Talking the Identity of Papuan with Festival Film Papua

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Departing from the screening of four films from the program Doc-Talk, which titled “Programming on Table: Festival Film Papua, Festival Film Dokumenter (FFD) 2018 also took part in holding a discussion with Ottow Wanma, coordinator of Papuan Voices Tambrauw, West Papua Area, and Imanuel Hindom, a member of Papuan Voices Keerom Area, as the organizer of Festival Film Papua (FFP). Located at Auditorium IFI-LIP on Wednesday (12/12), four films screened were curated by FFP, namely: RPP (Resep Pendidikan Papua) (2018), Dipenjara (2018), Generasi Kayu Lapuk (2018), and Tete Manam (2018).

FFP is an annual agenda of Papuan Voices and had been carried out two times. Papuan Voices itself is a film community formed by the young Papuans in 2011 with the basic idea to introduce their works and campaign the issues of Papuan nature and society. Another agenda of Papuan Voices is a documentary production workshop and distribute the films to other independent screenings.

“There has been a lot of news about Papua, but we’ve never felt any change to the Papuan society. No peace and justice served in Papuan grounds. We thought, these things might happen because the narratives circled in the media weren’t written by us: the Papuan,” said Ottow.

The four films confronted the audience with problems in the relation between Indonesia and Papua. Dipenjara, a work by Strakky Yalli told the story of Yanto Arwekeon, one of many Papuan activists which had been arrested without any litigation in his own land, and this story is important to be discussed. In this 9-minute film, the nation only presents through Yanto’s monolog. A monolog which captured how Indonesia is present only through government’s instrument, in this context is the police and military, spreading terror and fear. Forcing the narrative of identity, who and what is Orang Asli Papua (OAP)—in English, Papuan Native.

A coercion which in the end could we see as an attempt to perpetuate economic inequality, was captured by Rizal Lani in the film Generasi Kayu Lapuk. How development not only confiscate living space but also force a particular way to live to the OAP. It includes stealing in their own land, through their stories of being forced as an illegal woodcutter post the construction of Trans-Papua way. Generasi Kayu Lapuk showed the flaws of interpreting development concept which often is negligent to see humans around them.

Then, how are we supposed to view OAP? Yosep Levi in RPP (Resep Pendidikan Papua) offered his idea through the story of Tri Ari Santi, a teacher who implemented a contextual education in her school, Saminage Elementary. RPP (Resep Pendidikan Papua) became an antithesis to the colonialist logic inherited from New Order in how we’re supposed to view the land and society of Papua. The figure of Tri Ari Santi presented and nullify any identity formed by a political-economy power. Refusing to view Papuan within its stereotypes which distort the fact that they are also humans.

Tete Manam tried to portray how OAP are also ordinary human beings, through the story of Frans Manam, an elderly in West Biak and his desire to go back to Jayapura where he used to work. The inner conflict he suffered couldn’t be separated with the nation’s political context behind his decision to leave Jayapura. Siska Manam, the director, served an intimate story but it became very estranged to us who is supposed to be familiar with the racist stereotype and discrimination of OAP.

Ultimately, the presence of Papuan Voices become important as the effort to present a rivaling narrative, re-snatching the public space from colonialist logic. Via the agendas they have; the execution of FFP, film production workshop, to the distribution of films. Everything was done in one big objective to introduce themselves as OAP. Reading things that happened around them, then write and record it; instead of bowing before the “righteous” narrative under the excuse of development and imprison threats.

“Here, we took the role to give supports towards all Papuan young generation, to show what being a Papuan is to the OAP, also to the public. How to make the films of Papua are made by Papuans, and to make others to watch it,” said Imanuel.

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