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.

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. It has also screened in full on NITV in Australia and Kundu 2 TV in Papua New Guinea. DVD copies of the film available via the official film website.


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

Film festival screenings:

Green Man, UK, 2009
Raindance Film Festival, UK, 2009
We The Peoples Film Festival, UK, 2009
Pan African Film & Arts Festival, USA, 2010
Byron Bay International Film Festival, Australia, 2010
Montreal First Peoples Festival, Canada, 2010
Native & Indigenous Film Festival, Czech Republic, 2010
Dam Short Film Festival, USA, 2011
Culture Unplugged Festival, global, 2011
Oxford Brookes Human Rights Film Festival, UK, 2011
Port Eliot Festival, UK, 2011
Big Green Gathering, UK, 2011
Dark Mountain Project, UK, 2011
Anûû-rû Âboro – Peoples Film Festival, New Caledonia, 2011
Sunrise Celebration, UK, 2012
Harlequin Fayre, UK, 2012
Portobello Film Festival, UK, 2012
Native Spirit Film Festival, UK, 2012
Papua New Guinea Human Rights Film Festival, Papua New Guinea, 2012
ASEAN Film Festival, Cambodia, 2012
Pasifika Film and Arts Festival, Australia, 2013
Fifi Street Film Festival, France, 2013
Steps International Film Festival, Ukraine, 2013
Freedom Film Festival, Malaysia, 2013
Festival de cinéma de Douarnenez, France, 2014
Boom Festival, Portugal, 2014
19 Days Of Freedom, Australia, 2014
Pacific Tides Festival, Australia, 2015
Rainbow Serpent Festival, Australia, 2015
Davis International Film Festival, USA, 2015
Latin American & Asia Pacific Documentary Film Festival, Australia, 2015
Princeton Film Festival, USA, 2016
FiSahara, Algeria, 2016
Pokhara International Mountain Film Festival, Nepal, 2016
Llanberis Adventure Mountain Film Festival, UK, 2017
Sandalia Sustainability Film Festival, Italy, 2018

Community screenings:

Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia, 2010
Arise Bookstore, Minneapolis, USA, 2010
London School of Economics, UK, 2011
Festival of Life, London, UK, 2011
Eye-D, Bristol, UK, 2011
Star & Shadow, Newcastle, UK, 2011
The Minesweeper, London, UK, 2011
Idler Academy, London, UK, 2011
Cube Cinema, Bristol, UK, 2012
Club Acme, Zadar, Croatia, 2012
Oxford University, UK, 2012
Morning Star Project, Sweden, 2012
SO(U)L, Kingston, Jamaica, 2012
Edinburgh University, UK, 2013
The Looking Glass, Bristol, UK, 2013
Pasundan University, Indonesia, 2013
Freedom Flotilla Fundraiser, Byron Bay, Australia, 2013
University of Papua New Guinea, PNG, 2013
Film Cafe, Pattani, Thailand, 2013
Cambridge University, UK, 2014
Gugar, Valetta, Malta, 2014
Ousa Recreation Centre, Dunedin, New Zealand, 2015
Edinburgh University, UK, 2015
Exit Strategy Studios, Melbourne, Australia, 2015
Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics, San Francisco, USA, 2015
Fremantle Environmental Resource Network, Perth, Australia, 2015
Welcome to Busseywood, Peckham, London, UK, 2015
Global Lens Film Festival, University of Hawaii, USA, 2015
Maa Maat Cultural Centre, Tottenham, London, UK, 2015
Universitas Islam Negeri, Jakarta, Indonesia, 2015
Injalak Arts Centre, Gunbalanya, Arnhem Land, Australia, 2016
Dalyellup College, Bunbury, Australia, 2016
Samawa Cinema tour, Al Muthanna, Iraq, 2016
Brunswick Picture House, Brunswick Heads, Australia, 2017
The University of Wollongong, Australia, 2017
Pango Village – community screening, Vanuatu, 2017
The Overtopping Studio, Lismore, Australia, 2018
West Papua fundraiser – Ewingsdale Hall, Byron Bay, Australia, 2018
Kino im Sprengel cinema, Hannover, Germany, 2018
Barbara, Wroclaw, Poland, 2018
Sadleir House, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, 2020
LaTrobe Environmental Action Forum, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, 2020

Television screenings:

BBC World News Today, March 2009
BBC Newsnight, UK (feature report), March 2009
SBS News, Australia (feature report), September 2009
Channel 4 News, UK (report), October 2010
NITV, Australia (40 screenings of full version), September 2013 – September 2016
Kundu 2 Television, Papua New Guinea (full version), December 2013
TVWAN, Papua New Guinea (full version), December 2016

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