Explore the flow from Indonesia
At approximately 5am on May 29 2006, villagers living in the Sidoarjo district of East Java, Indonesia noticed plumes of gas and heavy liquid pouring from a crack in the earth. Experts believe the mud volcano was triggered by an unstable commercial drilling operation just 500 feet from the volcano epicentre, though the company denies responsibility. Four years on, the flow of mud and toxic gases continues. It is expected to continue for the next 30 years, in fact, spilling the equivalent of 60 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of mud onto the surrounding countryside every 24 hours. And while the Indonesian government and commercial interests haggle over liability, 30,000 people have been displaced, their homes literally drowned in the flood. This year, the Indonesian Film Festival includes a short film called Children of Mud, which takes us into the human heart of the Sidoarjo disaster. It follows Rafi, a boy whose district is slowly sinking, as he sets off on a quest to find medicine for his mother, who has been poisoned by the toxic fumes spilling from the volcano. Against the backdrop of a decimated land, Children of Mud is a story of love and survival. The festival also features survival stories of a different kind, such as Paul Agusta’s groundbreaking experimental film At the Very Bottom of Everything (Official Selection: 40th International Film Festival Rotterdam), which chronicles his battle with bi-polar personality disorder, and Shackled Woman (Best Film, 1980 Festival Film Indonesia), an Indonesian classic recounting a depressed woman’s imprisonment by her father and husband. These compelling stories screen alongside drama, romance, thriller and comedy, all fresh from Indonesian shores. Get along to the film festival and see a fascinating corner of Southeast Asia through the eyes of its most talented filmmakers. 20th – 26th August, 2010.