Sunday, August 14, 2011

High drama in the making of the Bengoh film

Bengoh Dam did not stopped return of incumbent candidate-WHY?
April 16th: 10th Sarawak state election results out-Bengoh returned incumbent candidate who supported the dam;
End of April : a proposal of the Bengoh film was submitted to KOMAS, organiser of the Freedom Film Fest where there is a competition for the best film proposals. Top 3 film proposals would be granted Rm6000.00 each for making the film with technical assistance from KOMAS thrown in; Bengoh film would be the 1st film proposal from Sarawak;

*Bengoh film won the FFF film proposal competition!
*Within weeks 2 members of the Bengoh film crews inexplicably left the team and returned the award to
*Luckily the team managed to secure another fund of similar amount for making the film; The crews reorganised and set off again to start the film shoot;
*May 23rd: 1st expedition to Bengoh, with 3 crew and 1 local guide; Security guard by the dam builder stopped us at the guard post and require us to apply for permission from JKR;
Ong (white Tee) was picked up by Immigration officers

*May 24th: JKR permission was obtained; At the Secutiy Guard post at Bengoh 10 Immigration Department officials came in several vehicles to pick up a crew Ong BK and sent him out of Sarawak without giving any reason; The remaining 2 crew Ooi and Ng continued the trip to the Bengoh villages with Kitak, the local guide;
Weng Yow is 1st on the right.

*Weng Yow and Joachim went on 2nd expedition to Bengoh and did the major part of the interviews with the villagers in the 4 affected villages; Simo from Kg Rejoi and Bodui from Kg Bojong helped as guides; It is no mean feat to travel to the various villages-they are reachable only through hours of walking....or by helicopter if you can afford!
*Subsequently Niloh from Kuching went to Bojong village to do supplementary interviews and shooting of life in the village; then she also interviewed the lawyer for the villagers See Chee How, who want to challenge the state government for taking away their NCR land in the construction of the dam; She also shot Kampong Semadang where the resettlement were to be located;
Bodui ,1st from the right; Niloh, 2nd from Right, after release.

July 9th: 2 Bengoh villagers Simo from Kampong Rejoi and Bodui from Kampong Bojong, joined other Sarawakian community activists to attend the Bersih rally in KL; Bodui and Niloh were among those arrested;
* After many tries Joachim managed to interview the 1st candidate of the Bengoh election -Willie from PKR;
* Lee Zhi Eng from Bintulu joined the crew and did a wonderful animation for the the Bengoh film, showing how Bengoh's village get submerged by water.... 
The day of the big flood  is getting closer

*Joachim struggling to edit the film while we try to get interviews from other candidates and collect other material for the film's editing; Some Bidayuh music was among the collection!
*Promotional blog `See Bengoh while it is still dry' went live; Bengoh adopted a Bidayuh language film title: Ulu Bengoh Darom Piin' (Bidayuh for `Upper Bengoh Under-water'); a promotional poster is also in the work; Major part of the proceeds from the film will go towards the villagers who move to higher grounds from the dam, rather than move to official resettlement site far from their original homes;

*Bengoh film to be launched together with other films at the 8th Freedom Film Fest. The films will be shown in a road show to PJ(Oct 1&2), Penang(Oct 8&9), Johor Baru(Oct 22nd) and Kuching(Oct 29). Watch out for venues.


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