EngageMedia Blog

Rolling with the Beats of Turning Tables Myanmar

by Kyalyi February 25, 2015

Why are divorced mothers constantly facing domestic abuse in Myanmar? Why do artists in the country still need freedom to express themselves? Why are millions of rural women struggling so much to make ends meet?

To help find the answers to these questions, Turning Tables utilizes music and film to provide excluded youth with a means to voice their present concerns and visions for a better future. And in this feature blogpost, we highlight three videos from their collection which are some of the latest additions in our ongoing work to curate and promote video content from Myanmar.

My Mother is Single (9 mins)

"He was cruel and bad to me, even though I loved him, he didn’t love me."

'My Mother is Single' is a heartfelt documentary which shows how difficult and rewarding a single Mother's journey is in equal measures. The film tells a personal story of domestic abuse and educates the public about issues affecting the lives of women in Myanmar using video and new media.


Freedom (5 mins)

“Let us ride the waves of freedom together!”

Putting a beat to Myanmar’s recent socio-political reforms, this song for "Freedom" was recorded at the Turning Tables Myanmar Studio in September 2013 and was performed by Mg Linnith, Zalat Phyu and Nay Myo Htun.

One of the notable quotes to the media by singer Zalat Phyu after the release of this song was, "I think right now, the situation is open like 80 percent, but we need 20 percent more. We can sing, but we cannot yet shout.”

The Good Daughter (8 mins)

“Getting married is like going to jail. Except it is worse because you can never get back outside.”

This short documentary highlights the struggles of millions of rural women in Myanmar in caring for their families as bread winners and house wives. 'The Good Daughter' was part of the official selection for the Human Rights Human Dignity Film Festival 2014.

Check out more amazing videos from Turning Tables and stay tuned for more films from our other Myanmar content partners in the weeks to come. And if you're keen to meet, share, and learn from filmmakers such as the ones who made the above videos, apply to join our Southeast Asia Video Camp happening in Myanmar in June 2015!

Papuan Voices II: Pemutaran di Wamena Papua

by yerry February 17, 2015
Yayasan Teratai Hati Papua (YTHP) bekerjasama dengan Engage Media melaksanakan kegiatan Pemutaran Film Papua Voices II di Wamena Kabupaten Jayawijaya Papua. Kegiatan ini sebagai lanjutan dari kerjasama untuk produksi Papuan Voices II yang dilaksanakan pada tahun 2013-2014.

YTHP sudah melakukan pemutaran di 2 tempat yaitu di kampung Hepuba dan Welesi, Wamena, Papua. Pemutaran berikutnya akan dilakukan di Megapuran dan Wouma. Kegiatan pemutaran melibatkan filmmaker yang terlibat dalam produksi Papuan Voices II ini. Di setiap pemutaran, satu film di Papuan Voices II diputar diikuti komentar dan diskusi dan kemudian dilanjutkan film yang lain. Dari pengalaman pemutaran yang sudah dilaksanakan, menarik melihat masyarakat Papua merefleksikan pengalaman hidup mereka dengan pengalaman hidup masyarakat Papua di tempat lain.

YTHP juga membuka peluang bagi Distrik, Kampung, kelompok-kelompok yang ingin melakukan pemutaran, di mana YTHP akan hadir dan melaksanakan pemutaran dan diskusi di tempat mereka. Kegiatan ini menjadi tanggungjawab bagian Pendidikan Kritis di YTHP.

Video-video Papuan Voices Vol. II juga bisa anda simak dengan lengkap di papuanvoices.net.

Papuan Voices II: A Papuan School in the Indonesian Republic

by yerry February 19, 2015
One of most critical problems in Papua is the lack of education. And it's not only about access to it.

“Their minds were fully occupied thinking about angry teachers, that's what confuses them. Although there are some schools that do have quality teachers, there are others that don't... those kinds of teachers makes the children feel unnecessarily afraid and unable to be progressive”. David Wonsiwor

A video from our Papuan Voices II collection titled 'Sekolah Papua' or 'Papuan School', discusses the different practices in education and a gap in the Indonesian education system's application in Papua. All the effort that has been put in so far has not resulted in empowering the Papuans in their own land.

In 'Sekolah Papua', the educator, David Wonsiwor, asks how the Indonesian education system first took form. He questions many details in it that have been put in place and regards them as unnecessary for a positive learning experience.


For example, on whether lessons in school should come with lots of homework, his suggestion was to remove homework entirely as he feels that it becomes an extra burden for children. He added that children are unable to enjoy their free time to the maximum because of homework and that it also creates a climate of fear among students.

Along with seven other videos, 'Sekolah Papua' is available with English subtitles for streaming and download at papuanvoices.net.

Papuan Voices II: Hans and his Struggle to Save the Karon

by yerry February 19, 2015
The lack of access to health services continues to ail the people of West Papua, and especially those who live in remote areas, such as the Karon.

It has been reported that a huge 15% of the Special Autonomy budget for West Papua is allocated to the health sector. However, till today, public health services haven't shown enough improvement and people are feeling lesser cared for by the government.

The total number of institutions for health services in Papua is very small, with few medical staff and a severe lack of much needed medical supplies. This has caused an acutely high rate of maternal death, and a sky-rocketing, uncontrollable number of persons infected with disease causing mass death.

Featured in 'Save The Karon', one of the eight videos in Papuan Voices II, is the priest Hans Mambrasar, who has for decades served the Karon tribe living in eight villages around the Tambraw mountain, Papua Barat. On one occassion, when the village of Jokbijoker was inflicted by a deadly disease that killed dozens, Hans had to walk for days to bring people over to another village where local health services were located.

Hans has repeatedly asked the local government to build local health centers in these villages and to provide the human resources to operate them. But even up till the time this film was produced, his requests remain unanswered.

Find out more about Hans and his work for the Karon in 'Save The Karon' at papuanvoices.net.

Papuan Voices II: Mama Mariode

by Dhyta Caturani February 05, 2015
“Kita harus berpikir ke depan untuk kamu dan anak cucu kamu. Besok cari makan dimana? Berkebun dimana? Mencari kayu untuk bangun rumah dimana? Sebagai orang tua, kami berpikir untuk masa depanmu. Itu sebabnya, mama dan bapak melindungi hutan kita yang tersisa ini.”


Kalimat diatas diucapkan oleh Mariode Malak kepada anak-anaknya. Salah satu persoalan besar di Papua saat ini adalah menghilangnya tanah-tanah adat yang dirampas oleh perusahaan-perusahaan besar dan diubah menjadi kebun-kebun kelapa sawit yang tidak memberikan manfaat bagi penduduk asli. Lebih jauh, persoalan ini menyebabkan masalah-masalah mendasar yang terkait dengan ketahan pangan penduduk setempat, hilangnya mata pencaharian dan tersingkirnya mereka dari proses pembangungan yang menghargai martabat mereka sebagai pemilik tanah-tanah adat tersebut.

Di tengah hiruk pikuk percepatan eksploitasi sumber daya alam atas nama pembangunan, Mariode Malak berjuang melawan proyek-proyek raksasa ini dengan tujuan untuk mempertahankan lahan-lahan hutan yang tersisa dengan pikiran yang sangat sederhana, yakni keberlangsungan hidup anak-anak dan cucunya.

Kisah Mariode Malak ini terangkum dalam sebuah film pendek berdurasi 4:51 berjudul “Mama Mariode.” Film pendek ini akan menjadi salah satu dari delapan film pendek dalam kompilasi Papuan Voices Vol. II yang bisa disaksikan di website engagemedia.

Papuan Voices II Launch Report

by Dhyta Caturani February 04, 2015

Papuan Voices II Launch Report

After over a year of hard work, the first public viewing of the eight short films of Papuan Voices took place at Bentara Budaya in Yogyakarta with a very special guest in attendance: Dr Mia from the film ‘Mutiara Dalam Noken’ (Pearl in the Noken).

Dr. Mia has spent her life working and serving the people of Papua. She shared her experience working to uplift health services in remote areas of Papua. Her inspiring talk even moved some of the members of the audience to tears.

PV2 Launch

More than 100 people turned up for the premiere, which also hosted a discussion with Tri Agus Susanto, founder of National Solidarity for Papua, and Zely Ariane, a researcher and activist focusing on Papuan issues.

Zely recently launched #PapuaItuKita (#PapuaIsUs) campaign and spoke about the importance of alternative media such as Papuan Voices as media often deliberately frames Papuan issues in a biased way. Both speakers agreed that the films, although they didn’t cover everything about Papua, they really captured Papua beyond what people often think about Papua.

The evening was with an acoustic performance by Ilalang Zaman and Papuan students in Jogja. Ilalang Zaman is independent music band that focus on social issues in their music, including Papua.

Papuan Voices will be screened at other locations in the upcoming months. Please check our calendar for updates. If you would like host screenings in your own communities, please get in touch with us.

RightsCon: Apply to join the Responsible Data Forum

by Becky Hurwitz February 02, 2015
Technological tools and innovations have dramatically altered the landscape of human rights documentation. But the use of these tools and strategies also introduces new risks and challenges, which are little understood in practice or in theory. This Responsible Data Forum will address such issues in this hands on, collaborative event, structured towards concrete and practical responses to responsible data challenges. Participants will leave the forum with a stronger understanding of the responsible data issues at play when documenting human rights enjoyment, protection and violations.

Responsible Data Forum

In the days before and after RightsCon, other organizations in the field of internet rights will be hosting events. Applications are now open for the Responsible Data Forum on Human Rights Documentation.

To apply, please fill out the application form by 6 February 2015. The event will be hands on, collaborative, and structured towards concrete and practical responses to responsible data challenges.

The engine room and its partners HURIDOCS, Benetech, Amnesty International and the Center for Economic and Social Rights are currently seeking participants for a Responsible Data Forum on Human Rights Documentation. This RDF will be held just outside of Manila on 21-22 March 2015, on the fringes of RightsCon Southeast Asia.

Who: Approximately 20-25 people working to document human rights violations and protections: front-line activists and human rights defenders, members of the international training and support community, international and national human rights researchers. Organizational partners coordinating this event include HURIDOCS, Benetech, Amnesty International, Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) and the engine room.

Technological tools and innovations have dramatically altered the landscape of human rights documentation. Access to tools and the ability to collect, manage and disseminate information with relatively little technical training promise powerful opportunities for human rights defenders. But the use of these tools and strategies also introduces new risks and challenges, which are little understood in practice or in theory.

  • Anonymity: When does data need to be anonymized at collection, and how does this change in context where different data sets can be easily mixed to re-identify individuals? When does identifying information get automatically collected by digital technologies?
  • Inclusivity: In what circumstances might affected communities become marginalized in the process of data collection, analysis and use? How can human rights defenders identify and mitigate this risk?
  • Red Lines: Some information should never be documented. What are those red lines? How do human rights defenders identify these red lines in practice? How to the account for the long term consequences of data that lives forever?
  • Open Human Rights Data: When does publicly releasing data on human rights strengthen accountability, and when does it risk increasing marginalization, supporting discriminatory policies and enabling violations. How can human rights defenders tell the difference?
  • Verification: In a world where anyone can collect and publish evidence or testimonial about human rights violations , how can the information obtained be verified? How do researchers include verification in efficient data management and advocacy? How do these challenges change in dangerous or repressive contexts and how do they coexist with the need to tell an urgent story?
  • Structure and standards: Is there a benefit to adhere to common protocols and/or commitments for the collection and management of information? Is there a benefit on adhering to common standards for data storage? Could this increase responsible sharing with enhanced source protection?

These are only a few of the challenges now faced by activists, researchers, lawyers, civil society and technology providers. This Responsible Data Forum will address such issues in the specific contexts in which participants are working. The event will be hands on, collaborative, and structured towards concrete and practical responses to responsible data challenges. Participants will leave the forum with a stronger understanding of the responsible data issues at play when documenting human rights enjoyment, protection and violations. Forum outputs may include:

  • Developing guidelines for developing responsible documentation strategies
  • Overview of tools and platforms, their comparative strengths and weaknesses
  • Practical resources for managing responsible data challenges in the field
  • Identifying good practice for responsibly managing and deploying human rights data

RightsCon is the premier summit series bringing together civil society, engineers, activists, lawyers, companies, and governments on the subject of the Internet and human rights. RightsCon happens for the first time in Southeast Asia in Manila, The Philippines, from March 24-25, 2015.

Applications Open for the SEA Video Camp in Myanmar

by Seelan Palay April 08, 2015

SEA Video Camp Myanmar

EngageMedia is pleased to announce a Video Camp for Southeast Asian filmmakers in Myanmar this June. The camp is aimed to be a space for Burmese video and filmmakers to meet, interact and collaborate with video and filmmakers from the rest of Southeast Asia. We are aiming to create an interactive learning and collaboration environment for three days, where film and video makers can learn from each other about the following topics:

  • Effective distribution strategies within our region and for different communities
  • Video security issues and strategies
  • The use of video for social change and advocacy
  • Subtitling of videos in Southeast Asian languages

Beyond these topics, we  will open the agenda of the camp to participants to make sure that the event is relevant to everyone. This is to make sure that the camp will be an interactive, engaging and collaborative event. Selected participants can propose and lead sessions about topics they want to learn, share and discuss.

When is it?
We're blocking off the first week for June. This will be a three-day camp which will happen sometime between 1 – 5 June 2015. The specific dates for this will be announced when we've finalised the venue.

Where is it?

If you are interested in joining this event, these following criteria should describe you:

  • You are from Southeast Asian countries
  • You have made films or videos. Documentary on social and environmental justice issues is a plus.
  • You are able to communicate in English (working language is English with some Burmese translations for participants from Myanmar)
  • You are willing to join the whole program in the camp for three days.

If you are eligible and want to participate, please go to the online application form. Applications will be open until 1 March 2015.

EngageMedia will support 15 participants from Myanmar and 15 participants from outside Myanmar. We will cover travel and accommodation costs for selected participants. We also welcome few self-funded individuals to join the event (please state this in your application from).

We want to see you in our camp, send your application before 1 March 2015 or contact us if you have any other queries!

Papuan Voices II Filmmakers: Agus Kalalu

by yerry January 29, 2015

Name: Agustinus Kalalu
Age: 31
Location: West Papua

Agustinus Kalalu or Agus is a talented videographer who is currently actively involved in Papuan Voices in Sorong, Papua Barat. Together with his colleagues, he is also working closely with the indigenous communities' struggle to stop the destruction brought by palm oil companies in Papua Barat.

1. Please tell us about the situation in the area that you work in.

The situation is getting worse for the indigenous people in Papua Barat. I'm currently working with the Moi people from around the city and district of Sorong, especially some of the big families that live on indigenous land that has been occupied by palm oil companies.

The biggest of these companies is PT Henrison Inti Persada (HIP). They have been occupying really vast areas of Moi land. That is destroying the living spaces of indigenous people, which have been guarded by their ancestors for many generations.

2. Why did Papuan Voices II come about and what are its activities now?

Papuan Voices II was created based on the idea that it would become a creative space for young Papuans. For now, we are still planning on what to do next after this round video production.

3. What do you think about the use of video to create social change?

With video, we can show the public many human rights and socio-economic violations. We can push for change from the central and regional government, and also from parties that have shares and bonds in PT Henrison Inti Persada, for example.

As far as the central and regional governments go, we demand that they issue more laws to protect indigenous people and our natural resources.

4. What's your plan after this in relation to Papuan Voices and the community around it? And what will you do with all of the videos in this collection?

We will conduct our own screenings, and all of our videos will be screened at the National Gathering of Indigenous People in March 2015 in Sorong. There is also a plan also to show the videos at the UNIPA campus in Manokwari.

We know as well that there will be screenings held in Jakarta and Yogyakarta, and possibly in Australia and the Netherlands.

5. When non-Papuans see your film, what kind of reaction do you hope to get from them and what actions do you hope people take?

We hope that people can help us push the Indonesian government at central and local levels to give better protection to the indigenous people of Papua. We need to work to create partnerships with the national and international media to widen our distribution networks and strengthen our capacity, especially in areas of video production.

Papuan Voices II: Suku Karon dan Persoalan Kesehatan di Papua

by Dhyta Caturani February 11, 2015
Salah satu problem terbesar di Papua adalah akses atas layanan kesehatan yang nyaris tidak ada, terutama bagi masyarakat yang tinggal di daerah-daerah pedalaman.

Disebutkan 15% dari dana Otsus yang sangat besat yang dikucurkan oleh pemerintah dialokasikan untuk kesehatan, namun hingga saat ini kondisi pelayanan kesehatan untuk penduduk Papua masih dirasa sangat kurang. Jumlah puskesmas yang masih sangat minim, jumlah tanaga medis yang juga sangat sedikit, tak tersedianya obat-obatan yang dibutuhkan menimbulkan berbagai problem kesehatan seperti tingkat kematian ibu dan anak yang sangat tinggi, prevalansi HIV/AIDS yang juga sangat tinggi, serta seringnya terjadi wabah penyakit yang menimbulkan kematian.

Salah satu film dalam kompilasi Papuan Voices II menceritakan tentang Hans Mambrasar yang melayani masyarakat suku Karon di delapan desa di Kabupaten Tambrauw, Papua Barat. Saat desa Jokbijoker dilanda wabah penyakit yang membunuh puluhan warga di beberapa desa, Hans menempuh perjalanan kaki selama berhari-hari untuk membawa warga yang sakit ke desa yang memiliki klinik kesehatan.

Hans Mambrasar telah beberapa kali meminta pemerintah untuk membangun pusat layanan kesehatan dan menyediakan tenaga medis namun hingga film ini selesai diproduksi, harapan itu belum terlaksana.

Film pendek yang menceritakan tentang persoalan kesehatan di satu kabupaten di Papua Barat ini akan menjadi salah satu film yang akan diluncurkan pada akhir Januari 2015 di Yogyakarta dan diputar di beberapa kota lainnya.