Film ‘Mentawai Souls Of The Forest’ awarded Mt. Everest Award at Nepal International Film Festival 2023

Suku Mentawai Foundation/YPBM is proud to announce that our film “Mentawai Souls of the Forest”, Directed by Joo Peter, has won the Mt. Everest Award for Best International Documentary at the Nepal International Film Festival (NIFF) – held in Kathmandu, Nepal 16-20 March 2023. This award now adding to the Special Jury Prize award we received for our film at the 2022 Bali International Film Festival (Balinale).

“The award for Best International Documentary goes to the Indonesian film, Mentawai – Souls of the Forest, for its strong activist approach to the environmental problems faced by indigenous peoples in the Sumatran archipelago due to deforestation and economic progress. However, the film’s strongest point is its ethnographic approach combined with archival footage and other historical material about indigenous peoples in Indonesia. This film is the result of in-depth research conducted by local ethnographers, activists and indigenous foundations, and as such, is a major contribution to the preservation of the intangible cultural heritage of indigenous peoples whose cultures are on the verge of extinction. Another quality of this film is the extraordinary beauty of the landscape shots combined with the daily activities and ancestral rites of the people.” Quoted from the Jury’s statement, @niffnepal page on Instagram.

The feature documentary film “Mentawai souls of the Forest” (75 Minutes) was produced in 2019 through collaboration between our Suku Mentawai Foundation (YPBM) and Joo Peter, Producer and Director, from Germany. YPBM representative and one of our Mentawai up and coming youth leaders, Martison Siritoitet, was also invited to travel to Nepal to attend the film festival and speak on behalf of the Mentawai. Martison Siritoitet first met Joo Peter at Mentawai’s Pesona Festival in 2019 and, initiating the relationship with YPBM, has since worked together with Joo in developing this film and various other research, translation and media-based projects. Martison continues his YPBM Media and ICT coordinator role from Jakarta, where he has been completing a scholarship studying Tourism at the Trisakti Tourism Institute (currently carrying out placement at the Bali Provincial Tourism Office).

Nepal International Film Festival (NIFF) is Nepal’s the largest annual film festival and celebration of Nepali culture. In 2018, NIFF was founded to celebrate diverse storytelling and narratives around the world. This event is an initiative conceived out of a desire to carry out film and cultural exchanges between Nepal and the rest of the world and to create cultural appreciation and awareness through film appreciation in the country. The event was organized by the Nepal Culture and Film Academy in collaboration with the Nepal Tourism Board, Film Development Board and Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

With Ivana filmmaker from Serbia and Doug filmmaker from US
With Ivana filmmaker from Serbia and Doug filmmaker from US

The selection of our film “Mentawai souls of the Forest” and attendance of Martison Siritoitet also marked the first time Mentawai took part at the Nepal International Film Festival 2023, representing Mentawai culture and Indonesia. Noting the 96 films from 35 different countries that took part in the event, we were very proud to participate and of course to be given award for best international documentary from a team of leading film jurors from various genres and professional film backgrounds. For further details of winners and awardees, please visit the NIFF official website HERE.

The Mentawai Cultural Education Foundation (YPBM) would like to thank the NIFF 2023 organizing leaders and teams for the opportunity to participate and attend this year’s event. Additionally, thank you again to our friend and Producer Joo Peter, to Heike Steinhauser, Sarah Fruh Peter and Adventure Company Heilbronn for their sponsorship and support in helping Martison attend the festival. Thank you to the President of the Trisakti Tourism Institute, Ms. Fetty Asmaniati, SE., Mr. Agie Pradhipta,M.Sc Head of Student Affairs at the Trisakti Tourism Institute, Mr. Tjok Bagus Pemayun, A. Par., MM as Head of the Bali Provincial Tourism Office, Mr. Ida Bagus Adi Lasana, SE.M, Si as the Head of Destinations and Mr. Putu Agus Yudiantara,A.Par.,M. Par as the Head of Tourist Attraction Bali Provincial Tourism Office, who have wholeheartedly helped and supported Martison Siritoitet to attend NIFF 2023. And of course thanks to all the fillmakers who have participated in NIFF 2023. Very proud and inspired by your extraordinary works. Hope to see you in the near future.

Thank you, Masura’ Bagatta.

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