Papua)

History

Indigenous content

This research output may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. We apologise for any distress that may occur.

Language

Indonesian

Notes

Big Stories Small Towns is a collaborative transmedia documentary project. The project ‘tagline’ is “Local Stories with Global Impact”. To that end, the aim of the Big Stories project in this iteration was to scale the work across Australia and the Asia Pacific to build a diverse and inspiring global portrait of country life. This research spans two residencies in the Raja Ampat Regency of West Papua and on the island of Flores, Indonesia. The aim of this work was to explore mechanisms for inter-cultural co-creation with fellow filmmakers in the Asia Pacific region who could then translate the process of the Big Stories project into their communities and deliver stories to the online platform of bigstories.com.au. A key question that underpinned this research was how could the co-creative processes of the Big Stories project be translated into other cultural settings beyond Australia? Big Stories films have, in the past, supported a more nuanced understanding of small town communities and local social innovations. Discussions with filmmakers in Indonesia and West Papua indicated a range of issues that a participatory storytelling process and the resulting stories could address. In West Papua, the project built on relationships and work undertaken by Engage Media with their Papuan Voices series (https://www.papuanvoices.net/). The lead filmmaker in residence for the Big Stories project in West Papua - Enrico (Rico) Aditjondro – had overseen the development and delivery of the Papuan Voices project and had long standing relationships and interest in the region. Rico proposed to undertake a co-creative documentary process working with a number of emerging West Papuan filmmakers. The situation in West Papua for journalists and independent filmmakers is often problematic as West Papua has been under Indonesian occupation since 1960. Many West Papuans have been seeking a referendum on independence - 'Merdeka' - but the Indonesian government rejects the idea. Since the struggle began, thousands have been killed and imprisoned. Whilst in the 60s indigenous Papuans were the majority, nowadays they are outnumbered by migrants from various parts of Indonesia, creating continuous social political tensions. Envrionmental degradation of the area due to logging and mining has placed further pressure on traditional cultures and livelihoods of Papuan people. Independent Papuan oriented media is actively discouraged by Indonesian authorities. One month prior to starting Big Stories: West Papua pre-production two French documentary makers (Thomas Dandois and Valentine Bourrat) had been imprisoned while filming in the highlands town of Wamena. Based on this recent event, the Big Stories project sought to indirectly address local issues through stories of everyday life that refer to issues of maintaining culture, preserving the environment and internal issues around Indonesian migration to the area. When set against the backdrop of West Papua's struggles, the stories are intended to raise awareness of the fragile cultural, social and environmental state and to shine a light on those who are caring for and sustaining Papuan community and culture. Rico also worked with Papuan filmmakers Menas Membrasar and Ina Mayor as local content producers. Menas and Ina produced stories about inspiring teachers, traditional craftsmen and environmental workers. Big Stories supported Ina, Menas and other West Papuan creatives including FX Making to ensure that the legacy of the Big Stories project continues by facilitating them to create future projects and a filmmaking collective. In addition to his work in West Papua Rico also identified Dodid Wijanarko as a potential collaborator. Dodid had extensive experience as a photographer and documentary filmmaker in Flores and West Papua. After discussing the project with Dodid he identified a women’s weaving collective called Lepo Lorun in Flores that had been started by Alfonsa Horeng in 1998. The collective model of self managed co-operation based on traditional weaving practices had given the women economic independence and subsequently been replicated across the island, employing over 1200 women in different collectives across Flores. The traditional weaving of Tenun Ikat embody the stories of Flores and are now being seen, beyond Flores, as works of art and cultural significance. The Ikat is present at all cultural occasions in Flores - from birth to death. Traditionally a women's worth was measured in her weaving prowess, however the Ikat is also the woman's canvas on which the stories, mythologies and relationships are captured in thread. Dodid identified Alfonsa as a ‘positive deviant’ – someone who had been able to transform her community (and a number of other communities) through local social innovations. The stories and photo essays were produced by the Big Stories team working with Indonesian filmmaker Dodid Wijanarko and a team of Indonesian filmmakers and artists who came from acr

Research statement

Big Stories, Small Towns is a collaborative transmedia documentary project that generates stories with and by community members. Each iteration proceeds by way of a different and specific research question within this container. For this iteration the researcher engaged with scholarship and practice in transmedia co-creation (Potter 2021) to understand the particularities of intercultural creative teams. Knowledge gleaned from previous Australian-based projects was extended here to ask: what is required for the co-creative processes of the project to be translated into other cultural settings? This research spans two residencies in Raja Ampat, West Papua and Flores, Indonesia and explored mechanisms for inter-cultural co-creation with local filmmakers. As creative director and producer, Potter's work focussed on the impact of participation in media making, defining the process and principles of production in this inter-cultural team and evaluation of resulting creative artefacts (Potter 2021). Potter (2021) details work with local creatives and social innovators, a focus on everyday culture and resulting regional exhibitions, were effective in facilitating creative expression, voice and communal organisation in challenging contexts. Stories have been shown across Papua and Flores and in film festivals and via the bigstories.com.au platform. Film Festivals include: Festival Film Papua 2017 Plaza Indonesia Film Festival Freedom Film Festival (Borneo). In West Papua, Papuan local content producers formed a video collective following their participation in the project (later becoming Papuan Voices: http://papuanvoices.net/). One Papuan filmmaker collaborated on the Flores project. The project received competitive funding from the Australian Government through Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia International Cultural Council and Screen Australia.

Publication classification

JR1 Recorded/Rendered Creative Works – Film/Video

Scale

NTRO Minor

Extent

32 x short films 10 x photo essays 2 x web archives of both residencies: http://bigstories.com.au/towns/raja-ampat http://bigstories.com.au/towns/flores- text + other outputs (including blog.bigstories.com.au and social media). 2 x community media production workshops 2 x community based screenings/ exhibitions (in Flores and in Sorong) 1 x Raja Ampat screening tour

Recognition, awards & prizes

Stories have been shown across Papua and Flores and in film festivals and via the bigstories.com.au platform. Film Festivals include: Festival Film Papua 2017 Plaza Indonesia Film Festival Freedom Film Festival (Borneo) In West Papua, Papuan local content producers formed a video collective following their participation in the project. One Papuan filmmaker collaborated on the Flores project. The project received competitive funding from the Australian Government through Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia International Cultural Council and Screen Australia.

Publisher

Big Stories Co.

Place of publication

[Online]