Herman Wainggai
The man who never quit

West Papua: A Journey to Freedom

Directed/Produced by Erin Morris

How the project came to being - HermanWainggai

The project

I met Erin Morris - the director and producer of my first Documentary 'West Papua: A Journey to Freedom' - at a West Papuan event organized by the West Papua Association of Australia in Melbourne on November 9, 2009. The event was held at the Northcote Hill United Church.
She heard about our event and wanted to come and check it out.
Many Australians don’t know what is going on in West Papua and our journey from West Papua to Australia. Majority of people I spoke with don’t know what’s going on between colonial Indonesia and indigenous West Papuans back home, so she was eager to learn, or find out more about our story. As a film maker and a curious supporter of West Papua, she wanted to learn more.
The event started off with music and refreshments in keeping with our West Papuan style – friendly and family oriented gathering. After our refreshment, the organizers asked me to speak, so I took to podium and spoke for a while about the situation in West Papua – the atrocity that is going on there even until now, 2016. I talked about the dangers we “political activists’ faced every day. Then I explained why we – my friends and I – decided to escape West Papua and the dangers we overcame to get to Australia, a free society, with real freedom of expression and to travel without being stopped and searched or asked for identification. I spoke about these things for a while and then sat down. Others spoke after me.
After my speech, Morris approached me introduced herself as an Australian film maker. She’d heard about our journey to Australia and wanted to find out me. She talked to me about the idea of making a documentary about my journey and she wanted to follow me around and document my activities around Australia and talk me on camera about my journey to Australia. I gladly accepted it. I took that as an opportunity to share our story on a different medium - the Internet (youtube).
We filmed around Australia for a while and then around December 2009, Morris and her team and I traveled together to Papua New Guinea to meet some of our activists as they crossed the Indonesian border to PNG. She documented everything. We returned to Australia and worked on the translation, captioning, and editing. And after months of painstaking work, we came up with was the "West Papua: A Journey to Freedom".
Check out our blog and learn more about that project.

Erin Morris - Film-marker: director, editor, and producer

Noray Mohammed Neberay - Writer, director, producer, cinematographer, editor, an actor, and an accomplished Fine Art Photographer

Erin Morris and activists
Erin Morris and at the set