I am sitting at home on the farm, contemplating our next trip to Timor Leste. We still need to raise the money to even get there but I know in my bones we are going.
I love it that the building of the Women’s and Youth Centre we raised over $20,000 for, is all set to commence in April. How wonderful to be there for the 8 weeks of construction to capture on film this huge achievement.
I have been hearing so much lately about all sorts of people doing incredible projects all over the globe.
I think what Change the World can really offer is the opportunity to show these giant leaps forward to an enormous audience through the power of film, be it on television, in cinemas, through travelling roadshows and online through our website and other channels.
We will really dig in and get the history of the places we go to, get to know the locals we are working alongside and hear their point of view about how they see the world.
We’ll explore their country from top to bottom and in the case of Timor Leste that has already been a truly amazing privilege.
In July last year I joined a women’s motorcycle and 4WD tour. I saw the countryside first hand. Both the beauty and the devastation. That is what motivated me to have the fundraiser once we got back to Melbourne.
It was not all beer and skittles, as they say. First I fell off my motorbike and hurt myself, ouch! Then I found I was retaining so much fluid I had basically doubled in size, not pretty! Then to add insult to injury my bed exploded one night during an ill conceived cuddling session with the hubby, again not pretty and ouch!
Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on our progress.
Bye for now.
Mark Grose, Managing Director, Skinnyfish Music and Ego Lemos (Timor’s famous musician, songwriter, permaculturalist, and community development worker) had a dream to create a new annual cultural exchange between Australia and Timor-Leste known as D-Tour.
To help them realise thsi dream and get this message out to the world, Change the World created a promotional video to help them realise this dream.
The dream was realised on Saturday 17thSeptember 2011. The launch of D’Tour has been hailed an amazing success as local Timor-Leste musician and permaculture activist Ego Lemos together with the R&B boys from the Northern Territory B2M, rocked Dili’s Mercado Lama in front of a local crowd of 3,000 on Saturday 17thSeptember 2011.
From the moment B2M arrived in Timor-Leste to meet Ego Lemos and his 200-strong gathering of Timorese volunteers to kick off the first ever D’Tour concert, a powerful connection between two indigenous groups was clearly being forged. Throughout the 5 days of workshops, school visits, cultural exchange and music collaboration – which culminated in a free concert broadcast live on national TV to an audience of over 150,000 in both East and West Timor – Tiwi Island’s B2M had their first opportunity to engage and collaborate with their nearest overseas neighbours.
Exchanging stories of trial to triumph, and of the constant need to defer to the past, deal honestly with the present, & shape the future; they discovered and explored the shared experiences of two remote communities and the potential lessons they had to offer the broader community through the global language of music. The message: Care for the Land, Care for the People, Care for the Future.
Under the stars on a warm Dili evening, Nobel Peace Laureate, Timor-Leste President and D’Tour’s Honorary Patron, HE Dr José Ramos Horta, arrived by mini-moke to officially open the event. Delivering a rousing endorsement of the event’s theme, he urged audiences everywhere, as individuals, to dare to make a difference.
D’Tour’s International Patron, HE Kirsty Sword-Guzmão, gave a welcome address and the Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Miles Armitage, joined the line up of dignitaries who all acknowledged the importance of this event for both countries.
I’ve been on this planet long enough to see some pretty cool technology changes, but none so cool as the current DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera line up. On my last two trips to Timor I took my new and already ‘trusty’ Canon 5D Mark 11 camera with all the trappings. It’s true to say that housed in my Red Rock Rig it looks like it’s on steroids.
Here’s my take on the camera and it’s operation in a pretty wild environment like Timor Leste.
Depth of field! You have got to love this camera with it’s full size sensor delivering stunning video that looks like it was shot on an HD camera in the $200,000 league!
Colour! The richness of the colours makes everything ‘sing’. Even with the ISO up to 1000 the camera delivers sharp, rich, simply beautiful pictures.
Versatility! There seems to be a ‘workaround’ for everything this camera may lack in the video department. Okay, the audio sucks with the ‘piss ant’ mini phono input, however with a little bit of a fiddle with my H4N Zoom digital audio recorder that takes XLR inputs, I seem to be able to get more than acceptable results from any shotgun and or lapel mics.
1080p Video! Yep, this is where the little camera shines. The quality that comes out the back end is sensational to say the least. I have never has any issues importing into FCP, merging the files with other video or losing files. Like any digital acquisition one has to be anal about ‘data wrangling’. During the last shoot in Timor, I managed to transfer all files on the run onto small portable 1 Terrabyte drives attached to my Macbook Pro (using a small cigarette plug power inverter to change the Macbook on the go). As soon as I reached a homestay (with power) I made a backup copy of everything onto another HERO drive. Over a 3 week period encountering unbelievable travel and weather conditions I managed not to lose a single file.
This is definitely not a ‘run’n gun’ camera. In Timor the humidity, the stark light, the humidity and the harsh shadows can do your head in with this camera. You simply need a little more time to get the right shot. The big issue I have had is the controlling iris as the sun comes in and out behind clouds. The camera has an iris control that ‘clicks’ or ‘steps’ up and down the f stops. No good for fine video recording! I have managed a workaround for this as well with a smooth variable neutral density filter in front of the lens. I simply use this to fine tune lighting fluctuations during an outside interview etc.
Having said all of this, next trip I plan to take something like the new Sony NEX-FS100U with the Super 35mm Sensor. This will get me out of some tight jams when I need to run and gun and monitor audio with the hassle of attached digital audio recorders etc. Once again it’s got few annoying feature however I reckon the two cameras will serve me well.
Having spent a good deal of my life with large format Bronica, it took a little while to convince me that stills from a DSLR could compete. Of course these stills are comparable to 35mm film not the Bronica 6X4, however the results are startling and I’m still getting used to the speed that these canon lenses can ‘lock’ into auto focus! Here’s a couple of portraits taken in the highlands of Timor in the stinking heat at a moments notice.
Timor is just a 1 hour flight from Darwin yet the reality is a world away. Travel in Timor-Leste is difficult, sometimes there are no roads and huge mountain ranges to cross. These conditions isolate communities that would benefit greatly from ‘Eco Tourism’ with ‘Homestay’ facilities. There is a real need to safely transport cashed up tourists to these beutiful and remote areas.
Dave & Shirley Carlos of Timor Tours are helping this tiny nation by bringing much needed tourism dollars through their motorcycle and 4 Wheel Drive tours.
The motorcycle tours in particular allow tourists access to pristine inland wildernesses and untouched coastal beaches. Outside of Dili the capital, most Timorese live on less than 70 cents a day and have no way of making it to the capital to search for work.
These tours bring much needed dollars into remote areas making a difference to individuals and villages few can fully comprehend.
Change the World has supported this group by making a promotional video clip highlighting the tours.
Timor Leste is home to dramatic mountain ranges offering the pioneer traveller a unique opportunity to trek across the rugged terrain, find hidden gems, explore remote and pristine environments and engage with the local Timorese people who live in traditional villages.
Timor Leste’s rugged and spectacular terrain is the perfect playground for adventure motorbiking and four wheel driving.
Challenging road conditions, friendly locals, rich culture, remote villages and jaw dropping scenery are just a few of the many wonderful surprises guaranteed in this undiscovered destination.
Check out: TimorAdventures.com.au
One of the world’s most spectacular and undiscovered diving destinations, Timor Leste boasts pristine coral reefs and an abundance of marine life.
Timor Leste (East Timor) is one of the world’s last undiscovered destinations.
An adventure travel paradise offering pioneer travellers some of the world’s best diving, game fishing, incredible trekking, mountain biking and adventure motorbiking all set in an untouched, pristine environment.
Los Palos (the intellectual capital of Timor and the heart of the resistance movement) is in desperate need for a centre where:
- Young people can be trained and educated
- Cultural and artistic activities can be fostered
- The local women can produce and sell their Tais (Traditional Weaving)
- New business opportunities such as Eco Tourism can be set up…and
- The community can establish ‘On Line’ web based media to connect the village to the world.
Timor Leste still after 10 years of freedom remains one of the poorest nations in the world, and according to Australia’s official aid agency, AusAid, life expectancy is only 60 years with half the population living on less than a dollar a day. The building of this centre in Lospalos offers a way out of this poverty cycle.
Change the World produced this short clip, highlighting the need for a Sustainability/Arts/Business Centre in Los Palos Timor-Leste. Together with representatives from the village and the East Timor Women Australia group- ETWA, we raised $21,000 in one night to ensure the centre can be built.
Change the World is now producing a documentary film following the ‘highs and lows’ of the building process and the change that this will bring to a community in need.