Sunday, December 18, 2011
A new documentary, Bikpela Bagarap, reveals the human side of logging in Papua New Guinea, where local people are treated as second-rate citizens in their own country by Malaysian logging companies and corrupt politicians.
It is estimated that an average of 200,000 logs are exported every year from Sandaun Province, with an open market value of over US$300 million. Local landowners are paid less than 1% of this value, if they are paid at all. They are promised fresh water, health and education, but these essential services are never provided. PNG Nationals are being treated like second-rate citizens in their own country.
Australian filmmaker David Fedele spent three months alone in Papua New Guinea at the start of 2011, shooting this film. He was based in Vanimo town, Sandaun Province, less than 50km from the border with West Papua / Indonesia. This is one of the most remote parts of PNG, only accesible by plane or boat.
From Vanimo, he travelled extensively into the jungle visiting remote villages and exploring current and past logging operations, as well as two of the main logging camps in Sandaun Province – Maka Basecamp and Amanab 56 Basecamp.
To avoid the suspicion of the logging companies and their employees, David couldn’t stay in the logging camps or villages for more than a few days at a time, making it difficult to follow particular characters throughout the film.
So instead, he decided to combine the stories of different people into a narrative that could be followed, to give as many and varied people as possible the opportunity to be heard and have their stories told.
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