From August 26 to August 31, EngageMedia toured to the city of Makassar, on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, with a series of workshops as well as a film screenings. The tour aimed to improve the video distribution and promotion skills of local activists and independent film makers. As the tour was held during Ramadhan, which is an important time for many Indonesians, EngageMedia staff and participants designed workshops that would work well during the fasting schedule ... more
EngageMedia.org has upgraded to the latest release of Plumi video sharing system, version 3.1. The upgrade brings a number of additional features and fixes, most importantly improvements to our "Callout" feature, better "transcoding" of videos and fixes to the Indonesian translation of the site ... more
EngageMedia at Open VideoAn EngageMedia team is headed to New York in late September for the Open Video Conference and Open Subtitles Design Summit. Both events will bring together key players in their respective fields, with EngageMedia presenting in a range of sessions ... more
EngageMedia Open Strategy WorkspaceWe're opening up our strategic planning to you! If you've had an interest in our organisation, or perhaps you've participated in one of our workshops and events and would like to contribute to how we evolve, join us in our "Open Strategy Workspace"... more
EM experiments with BurnstationEngageMedia is designing a new Burnstation system. The system will allow users to create DVDs of video content from Plumi sites for offline distribution. We have started building a prototype to test the concept ... more
Creative Commons Roadshow, AustraliaCreative Commons Australia, a close associate of EngageMedia, invites you to their national conference 2.0. In the past Creative Commons Australia has held national conferences in Brisbane, where they are headquartered. This year they are taking ccAustralia to a city near you! EngageMedia's Andrew Garton spoke at the Melbourne event... more
Ilmu Festival in JakartaILMU is a two day hip hop and electronic music festival bringing together some of Australia and Indonesia's finest music communities to be held September 18-21. ILMU has invited four established Australian artists (Urthboy, Ozi Batla, Elgusto & Luke Dubs) from hip hop label Elefant Traks to collaborate with the Indonesian hip hop community, including EngageMedia's Nova Ruth ... more
Tarini Manchanda's deliberations on the water supply in Delhi started when she was a little girl. In Groundwater Up she explores the complex causes of Delhi's current water crisis, and some possible solutions.
What are we doing here? T4RA Workshop @ SEL 49
Short video of EngageMedia's T4RA Climate Workshop in Jakarta. Participants included representatives from Javin, Greenpeace, Jatam, Air Putih, ProFauna and Forum Lenteng.
ADIDAS: Stop Wearing Us Out!
Suparjo made Adidas shoes for 8 years before losing his job for his participation in a union strike asking for better wages. Here he tells the story of why he has decided to take a stand.
EngageMedia now has a blog. Watch this space, more coming soon.
Even though both cities are located in Malaysia, the situation regarding migrants, refugees and stateless people issues are vastly different. In Kuala Lumpur, the perspective is more straight forward and we were able to collaborate with many more organizations that are working within the issue. In Kota Kinabalu, however, due to a long history of migration of Filipinos to Sabah and the recent Lahad Datu incident, the issue is much more sensitive and we had to deal it with delicately so as not to cause any uneasiness among the communities there.
After publishing an “incriminating” poem involving a former president, Maung Saung Kha was arrested for online defamation and criminal insult on 5 November in 2017. The poem took the attention of a staff member of then-president Then Sein, who immediately ordered his arrest.
Myanmar has a stringent history of denying its citizenry their freedom of expression through its policies. In fact, Saung Kha’s arrest was made possible by the Article 66(D) of the 2013 Telecommunications Law.
Eventually, due to numerous protests, along with the old promise of freedom by National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi, the Telecommunications Law was revised in 2016. However, these revisions still fall short of the freedom the Myanmar people were hoping for.
Are You Ready is a 2-minute animated film that provides an overview of the Article 66(D) and its impact on the freedom of speech of the Myanmar people. Providing a short historical review of the past cases under the article, the film aims to showcase how the article is prone to abuse by authorities who would want to avoid and repress dissent. Moreover, it hopes to reiterate that while the article has been used to penalise dissenters, its ambiguity can also be used to target ordinary people.
Are You Ready premiered last 15 December in Yangon and has been screened at the Myanmar Digital Rights Forum. Under a Creative Commons license, the film is available for download for any purpose whatsoever.
On 24 May 2016, Andrew Lowenthal, Director, and myself, Communications and Outreach Coordinator of EngageMedia, attended the 4th installment of Good Pitch Europe in Stockholm, Sweden. Good Pitch, which was originally developed by Britdoc and the Sundance Documentary Institute in 2008, aims to amplify the impact of documentary films that address social and environmental issues.
Good Pitch events are different to standard pitching forums where filmmakers ask for financial support and look for distribution avenues. The events forge partnerships between filmmakers and a wide range of stakeholders, including NGOS, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, corporate partners, broadcasters, educators and policy-makers.
This was my first Good Pitch experience, which I’ve heard so much about over recent years through the global Video for Change community and through some of the acclaimed films it has supported, such as Citizen Four, No Fire Zone and The Look of Silence.
As Good Pitch2 is being hosted for the first time in Southeast Asia by In-Docs next year, and which EngageMedia is an outreach partner of, it was especially useful for me to learn from the organizers and participants, and witness the process first-hand. After groups of production teams had presented their projects, which were mostly 80% completed, foundations, media outlets, organizations and even companies such as Google and Vine pledged financial and distribution support. It would be amazing to see how we could get similar support for critical films from the region.
However, the one-day event itself is just a fraction of what goes into the work for Good Pitch. Leading up to March 2017, five films will be selected to receive mentorship such as impact and pitching workshops, outreach support which includes connecting the films to hundreds of potential allies that can help them reach wider (or more precise) audiences and ultimately aiding them to produce more real and lasting impact. And we’re looking very forward to being a part of making all that happen!
KITLV or Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Carribean Studies held a seminar on EngageMedia's Papuan Voices: video and empowerment on 27 November 2015 in Leiden, Netherlands. The seminar attended by around 20 people who were mostly researchers and PhD students, screened 3 films from Papuan Voices collections of volume 1 and 2. Fridus Steijlen, a senior researcher of KITLV who hosted the seminar opened the seminar with a brief description about EngageMedia and its Papuan Voices project. The films showed were Love Letter to the Soldier, Wam-ena, and Pearl in the Noken.
Hendriati Trianita, former Program Manager of EngageMedia and Ligia Giai, a Papuan origin and Master student in Global History at Leiden University were discussants of the films. Trianita talked about the process of making the films, and Giai talked about how she was impressed by the “Pearl in the Noken” film because it shows a success story of Papuans.
The discussion afterward was lively as there were many questions and comments from participants. All participants agreed that the films were very good, have strong messages about everyday lives and the fact that they were made by Papuans themselves added the values. The discussion went around three main themes; the content and relevance of the films (and the project) to the people, video as a tool for empowerment and how these videos are used by the communities, and the process of the film. As for the content, the comments were that “Love Letter” contains strong political message but described in a very subtle way, while “Pearl” is very good as it does not show a 'victim' that most advocacy films do. “Wam-ena, which tells a story about the importance of pigs in the life cycle of Papuans can consider not only as 'cultural story' but it shows more complicated socio-economics values of people in Wamena (and other parts of Indonesia). One of participants asked how these videos can reach the people where the films were made, whether they happened to talk about the films and how was their reaction. Trianita, who was involved in the second phase of the Papuan Voices project said that the films were screened in villages and communities and got positive response and feedback. She also explained about the process of the production, from story development workshop, shooting, editing workshop and editing phase.
It was a fruitful discussion and most participants were impressed by the films. It is good that advocacy videos like Papuan Voices are engaged more with academics. One of the researcher said that the films are something that researchers have been thinking about: how to engage their knowledge of ethnography into something that can directly reach (and then empower) people. (Nita)
note: all Papuan Voices films and its study guide can be downloaded from Papuan Voices website.
Following a previous screening of Papuan Voices, our collection of advocacy videos on West Papua, to students and academics at the Asia Research Institute, students from the Tembusu College at the National University of Singapore invited us to share at their self-organized screening of the films on campus in February.
The session began with EngageMedia's Seelan Palay giving a short presentation about the social and political context of the province, the goals and processes in carrying out the project, and the ongoing work for outreach, engagement and impact.
A selection of five films addressing issues ranging from environmental preservation to healthcare to women's rights were shown, specifically Mama Mariode, Save the Karon, Pearl in the Noken,and School of Papua from the second volume, and the award-winning Love Letter to the Soldier from the first.
During the lively discussion afterwards, most of the students' questions revolved around the methodologies we used in developing the project and making it participatory. One of the Indonesian students in attendance expressed how upsetting it was that they, as concerned citizens about the situation in West Papua, felt powerless to do anything about it.
There was a lot of appreciation for the work that we're doing, and we were equally inspired by the enthusiasm of the students. We look forward to presenting more our of projects there.
After we screened our first screening at Yangon on 26 Oct with Phanteeyar , we forwarded moving on our next screenings at Mandalay and Sintgu ( Lat Pan Hla ) on Nov 10, 11 and 12 with Metta Campaign and Rainbow Organization Sintgu.
Over 300 audiences for 3 screenings at Mandalay & Sintgu make more effective discussion times with filmmaker Lei Lei Aye for her women rights film “My Mother is Single’ and her awarded film of & Proud Film Festival ‘Soul Mate’. We also screened our top documentary film “Sound of Silence ‘’ which won in Spain Gerona Film festival and ‘’I wanna go to school’’, awarded film of Human Rights & Human Dignity Film Festival.
“This screenings has revolutionized our thoughts about minorities,” said Transgender woman, Ma Phyo from Rainbow Organization Sintgu. “Through these video interviews, we get a deeper understanding our right and can know peace building more effectively with current Myanmar situation.”
With the New Year season quickly approaching, we have a plan to move on for our two final screenings at Yangon on Dec 14 and 15 and so that you can visit and discuss with our filmmakers & our engagemedia team.
Ready to watch Minority and peace film?
One morning, Suu Sha Shinn Thant, a transwoman, was woken up with news that her photos were uploaded to an adult site, along with an offer for sex work–without her consent. Not knowing who was behind the act and without any policy that could protect her from such cases, Suu Sha Shinn Thant has not taken any legal action. As these photos are continuously being shared to several social networking groups up until today, she is learning to live with the fact that she can be harassment anytime online because of her gender.
Her experience mirrors that of Ma Ma May Htwal, a photojournalist who was sexually harassed through her Facebook account; and Zay Lin Mon, a Punjabi student-activist who were threatened, defamed and accused of being part of the terrorist group ISIS because he proudly wears a turban.
Suu Sha Shinn Thant, Ma Ma May Htwal and Zay Lin Mon’s stories show us that any person who uses the internet can be a victim of online harassment in Myanmar. As part of the minority, they have expressed deep mistrust in these online platforms that do not acknowledge their basic human rights. Apart from the controversial Telecommunications Law, there is no effective policy that protects them and penalises harassers.
It’s Time to Talk is a 9-minute film that features Suu Sha Shinn Thant, Ma Ma May Htwal and Zay Lin Mon’s struggles as members of the minority in their own country. The film takes us on a day in their lives and how they respond to the never-ending instances of online harassment. It also sought the guidance of the International Commission of Jurists and Myanmar ICT for Development Organisation to outline effective action plans for those who have had similar experiences. It seeks to archive and feature the current internet situation in Myanmar. Finally, it calls for solidarity among civil society to demand a safer and more accessible internet to everyone in Myanmar.
It’s Time to Talk premiered last 15 December in Yangon and was screened at the Myanmar Digital Rights Forum. Under a Creative Commons license, the film is available for download for any purpose whatsoever.