Forgotten Bird of Paradise

26 mins | 2009 | 16:9
Producer, director, camera & editor

Multi-award winning documentary, Forgotten Bird of Paradise, provides a rare and moving insight into the struggle for independence that has gripped West Papua since the country was colonised by Indonesia in 1962.

Filmed undercover and without the knowledge or authority of the Indonesian authorities, the film includes never-before-seen footage of Papuan freedom fighters at their stronghold deep in the jungle. There are also interviews with human rights victims of the Indonesian regime, and footage showing the reality of daily life, with the indigenous population of West Papua living in apartheid-like conditions.

A rare and moving insight into West Papua’s struggle for freedom

The documentary includes an interview conducted in secret with one of West Papua’s most high profile political prisoners, Yusak Pakage. He was found guilty of treason by the Indonesian regime and imprisoned for ten years after taking part in a peaceful flag-raising ceremony in 2004. He has subsequently been recognised as a ‘prisoner of conscience’ by Amnesty International and the subject of a global campaign for his release. The interview with Pakage was recorded in secret during a hospital visit where he was on day release, receiving medical attention for the effects of torture.

Forgotten Bird of Paradise provides an insight into a world where ancient traditions and cultures live on into the modern age. Above all it shows the inspiring resilience of West Papua’s people who have suffered greatly under Indonesia’s colonial occupation and continue to bravely rise up in resistance. Their determination for freedom burns stronger now than at any time in history. Finally their cries are starting to be heard.

The documentary has screened at dozens of film festivals around the world and been the subject of extended features on both BBC Newsnight and Australia Network TV. t has also screened in full on NITV in Australia and Kundu 2 TV in Papua New Guinea.

Best Documentary – Dam Short Film Festival – 2011
Best Documentary – Davis International Film Festival – 2015

Copies available on DVD