DERC Cinema presents Andrew Sully’s documentary film ‘The Spirits of Tasi Tolu ‘ (or Three Lakes in Tetum).
The documentary The Spirits of Tasi Tolu, produced over several years in Timor-Leste, focuses on a specific location called Tasi Tolu (or Three Lakes in Tetum) on the Western edge of Dili. Tasi Tolu is allegedly the site of a series of extrajudicial executions and clandestine burials of independence activists by Indonesian security forces between 1975 and 1999: the period of Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor. Currently a Singaporian developer has plans to build a hotel and golf resort complex, called Pelican Paradise, in Tasi Tolu. This development will bring investment and employment opportunities but will displace thousands of residents who depend on the lakes, and the land around it, for their livelihood. With a concern about the claims of human remains in Tasi Tolu, the East Timorese government commissioned an international forensic team to investigate the area prior to the commencement of the development.
Within the framework of these events the film presents the testimony of a number of residents of Tasi Tolu, the ongoing forensic investigation and the landscape itself as part of a broader dialogue about memory and genocide, empirical evidence and local memory practices, and place as focal points for overlapping and competing notions of community, identity and nationhood.
Andrew Sully is an award-winning filmmaker working in both drama and documentary. Recently he completed a PhD at Macquarie University in the department of Media, Music, Communications and Cultural Studies. In 2015 he directed Bespoke, an innovative three-part series for ABC TV about the global Maker movement. Before that he wrote and directed Devil Island, a six-part natural history series for ABC TV, ITV and France 5. In 2009 he made the documentary Anatomy of a Massacre for ABC TV about a forensic investigation in East Timor to find the missing protestors from the 1991 Santa Cruz Massacre. He also made Feral Peril for ABC TV, an ecological detective story about the threat of introduced feral carnivores in Tasmania. It won three awards at the 2009 International Wildlife Film Festival in Montana, USA. His short films have won an ATOM award, Best Film at the St Kilda Film Festival and the Critics Prize at the Poitiers Film Festival. Recently he directed an EU-funded 20-part drama series in Timor-Leste. He is currently producing and directing a one-hour Catalyst special for ABC TV about twins.