A Feature Film Based on a Harrowing True Story
of Journalists in Conflict
In 1975, five Australian television journalists were killed in East Timor under still mysterious circumstances in the lead up to the invasion of the island by Indonesian troops. Indonesia has long claimed the journalists, known as the “Balibo Five” for the town where they died, were killed in the crossfire during fighting with Fretilin guerrillas. But a coroner’s report later said the five were killed execution style. Balibo, a feature film, tells the story of the Balibo Five through the eyes of Australian journalist Roger East, who traveled to East Timor to investigate the murders and who was himself executed by an Indonesian firing squad, and who has since become known as the forgotten sixth casualty.
Balibo, which was shot on location in East Timor, premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival in 2009 with East Timor’s then-president, Jose Ramos-Horta, in attendance, along with family members of the Balibo victims. This critically acclaimed film has been described as taut, powerfully acted and emotionally wrenching, at times brutal, honest and unsparing in its depictions of what may have really happened to the Australian journalists in Balibo. The film stands as a powerful testament to the continuing dangers journalists face covering conflicts every day.
Robert Connolly, who directed Balibo, is an Australian producer, director and screenwriter based in Melbourne. His previous award-winning work includes The Boys, The Bank, and Three Dollars, and he is known for
making films with political themes and that address pressing social issues.
This event is the first in a series of FCC screenings focusing on the media in Asia.
Speaker: Robert Connolly, John Milkins,