GDF co-organised the first ever Borneo Eco Film Festival held from 29 to 31 July 2011 in Sandakan, on the east coast of Sabah. An important part of the festival was the Community Filmmaking workshop titled SUARA (Voice, in the local Malay language), which was held on the third day of the festival. As part of sharing the Darwin experience in Ulu Papar, community researchers Raymond Sipanis, Jenny Sanem and Ephraem Lompoduk shared video-making methods and experiences with community members from the village of Sukau, Kinabatangan. The participants are attached with HUTAN, a grassroots non-profit organisation that works to develop and implement innovative solutions to conserve the orang-utan and other wildlife in Sabah, particular along the Kinabatangan river. This is the second community exchange with the community from Sukau – the first occurred in December 2010.
The foundation for community filmmaking was first laid down through peer sharing sessions by the community researchers from Ulu Papar who shared their own experiences in Participatory Video, a filmmaking technique that involves a community in the development of their own video. This was followed by hands on experience in filmmaking approaches and methods, from storyboarding to shooting to editing.
During the workshop, GDF community researchers had the opportunity to work with experts from the film industry, Chris Chong and Ikhwan Rivai, who were on hand to give professional tips on film-making. Also on-hand was Cypriot videographer Inanc Tekguc and community filmmaker Artison Mandawa from Palawan in the Philippines, sharing their experiences and filmmaking skills.
The crew from Ulu Papar, by learning the art of filmmaking, have used these skills to tell their story on land and resource issues in Ulu Papar, such as seen in ‘Searching for Solutions. Buayan-Kionop Participatory Video Series, Part II: Ethnobiological Research’, a video produced in 2009 by the Buayan-Kionop Community in association with Global Diversity Foundation, Insight UK and Sabah Parks. Passing on these skills enable participants to use this new and exciting channel to tell the stories of their lives in Sukau.