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A film series about how proposed mega-dams in Borneo would negatively impact indigenous communities, wildlife, and climate change
A film series about how proposed mega-dams in Borneo would negatively impact indigenous communities, wildlife, and climate change
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209 backers pledged $30,552 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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The Borneo Project Film Team is creating a series of short documentary films about 12 mega-dams slated for construction in Borneo.  These films will examine the consequences of mega-dam construction which will flood vast tracts of forest, thereby displacing tens of thousands of indigenous peoples.  The first film in the series has been completed.  We are raising money to make the three additional films listed below.

Borneo remains the “invisible rainforest.”  Though it ranks among the most species diverse ecosystems on the planet, many people are unaware of Borneo’s importance as a biological hotspot, a critical sink for carbon, and as home for many indigenous cultures.  Even fewer people understand that more logs came out of Borneo in the 80’s and 90’s than out of all of Africa and all of South America combined.  Making Borneo’s rainforest visible is among the highest purposes of these films.

All donations are TAX-DEDUCTIBLE through our fiscal sponsor Earth Island Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and educating the public about social and environmental issues relating to forests and other ecosystems.

Short Film #1: Effects on Women & Children 

Indigenous family in longhouse in Borneo
Indigenous family in longhouse in Borneo

Mega-dam development in Borneo threatens indigenous women and children.  In this film we will spotlight how the health, economic security, family stability, and rights of women in Sarawak’s indigenous communities are being degraded by mega-dam development schemes.  We have already filmed interviews with many indigenous women in Borneo, as well as with human rights experts in the United States.

Short Film #2: Effects on Wildlife & Biodiversity

Orangutans, Clouded Leopard, Hornbill (Photos by Andrew Walmsley and Ch'ien C. Lee)
Orangutans, Clouded Leopard, Hornbill (Photos by Andrew Walmsley and Ch'ien C. Lee)

Among the planet’s most biologically diverse ecosystems, the forests of Borneo are home to thousands of endemic reptile, insect, plant, and animal species including rhinos, hornbills, macaques, gibbons, tarsiers, slow loris and orangutans.  This film highlights flora and fauna threatened by Sarawak’s mega-dams, and documents how habitat fragmentation caused by dam-created rainforest flooding will result in the loss of endangered species.  Interviews have been conducted with Dr. William F. Laurance, Distinguished Research Professor at James Cook University, Australia, and additional interviews are scheduled with Dr. Justin Kitzes and Ph.D. Candidate Rebekah Shirley at University of California, Berkeley.

Short Film #3: Mega-Dams & Climate Change: Green Alternatives

Hydrogen Sulfide plume rises from Bakun Dam in Sarawak, Malaysia
Hydrogen Sulfide plume rises from Bakun Dam in Sarawak, Malaysia

This film will examine the contributions of mega-dams to global climate change.  Mega-dams are often touted as “green energy,” but they flood vast areas of forest which then biodegrade and release methane.  Over a ten-year period, a mega-dam emits roughly the same CO2 equivalent in methane as a typical fossil fuel power plant.  Using a multi-author research study from University of California Berkeley, the film will investigate alternatives to mega-dam development in Malaysian Borneo. 

Phillip Jau, Indigenous Activist
Phillip Jau, Indigenous Activist
 Joe M. Lamb: Producer, Director - Founder of the Borneo Project, arborist, ecologist, educator, Joe holds a master’s degree in filmmaking and has over 25 years experience working on rainforest preservation and indigenous rights.

Linus Chung: Cinematographer - Award-winning filmmaker from Malaysia with more than 10 years of documentary and commercial production.

Brandon Hill: Cinematographer -  Freelance photographer/videographer and graphic designer living in Alaska where he works full-time as a campaigner and ally for indigenous and community groups fighting proposed coal mines.

Paul Stoutenburgh: Co-Director, Editor - Award-winning filmmaker, Paul has been directing commercial videos and documentaries for environmental and social issues for more than 7 years.

Amanda Stephenson: Research Associate, Assistant Producer - Amanda holds a bachelor's degree in global studies, and has conducted field research on conservation and indigenous issues in Peru and India. 

 

Your pledge will support the completion of the Sarawak Mega-Dam Film Series.  Please help us spread the news about the effects of mega-dams on Borneo's indigenous communities, environment, and the climate.  The more financial support we gain, the better we can document this story.

1. DONATE to this project.  Even a modest donation will make a huge impact in the completion of this film series.

2. EMAIL this Kickstarter page to your friends and family!  

3. SHARE this page on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Post on Facebook walls, message link to friends, and tweet us at @borneoaction

THANK YOU for your support!

Risks and challenges

Distribution Challenge: Malaysia, China, Norway, and Switzerland are major funders of the mega-dams in Sarawak. Distribution of our film series may not be welcomed within these countries, particularly in China, where web content is heavily monitored and films critical of dams could be censored.

Solution: We plan to coordinate closely with our partner organizations in these countries to ensure that the website hosting our films is not banned. If our page does become banned, we plan to send hard copies of our film series to our partner organizations worldwide for viewings and distribution.

Potential Production Challenge: Production delays that may occur such as footage rights clearances or canceled interviews.

Solution: Our team of experienced filmmakers has already proven to stay on schedule and on budget for the first film, and we have planned far in advance to ensure experts will be available for interviews. Footage clearance timing restrictions have been included in our production schedule.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    LINK TO SERIES, SOCIAL MEDIA SHOUTOUT //
    Thank you! We will send you a link to the film series once it is completed.

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    NAME LISTED ON OUR WEBSITE //
    You will be added to our list of contributors on www.borneoproject.com

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    FREE ADMISSION TO PREMIERE SCREENING //
    You will receive all the above, and free admission to the premiere film screening of the short films in Berkeley, California.

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    TRADITIONAL HANDWOVEN BRACELET // All of the above, and a traditional rattan bracelet handmade in collaboration with our Bornean partners.

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    NAME LISTED IN FILM CREDITS //
    All of the above as well as being listed as a donor in the short film of your choice.

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    BORNEO PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK //
    All of the above as well as a coffee table-style picture book about the Penan, an indigenous tribe in Borneo.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT //
    All of the above and Associate Producer credit in the film of your choice.

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    PRODUCER CREDIT //
    All of the above and Producer credit in the film of your choice. A screening in your honor at a location to be to chosen with you.

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    EXECUTIVE PRODUCER CREDIT and A MCCLOUD RIVER FISHING TRIP //
    All of the above and Executive Producer credit in the film of your choice. The filmmaker will also take you on a guided fly fishing trip on the McCloud River in California. Foreign donors please contact us to discuss travel details.

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Funding period

- (40 days)