Staff Blog

EngageMedia delivers skills training to Komas

The first day of the 2-day workshop on
‘How to distribute videos effectively online!’was a very hot day.
Andrew from EngageMedia had arrived just a day prior from Melbourne
and was still a little jetlagged. With freshly photocopied notes and
coffee still warm from breakfast, we waltzed (or more like, briskly
walked) in anticipation to our first SBP training with Komas.

I had previously arranged for five
people to attend the training but due to much demand, Komas had six
people attending instead. We began the training by discussing their
expectations and what Komas wanted to learn from us with regard to
distributing video online. We had planned out a strategy to promote
their new film ‘Gaduh’, which was appropriate as it made the training
content more relevant to them.

Andrew and I introduced a little more
about Engagemedia for the newer staff from Komas and the two
directors from the organisation’s board. We also gave an overview of
Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). We started on compression a
little before lunch, allowing the crew from Komas to try something
hands on. The rest of the day was spent compressing and uploading
videos as these areas are the most technical and took the most
one-on-one time.

Day two of the training began with an
introduction to Creative Commons licensing, and how to apply it to
the website. We also discussed more on using hybrid
methods to distribute videos, how offline distribution like dvds and
screenings can be complemented with videos available online on video
hosting and social networking websites. Andrew also showed a video he
made on Pirate TV that media activists in Italy had set up.

After lunch, the focus was mostly
trouble shooting the technical difficulties Komas had faced in
compressing the videos and also uploading. Apparently the internet
bandwidth in their office isn’t really suitable for uploading videos
and they plan to upgrade it soon, as they agree that effective
distribution of their videos is as important as making them.

Following the training we received some
useful feedback from Komas. The group found the training valuable and
have been uploading and distributing videos online more regularly
since the training took place. As the first in a series of SBPs
scheduled to take place over the next 12 months, the EngageMedia team
is excited to assist more organisations and see the results of this

by: Mien Lor, Southeast Asia Content and Training Coordinator for

Staff Blog

EngageMedia kicks off Local Archives project in Indonesia

With the growth of community, artistic
and activist video production, and ongoing improvements in broadband
internet access, Indonesia is currently experiencing a period of
transition. With this transitory state in mind, EngageMedia believes
a staged approached to online video distribution is required that
takes into account the uneven access to high speed internet and the
need to offer both online and offline video distribution tools.

The Indonesian Local Video Archive
project aims to deal strategically with this situation by mixing on
and offline technologies. The project involves setting up a series of
four local servers in Jakarta and Yogyakarta with four different
organisations; Kampung Halaman, ruangrupa, IVAA and Combine.

The archives will be built using Plumi,
one of only a few FOSS (free and open source software) video sharing
platforms. It is based on the Plone CMS and produced by EngageMedia.
The local archive will essentially operate as a website, but it will
only be accessible via the local area connection or wireless network.
Visitors will be able to access the archive by using any of the
partner organisations’ computers connected to the LAN, or connect
their own computer to the LAN via cable or wireless. Visitors
browsing the archive will be able to view a flash video preview of
the video and if they so desire, be able to rapidly copy any file to
their USB device, phone and/or computer, or burn them to DVD/CD. The
idea is to promote a “sneaker-net” effect; prompting people to
pass on the files to friends via their own “offline social

To complete the
first phase of this large project, EngageMedia is partnering with
Kampung Halaman. Founded in April 2006, Kampung Halaman is a community based organisation
fostering the use of the audio visual medium through
popular-community based programs, particularly targeting youth in
pursuing the transformation towards a better society. EngageMedia
and Kampung Halaman aim to have the first local archive system live
and operational by July 2009.

Staff Blog

Support Sarawak Gone, innovative micro-docs series

Sarawak Gone explores four remote Bidayuh communities accessible by foot within an hour’s drive from Kuching, capital city of Sarawak, Malaysia. They will lose their livelihood, traditional lands and culture, their rights and heritage with the development of the controversial Bengoh Dam project.

Sarawak Gone is a micro docs series produced on location with residents of the Bidayuh communities.

The series is intended to raise awareness to the denigration of the rapidly dwindling societies on the island of Borneo, the native land titles at stake and the rapidly decreasing habitats for protected and endangered flora and fauna.

Micro-docs are short, 5 – 10 minute documentaries designed for online distribution, portable media devices and laptop screening events. is seeking support by way of financial and equipment donations, in-kind post-production support and assistance in screening and distribution opportunities. Equipment donations (e.g. cameras, tripods, computers, external hard disk drives) would be left in Sarawak to assist in the establishment of a media resource centre in Kuching.

If you can assist in the completion of this new work contact or donate via PayPal.

Sarawak Gone is an / Toy Satellite production in association with Rengah Sarawak.


Job Available: Indonesian Training and Projects Coordinator

The main duties for this position are:

  • Organise and facilitate FOSS-based digital video distribution trainings and events in Indonesia and East Timor
  • Organise and implement a series of “skills-building partnerships” with selected organisations in Indonesia and East Timor
  • Develop key working relationships with external organisations, including building a contacts database
  • Assist in the development of training materials
  • Translate training, technical and promotional materials from English to Bahasa Indonesian
  • Assist in providing editorial direction for the site
  • Coordinate other Indonesian-based projects as required

The skills and experience required for this position are:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Working knowledge of online and offline multimedia and communications tools
  • An understanding of FOSS tools, principles and culture
  • Video making skills with extensive knowledge of film and video culture
  • Excellent coordination and project management skills
  • Experience planning and coordinating events
  • Ability and willingness to learn new things and develop new ideas

The successful candidate will be a native Bahasa Indonesian speaker with excellent written and verbal English skills.
This position is 3 days per week, preferably based in Yogyakarta but with the possibility of working remotely from Bandung or Jakarta. Some local and international travel will also be required. A wage competitive with local NGO salaries is on offer. EngageMedia offers a rewarding and flexible working environment and the opportunity to contribute to our overall organisational aims.

If you are interested please see the full job description.

To Apply
Please send a CV and a cover letter (max. 500 words) in English outlining your interest in the position and your suitability as soon as possible to [email protected] Please include any links to video you have online.
Applications close 9 April 2009.

Featured Filmmaker

Featured Filmmaker: Chi Too


Chi Too




Chi Too from Malaysia is a
tree-hugger with a video camera. After a long childhood obsession
with the leatherback turtle, he was deeply disturbed to learn that
it was near extinction when he was 12. It was then that he realised
that something was very wrong.

From music recording, advertising,
photography and now film making as well, Chi Too has embarked on a
colourful journey of creative expressions that can be found on his

Video history:

As part of the Global Forest
Research Station of Greenpeace, he made ‘Paradise Bus‘ detailing the efforts of the local
communities to practice sustainable forestry in defense against
the onslaught of large scale commercial logging in Papua New
Guinea . This film will make you laugh at the spontaneity of the
filmmaker who ran along with his subjects as they jump onto the
logs and push them into the lake. This film will make you shake
your fist in anger at the logging company’s blatant lies to the
communities involved. This film will teach you that logging might
be necessary, but there are ways to do it sustainably.

Recent work:

His most recent film ‘What
‘ reveals
the onslaught of oil palm plantations on the Native Customary
Rights land of the indigenous peoples of Sarawak in Malaysia. It
is part of a bigger campaign found at which aims to restore the rights of the indigenous peoples and to
stop, and eventually reverse, the destruction of the rainforest.

In their words:

Tell us who you are as a

I am not a filmmaker, I only happen
to make films. Films are one of the many mediums in which I engage
my audience with.

How did you come to video as a
medium? Why do you work with the moving image?

I was introduced to video whilst
studying in college where I began making fictional short films. I
work with the moving image simply because it can be an effective
means to address and convey ideas and issues. However, I would
also be the first to assert that the moving image can also be the
most ineffective means to convey ideas and issues. I have never
dared to call myself a filmmaker, simply because I’d like to
believe that I am capable of expressing myself through various
mediums, and that various issues have various needs that can only
be effectively expressed by various mediums.

What are the main issues you
address in your video work?

My main concerns are of the
rainforest and its indigenous inhabitants. My passion for the
issue began with the former, however, upon learning the sufferings
and injustice faced by latter as a result of the former, I began
shifting my attention towards the indigenous peoples.

What radicalised you as a
filmmaker – or how did you come to work with these issues? Did it
happen in the moment, or was it a process?

I was really thrown into the deep
end when I began. I was called by Greenpeace to Papua New Guinea
as a volunteer at the Global Forest Rescue Station. As volunteers,
we were supposed to convey our experiences to our respective
national organizations via blogs.

Unfortunately for me, there is no
Greenpeace presence in Malaysia, therefore I thought that perhaps
the best thing to do is to make a documentary about it. Reality
sank in hard when I arrived in Papua New Guinea only to realize
that I had no idea how to make a documentary. It was a case of
sink or swim. Fortunately for me, it was there where I met the
late Pip Starr. Whilst I was there, Pip screened ‘The Okapa
Connection’ to the local community, It was then that I had my
eureka moment: ‘So that’s how you make a documentary’… I went on
to make ‘Paradise Bus’.

Tell us about your favourite
piece of video you have made, in regards to social justice or

Having made three documentaries, I
have yet to make one which I am truly happy with. Some may say
that I am too harsh with myself, but yeah… I believe my
favourite social justice video is somewhere in the future.

How do you think online
distribution is changing the field of independent video making?
How do you use online tools in your work?

I use online video as part of my
distribution strategy. However, due to the length of my films and
the available (or rather lack of) internet infrastructure in my
country, I do not take really take it too seriously as audiences
tend to shut themselves off if they have to wait for videos to
load. Unless of course if the said audience is already interested
in the issue itself. Which leads me to the problematic nature of
the internet, in which content only reaches out to audiences who
are already interested in the first place. Though this is good to
bind solidarity among activists and believers in change,
unfortunately, it does very little in terms of changing
perceptions of the average person on the streets, which I’d like
to believe is the ultimate goal of the social filmmaker.

This is compounded by the fact that
the internet is now over-saturated with videos that are of very
low quality and value. This makes it even more difficult for a
filmmaker to push his/her film across the internet. I would say
that internet video was in its initial stages revolutionary for
independent filmmakers, but of late, given the mass competition we
face on the internet, it might have turned into a monster that is
beyond our control.

Tools like EngageMedia are
heaven-sent for filmmakers and discerning audiences who yearn for
quality material. However, the question remains as to how are we
going to get the ‘average Joe’ who enjoys bloopers on YouTube
to come over to EngageMedia and get their dose of social activism?

This is a difficult question which I
have no answer to. But as a filmmaker who puts much time and
resources into producing a film, I cannot allow myself to leave
distribution to optimism and feel good vibes about the internet.
This is a question that I will strive to answer for as long as I
still make films, and as long as the internet still exists.

Any other comments?

Quite a number of my friends and
family have questioned me as to why I do what I do. Many have
warned me of the potential dangers I’m putting myself in. Many
have told me that this could be a job for ‘somebody else’.
Unfortunately, the current situation requires immediate attention.
And fortunately for me, to everyone else… I am ‘somebody else’


Chi Too’s EngageMedia Page

Chi Too’s Blog

If you know of any interesting
filmmakers around Asia Pacific you’d like to see featured on, drop us an email at contact[at]