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 where the indigenous Papuan population live in apartheid-like conditions.

Most startling of all is an interview conducted in secret with high profile political prisoner Yusak Pakage. He was jailed for ten years after taking part in a peaceful flag-raising ceremony, and is recognised by Amnesty International as a ‘prisoner of conscience’. The interview with Pakage was recorded in secret during a hospital visit where he was on day release, receiving treatment for the effects of torture.

Screened at dozens of film festivals around the world and the subject of a BBC Newsnight feature, 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 the West Papuan people who have suffered so much under Indonesian occupation. Their determination for freedom burns stronger now than at any time in history. Finally their cries are starting to be heard.

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

Copies available on DVD