Borneo Eco Film Festival 2012: Community Filmmaking & Environmental Cinema

Kota Kinabalu, 16 September 2012. Indigenous community filmmaking and environmental cinema are highlights of the Borneo Eco Film Festival (BEFF) 2012 that will run from 28-30 September at the Kompleks Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara ( JKKN) Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo Malaysia.

There will be a unique combination of environmental pioneers and documentary filmmakers as part of SUARA Community Filmmaking programme.   Plus, a tailored line up of award winning feature and short environmental films, all of which are Southeast Asian premieres.

Agnes Agama, co-founder of BEFF and environmental anthropologist, divided the SUARA Community filmmaking programme into two parts: SUARA PUBLIKA (open to the public) and SUARA KOMUNITI (for indigenous and local community filmmakers only).   

SUARA PUBLIKA is an important and unique mix of environmental scientists and documentary filmmakers put into a collaborative platform, said Agama.  Representing the documentary-makers will  be director Harun Rahman, journalists and filmmaker Zan Azlee Zainal Abidin, and editor Genevieve Lee. Representing the environmental pioneers are Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA), HUTAN-Kinabatangan Orang Utan Conservation Programme (HUTAN-KOCP) and Model Ecologically Sustainable Community-based Conservation and Tourism (MESCOT).  

SUARA KOMUNITI is the heart of the BEFF journey where the organizers are working to build the capacity of indigenous and local communities to communicate their stories, experiences and worldviews  related to Borneo’s biocultural heritage through the medium of film. SUARA KOMUNITI activities are conducted all year long through village workshops where indigenous and local communities work  with SUARA guest trainers for two to three days of hands-on training in filmmaking approaches, styles and techniques.  

Board Chair, Chris Chong Chan Fui, said the film programme will present a varying landscape of ecological films from Borneo’s colonial past to the present as well as from the artful to the unethical. Every night, the screenings will begin by looking to its past with two Live Film Performances featuring Sarawakian traditional instrumentalist, Hezekiah Asim, performing to the earliest moving images of North Borneo:  Trip toBritishNorthBorneo (1907) from Great Britain, and PossesionsAnglaisesDansLe NordDeBorneo (1911) from France.  Thanks to the archives of the British Film Institute, these silent films will be screened for the first time in the place they were original shot.

In addition, Osa & Martin Johnson’s final adventure film BORNEO will be screened as the final Asian premiere on the last night of the festival.  Other feature films includes Suzanne Chisholm and Michael Parfit’s TheWhale, Jennifer Baichwal’s ManufacturedLandscapes, Gary Marcuse’s Waking TheGreen Tiger, and the provocative SecretsOfThe Tribe by José Padilha.  An InternationalEco Short FilmProgramme and the local Boleh BahFilem Kita film competition will round out the three nights of programming. 

BEFF 2012 is an event of the non-profit society of MELAPI based in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.   

Details are now available at and through the Facebook page Borneo Eco Film Festival.   

The BEFF organisers would like to thank the main festival partners:

Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority (SEDIA)

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment

National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS)

The Sabah Society and Daily Express.