Papuan Voices is a video for change initiative enabling Papuan activists and citizen journalists to tell their stories to the world.
Papua (West Papua and Papua provinces of Indonesia) is one of Indonesia's least developed and least known regions. Since its controversial integration into Indonesia in 1969, Papuans have suffered discrimination in favour of Indonesian migrants and have been largely excluded from the wealth their land generates. A wide range of issues beset the region including human rights abuses, trans-migration, corruption, forest destcruction, unemployment, and much more. Conflicts with Indonesian authorities are ongoing, poverty is widespread, and many Papuans demand independence or autonomy.
Papuan Voices aims to highlight the stories behind the conflict. Starting in 2011 as an EngageMedia project, Papuan Voices now an independent non-profit hosting the annual Papua Film Festival, and coordinating regular video production and distribution of the provinces' unheard stories.
Since 2011 Papuan Voices has trained more than 80 film-makers in Merauke, Jayapura, Wamena, Keerom and Sorong. More 100 films, and two DVDs, have been produced. These videos have screened in more than 50 locations including Malaysia's Freedom Film Festival, Australia's Parliament House, Harvard University, in villages across Papua, and at the South to South film festival in Indonesia, where the film Love Letter to the Soldier won the award for best documentary.
In August 2017 the Papua Film Festival was held in Merauke, Papua; the first independent film festival ever held in Papua. Almost 30 films were entered, 50 people participated in pre-festival production workshops, ten films were produced through youth focused workshops, and more than 700 people attended.