Looking Into Deforestation in Indonesia
© Florian Augustin
For those of you who have worse internet connection: The film is now also available on YouTube in 10-minute-portions:
© Florian Augustin
‘Cari Hutan’ (Tshari Houtan) is Indonesian for ‘in the search of forest’ - I decided this to be the title of the film, as it took me around 2 weeks in Kalimantan to actually find seemingly untouched forest (as you see below in Murung Raya District). Whenever locals were asking me what I was up to, my answer would often be: “Cari hutan”.
After two years of not flying, I decided to fly back to Indonesia in order to finally get to actualize a film project that I had long dreamt of – a film about the timber trafficking between Sunda Kelapa Harbor in Jakarta and Banjarmasin, Kalimantan (Borneo). Sunda Kelapa is the ancient habour of Jakarta that hosts the oldest vessel fleet in the world. I had fallen in love with these wooden ships, built according to a 400 year old design, the very first time I saw them. The atmosphere of constant arrival and departure at the quay used to be a refuge that I often sought during the years that I lived in the stressful city. I had planned to take one of the boats from Sunda Kelapa to Kalimantan and then investigate where the timber comes from that they transport.
When I arrived in Jakarta early January (midst of rainy-season) however, most boats were not leaving the harbor at all. The seamen were telling me that the waves were up to 9 meters high and many are getting ‘eaten by the sea’. At the time I was at the harbor, talking to the men whether they would take me on the boat with them, I randomly passed a TV that was screening news footage of one of those very ships sinking in the Java Sea – not a good omen, I thought.
Hence I decided to take a normal ferry from Surabaya to Balikpapan instead (also because I heard that I probably would have had to bribe a lot of harbor and coast guard officials in order to get on one of the old ships). So, the film turned more into a road movie through Kalimantan (East, South and Central Kalimantan) where I gained a lot of interesting knowledge about the causes and effects of deforestation and/or other environmental issues such as mining or the rapid change of agricultural methods – and also about some potential solutions to them.
“Cari Hutan” in the news – Some articles and reviews written about this film: