After much preparation the 1st screening of the Bengoh film sold over 70 DVDs -thus the sales and donation grossed over the 1st Rm thousand mark! Over 70 DVDs were sold at Rm12.00 each and a donation of Rm182.00 was received, grossing Rm1022.00, to kick start its donation drive to help oppressed and isolated Bengoh folks to instal a mini-hudro at their new re-settlement of their choice. The screening was attended by over 100 audiences-not bad for an afternoon time slot. Attendants from PKR -Lathefa Koya and Sivarasa, called for the DVD to be shown to all their party members so that they can pick up lessons from the political debcale for the party in the constituency examined in the film-Bengoh.
The film attempted to investigate why the bengoh voters, despite unhappy with the massive dislocations caused by the Bengoh dam, still returned the incumbent candidate with a big majority of over 3000 votes.
The film of 25min, directed by Joachim Leong, will be going on a road show with the Freedom Film Fest, an annual human rights film festival, to visit half a dozen towns in Malaysia, including in Sarawak. Made with a small budget of Rm6k, its production had to go through high dramas including the return of a film award by part of the original crews, a deportation of the producer from Sarawak and other challenges.
The film is intended to open eyes in wider world about the plight of the rural Sarawakians who remain the poorest citizens in the richest state in Malaysia. The lack of electricity and communication network keep them isolated and marginalised. The construction of major infrastructures in these isolated areas eg dam in Bengoh, would see them suffer in silence if not for their `discovery’ by outside groups. One group had helped the Bidayuh community to go to court to reclaim their NCR lands, and now another film is putting their plight on the world stage.
Screenings coming up:
Oct 7th(Friday):Ampang, KL, evening
Oct 8th(Sat): *Pusat Rakyat of Loyarburok, Bangsar(near to Malaysiakini office). 3 speakers from Sarawak will also speak about anti-dam campaign at the ensuing forum.
Oct 9th (Sun): Dewan Sri Pinang
Oct 29th: Kuching, Sarawak(Harbour View Hotel)
If there are any groups who are interested to organise screenings in your own locations you are welcome to contact us to arrange it or order a copy from us. Contact: 013-5900339(Ong BK)