of the Forest
(52 minutes) Malaysia
Director: Alan DCruz
Producer: Mary Maguire
UNAFF screening schedule
of the Forest" is a unique document of Malaysia's indigenous
peoples - the Orang Asli - in their struggle to retain their ancient
ways of life in a rapidly developing nation. Pressures to renounce
their ancient beliefs, assimilate with Malay culture, and make way
for a modern world, are destroying the very fabric of Orang Asli
life and culture. "Guardians of the Forest" focuses on
an Orang Asli community about to be displaced by a giant dam project.
It chronicles the heartbreaking realities they face and unveils
chilling truths that echo the plight of indigenous peoples all over
the world. Filmed in the lush Malaysian rainforest, this documentary
provides a rare insight into a little-known community and introduces
us to their haunting stories through interviews with members of
the tribe. The film juxtaposes scenic jungle, waterfalls and rivers
with fast-paced, consumer-driven Kuala Lumpur and the wasteland
existence that has befallen other Orang Asli communities that have
been relocated in the name of progress and modernization.
Alan D'Cruz writes and directs short features and corporate films and frequently works with all the major TV news providers as researcher/producer for their news stories about Malaysia. He was assistant producer for the BBC award winning documentary "Kings of the Jungle". Guardians of the Forest is his first full-length documentary.
Maguire had been working as a news and current affairs producer
for eight years when she moved to Malaysia in 1988 and became aware
of the indigenous people and the problems they faced. Over the years,
the director Alan D'Cruz and Ms. Maguire forged a friendship with
members of the Temuan tribe and it was this unique access that made
the documentary Guardians of the Forest possible.