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Bali International Indigenous Film Festival - May 10-12

There will be 25 filmmakers and presenters flying to Bali on May 10 for the largest and most culturally diverse gathering of Indigenous film creators ever seen in Bali. The Bali International Indigenous Film Festival (BIIFF) is a 3-day event and will attract over 900 people to the 2 venues – Njana Tilem Museum and Paradiso theatre in Ubud. This will be a powerful, inspirational and collaborative event where local award-winning Indonesian filmmakers will meet award-winning international film industry leaders who have dedicated their careers to supporting, protecting and empowering Indigenous culture through film. Indigenous Taiwanese filmmakers will meet filmmakers from the tribal lands of Quebec, Canada and 13 other countries and you, the audience will have the opportunity to meet all 25 directors at the festival’s Grand Opening Night on May 10, a fitting prelude to a wonderful weekend film marathon.

 Over three days, 40 films will be screened from Ecuador, Panama, India, Nagaland, Australia, Canada, USA, Taiwan, South Africa, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia and from regions of Indonesia including Kalimantan, Sumba, Papua, Malukus, Bali and Lombok.  These documentary and feature films include a focus on Indigenous wisdom, connection with nature, alternative solutions, land rights, success stories, forest preservation, and use of technology to support Indigenous interests. 

“The Bali International Indigenous Film Festival seeks to educate and

empower Indigenous cultures across the globe through film.”

 The Grand Opening Night on May 10, in Mas, Ubud will be held on the spacious grounds of the beautiful Njana Tilem Museum. There will be a meet and mingle opportunity from 5pm, so grab a wine and dinner and meet the film directors.  A traditional welcoming ceremony will open the event, followed by a traditional dance.  A short documentary session will follow and  the main feature film, Small Island Big Song, a film uniting cultural voices across 16 islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, will be presented by the producer BaoBao Chen (Taiwan) and director Tim Cole (Australia), followed by an artistic Taiwanese artist performance. Get ready for an incredible night.

 Over three days a total of 40 Indonesian and international films will screen followed by Q &A sessions allowing for revealing and inspiring discussion directly with the filmmakers. 

 Emmanuela Shinta, who is a filmmaker, co-festival founder and Dayak Ma’anyan from Central Kalimantan explains, “This year’s theme of “Stories that Matter” speaks to the heart.  We, the Indigenous people of this country, can use film as a medium to promote and tell the stories of Indigenous communities all over Indonesia. Every story matters.  When I made my film, ‘When Women Fight’, I had a big story to tell, but all stories matter. Whether they are big or small, we carefully considered every film submitted, and have picked the 40 best global and local Indigenous films. I am thrilled to announce our youngest Indigenous filmmaker - Kynan, a 14-year-old Dayak Iban boy will present his excellent film from Sungai Utik, a settlement West Kalimantan. His film offers insightful messages and explains some time honoured rituals from the Dayak Iban tribe, which lives by traditional adat customary law”.

 Shinta goes on to explain, “By attending this film festival, as a moviegoing enthusiast, an aspiring filmmaker or an award-winning film director, we can reach out to each other and get inspiration and connect. I am so excited to be able to meet people like Cleary Vaughan-Lee from Global Oneness Project, who’s films and photo essays have been featured on National Geographic and PBS, and in The New York Times, and The New Yorker addressing tribal issues, preserving Indigenous language and presents impactful indigenous documentary films from the Yukon, USA and Canada. As an Indigenous Dayak Ma’anyan, I have so much to learn from these very prominent film industry participants”. 

 David Metcalf, the co-founder of BIIFF  works closely with the Green School and collaborated in an initiative to bring several Indigenous leaders to the Green School’s Annual Sustainable Solutions - May 2-4 (open to the public). A selection of these  Indigenous leaders will participate in the film festival May 10-12.

 Miliwanga Wurrben, an Aboriginal elder from the Mirratja Clan of the Rembarrnga Tribe, will conduct a traditional Aboriginal welcoming and smoking ceremony on the opening night of May 10, along with a local Balinese in an honouring of two nations, two cultures standing side by side.  Njana Tilem Museum are indeed honoured to open this Indigenous festival in the spirit of collaboration between cultures, languages, voices, song and rituals. 

 Metcalf said, “It is time for Indigenous voices to be heard, and by hosting the second Bali International Indigenous Film Festival, the local Indigenous people whose role often goes unrecognised, will tell their stories. We all want a more sustainable and harmonious world, so come and see what these dedicated and highly respected Indigenous leaders have to say.  Participate in the Q & A sessions and together let’s explore ways to promote a sustainable future. Let’s help to preserve Indigenous cultures by giving them the respect and understanding they deserve while learning more about their wisdom and teachings of their ancestors”.

 Ranu Welum Foundation, the organisation which founded BIIFF, is based in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan. This non-profit foundation specializes in media and filmmaking and provides funding and training for Indonesian filmmakers. The next ambitious  project of Ranu Welum is setting up pop-up cinemas in smaller regional towns all over Indonesia. Your ticket for the festival supports Ranu Welum Foundation.  

 David Metcalf is a photographer and the co-founder of the BIIFF.  Since 2001, Metcalf has used photography to document the lives of remote tribes across Indonesia from North Sumatra to East Timor, plus those in lesser-known tribal areas of Vietnam, Nagaland and Odisha in India and the tribal lands of South Dakota, USA. He has travelled with camera in hand, gaining the trust of respected tribal elders.  He has not only listened to “Stories that Matter,” but has photographed  and documented special rituals and worked to preserve cultural identity through photography. Metcalf  collaborated with filmmaker Eric Est to release the 2016 film Long Saan about the Dayak Kenyah Oma Lung people of Long Saan.

 Together, Metcalf and Shinta, are presenting an alliance of Indigenous and non-indigenous and bringing you the second Bali International Indigenous Film Festival

 WHEN:    May 10           Opening night Njana Tilem Museum, Mas,

                                          Ubud at 5 pm -11 pm 

                  May 11, 12    Paradiso Theatre -  Ubud 10 am – 11 pm



 Contacts: Co-Founder – Emmanuel Shinta




                   Co-founder – David Metcalf  



 This is a non-profit, community event - plastic free with minimal impact on the environment and supports Indigenous filmmakers, education and the environment. Proceeds of tickets sales supports the Ranu Welum Filmmakers Fund.