Two very different but equally important Indonesia-focused documentaries have recently been released on iTunes for online viewing.
‘Bali: Island of the Dogs’ and ‘Ring of Fire: an Indonesian Odyssey’ have two things in common, those being: Dr. Lawrence Blair, an explorer, film-maker, author, psycho anthropologist and public speaker on the peoples and creatures of Indonesia; and the two documentaries have been digitally remastered by SavEarth Media, an impact media company. Both of these intriguing documentaries showcase unique aspects of Indonesia and can now be watched by anyone all over the world.
“For the projects we choose, the stories need to have purpose, the individuals need to be purpose driven, and the potential for the stories needs to be great. And we found all that with Ring of Fire and Bali: Island of the Dogs.” — Robin Gurney, SavEarth Media.
Bali: Island of the Dogs
A film about Bali’s semi-feral dogs, and our changing attitudes towards conquering nature and bending her to our will. Directed by Dean Allan Tolhurst, and narrated by Lawrence Blair this 55 minute, wide-screen HD documentary has been re-edited with new music and track contribution by Michael Franti.
The term ‘Island of the Gods’ was coined by the outside visitors—Charlie Chaplin, Margaret Meade and Noel Coward—who rediscovered Bali in the 1920s and ’30s. The term was happily adopted by the tourism industry decades later. But it’s only half true, for Bali is equally an Island of the Demons, and the dogs embody the dark side.
For more than ten centuries they have lived not just outside the homes, but beyond the village walls in semi-feral packs. Six hundred thousand of them, one to every five people, roamed the island, a law unto themselves. Bali dogs are traditionally sacrificed at certain ceremonies, are ritually eaten, appear throughout Balinese iconography as the lowest of the low and were culled as rabies entered the island in the late 2000s.
But the Bali dogs harbour a special secret—according to the world’s experts on genetics at U.C. Davis, Califonia, they have the richest gene pool of genetic diversity in all of dogdom. They can trace their ancestry right back to the proto-dogs, whereas all ‘breed’ dogs are barely a couple of centuries old.
Filmed in Bali, Australia, and the United States, Bali: Island of the Dogs features interviews with Balinese high priests on the ancient roles of dogs and man, current world experts on dog genetics, ecology and rabies control, and owners of the remarkable dogs which, largely unrecognized, have such high scientific value and yet face imminent extinction. We ask the question—if we can’t get on with the dog, our closest of natural companions, what hope have we with nature herself? Through the dogs of Bali this film simultaneously explores the clash of cultures and traditions, and the shifting relationship between man and nature, everywhere, in this changing world.
Ring of Fire: an Indonesian Odyssey
Before there were cell phones or GPS, the Blair Brothers set off on an epic and surprising journey through Indonesia. They sailed with pirates aboard their black-sailed schooners in search of the Bird of Paradise, struggled through rapids and deep jungles searching for elusive nomadic tribes, witnessed veiled forms of human sacrifice and found themselves drawn into ten years of danger and discovery in a magical land where ancient myths still flourish.
This exciting 5-part series documents the ten-year voyage of two filmmakers, brothers Lorne and Lawrence Blair, through the world’s largest and least known archipelago—the exotic, mysterious islands of Indonesia. These islands form a chain of active volcanoes that arc down and around into the Pacific to form the “Ring of Fire.”
Their intimate encounters with the vanishing masters of tribal wisdom were to lead them from a physical adventure, into a deeper, more personal quest of self-discovery.
Originally cut from 80 hours of 16mm film in co-production with WGBH, Boston, Ring of Fire was produced, directed and photographed by Lorne Blair and co-produced and written by Lawrence Blair.
Now this is REAL adventure: no radios, compasses, ice, emergency supplies for months at a time through one of the most hazardous and fascinating regions on earth — Sir Richard Branson
Incomparable adventure teeming with thrills, chills, mystery and the bizarre — Los Angeles Times