Chau’u Polo – A short film made in Lospalos Timor-Leste

This short film is a sensation!

We spent 10 days in Lospalos working with an enthusiastic group of young people, to build a media centre, equip it and to train them in all aspects of film making.

To train them we asked them what story they would like to tell and they came up with a positive drama based on a young boy they called Chau’u Polo. It’s about a poor smelly schoolboy who is teased at school but who later in life becomes a local hero being very successful. And how does he get to be so successful? Through wisdom given to him by a very lage crocodile who befriends him whilst fishing one day!

Okay so how do we film dialogue between a young boy and a crocodile with no special effects, in remote Timor Leste and ‘no speaka da lingo’? Simple the young people reply. We ask La Fiek (Grandfather Crocodile) to come to us and put in an appearance. So we did and so he did.

We believe this film is the first fictional drama short ever written, filmed, edited and screened by locals all in Tetun. The music is also 100% local with one song recorded on ‘the street’ outside the house we stayed in and the other written and sung by a young lad all in Fataluku. Fataluku is one of the many languages of East Timor, and is spoken in and around the town of Lospalos, in the Lautem district with about 35,000 speakers. As Fataluku is a Papuan language, it is very different from Tetun and most other languages of East Timor, which are Austronesian languages.