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I do understand that this seems like a huge investment for watching a film, especially when we are used to buy entertainment for next to nothing. But, this film is not a usual film produced in a rush, it has taken 15 years to make. I hope you appreciate this effort, and by buying the film you will also support the indigenous culture and the filmmakers directly. This project is more than a film, and shouldn't be ripped off by streaming giants. I promise you an extraordinairy and different experience if you watch Newtopia. It is filled with humour, friendship, exploration, love and death, and thoughts that will stick with later in life. If you are not happy, please write me, and I will give you your money back.
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Upper picture shows how the cigarette company Lucky Strike wanted to renovate a student-café in Indonesia!!
We decided to step up, rejected Lucky Strike, and made another project.
Aman Paksa and the clan was paid fair trade for making these beautiful traditional houses. This was in 2010 and they still work as the student-café.
But now the roof needs renovation.
Read more below, and support us.
I want Newtopia to be of benifit to the society I have become a part of, and that is why I decided that 50% of the online sales, and 100% of all donations, will go back to the main characters of Newtopia and their culture.
I have done some projects in Indonesia over the years, but there is one in particular which you can see parts of in my film.
We built traditional Mentawaian houses on the property of Bang Id in Padang. Actually the cigarette company Lucky Strike had offered Bang Id to renovate his deteriorating café, which is situated nearby a big university in Padang, and is visited by hundreds of students every day. Crazy thing, how these companies are exploiting territories and people where rules and regulations are weak. So, I told Bang Id that if he provided food and shelter, I would provide a fair salary to the Mentawaians for building traditional houses on his property to function as the café. Luckily Bang Id ended up rejecting Lucky Strike!
This was in 2010, and turned out to be very successful, and had great value in terms of cultural exchange between people from Mentawai and Padang. They represent two cultures that in general are not so good-willed towards each other. After one month of working together in Padang everyone gathered insight of each others culture and way of thinking. Impressions shifted.
In the aftermath of this project, Aman Paksa has visited Bang Id on several occasions on his own, and Bang Id has helped family members of Aman Paksa to find jobs in Padang. The café still exists today and is used every day, but the roof now needs to be replaced. Bang Id wants to rebulid the roof, and Aman Paksa wants to help out with this.
Bang Id lacks the funds to pay for this project, and with the current corona-situation, life is quite desperate for many people in Padang. I was told the other day that more people are actually dying because of food-scarcity than covid-19. Parts of the moviesale will be used to pay the Mentawaians fairly in order to build a new roof.
This would be an example of a sustainable economy, as the Mentawaians use sagu-leaves which they have in huge amounts in Mentawai - regenerative materials whithout any destructive effects on nature.
With the money Aman Paksa and the others earn, they can build new traditional houses in Mentawai and secure schooling for their children. Many of the Mentawaians, just like Aman Paksa, find themselves in a difficult situation now.
The Goverment is eager to move the people out of the jungle, and gather them in the villages, but this makes it difficult to maintain their culture. The situation is complex, and there are many factors to be considered, but in many aspects it reminds me of how Norway has treated the Sami People.
The result of moving into the villages is often poverty because of the unability to build an economy based on money and simultaneously maintain their own traditional houses and lifestock.
Usually when buliding houses the Mentawaians get help from other clans which are paid by slaughtering pigs and chickens. The building of traditional houses has therefore become more difficult, as people are now poorer on both ends.
Aman Paksa plans to build his traditional house and I want to help him with this. At the same time, he has changed his attitude towards school over the years, and wants to do everything possible to give his son schooling. This also costs a lot. Aman Paksa has even recently finished and received a diploma from primary school.
Imagine how much good we can do if we manage to collect 100 000 NOK to our Project Fund. I am proud to say that we just passed 50 000 NOK the other day. Please support us ❤️🙏
I am a personal friend of Aman Paksa and considered by them to be part of the clan, and I think it is more than fair that Newtopia also benefits them.
PS: If you have ideas, questions or suggestions, please don't hesitiate to contact me by replying to this email.
PPS: When time comes, I will go to Indonesia (on my own expense of course). Then you will be able to follow this amazing project.
Unexpected takeaways after following a traditional tribe for 15 years
I would argue that Aman Paksa and his society is more advanced than Western society, if you take our respective environments in consideration. Experience this and many other aspects in the documentary Newtopia.
How i realised that my romantic fairytale impression about traditional societies was wrong
It seems like humanity are always striving for bigger, faster and easier.
Can we recognise ourselves in Indigenous peoples? Are we really any different from each other?
What can we learn from each other?
why tourism might be the best of all evils to save traditional cultures
It seems like the diversity of the world is shrinking day by day. Traditions, belief-systems, languages, species and even entire eco-systems are eradicated. How and why should we preserve? Newtopia invites questions like these.
Newtopia is an immense, soul-wrecking, humorous and sobering tale from a disappearing world that brings us to a place in time which will never be documented again.
The shaman Aman Paksa finds himself in a situation of continuous escalation towards modernity. For 15 years the director Audun Amundsen has followed Aman Paksa deep in the jungle of Indonesia and become a part of the clan, while documenting crucial key moments of a staggering cultural paradigm shift.
Newtopia tells a story about everyone's future, and past, and at the same time we witness the forming of an unlikely life long friendship.
If you have already watched Newtopia, and really liked it, AND want to support Aman Paksa, please click the button. 100 % of all donations will go to him and a project in Mentawai.
Aman Paksa and Audun Amundsen come from two of the richest societies in the world.
They are just on the opposite side of the spectrum.
Please help us spread this amazing story
by sharing this page on your social media
Aman Paksa says Hi before the Cinema Premiere in Norway
Check out the exciting and crazy background story
from the making of Newtopia at a talk I did for Creative mornings
----> Exclusive scenes from the film! <----
NEWTOPIA is a story of close friendship across borders,
and a relateable historical document from Indonesia
Slow travel, language learning, and deep immersion has been key elements to the making of Newtopia. Inevitably I got so involved that I became a part of the film myself. And of course Aman Paksa and I keep in touch even though the film is finished and ready for world premiere.
Gratitude for buying our film
It is a part of your history too
Caught in between Two Worlds
Aman Paksa has gone through a tremendous cultural paradigm shift in just a decade. From not having electricity, money or machines, unaffected by television and fashion, he now owns a cellphone and a bank account. Trying to adapt to an economy based on money is an overwhelming task. The society surrounding them basically consists of religious people who are pushing on. They rather have the clans out of the jungle to live in social villages. Temptations are grave, and it is hard to cherish their original traditions. Aman Paksa is pulled in both directions, and it seems like the division is clear cut. Is it possible to combine the best of both worlds?
Back to the roots
Aman Paksa and the clans are dependent on their land and lifestock which make up an intricate economic system. Sometimes a huge durian tree can cycle through different clans until it might even end up to the original posessor 15-20 years later. Since Aman Paksa and many others have left their fullblown traditional jungle life little by little, their lifestock has decreased. In their unsuccessful persuit for money and stuff, they have gone from being a very rich people to poor people in the ratrace.
Aman Paksa has chosen to embrace his original lifestyle and go back to what he says is point zero. He wants to build a new traditional house up in his ancestral place where his latest traditional house is now rotting after 20 years of existence. The problem is, because of his condition in between, he has become less resourceful in both worlds.
The apparantly unsolvable problem
Getting help to build a new house is very challenging because resources a too scarce on both sides. Usually they pay with their lifestock which is normally so big it won't have an unappropriate effect on their life support. Getting their lifestock number up again after such a major effort, takes much less than it takes to pay back a mortgage in the western world. But suddenly Aman Paksa finds himself in a poor position of desperation.
Three reasons for going back
After seeing how the societies surrounding him work, he feels uncertain about whether it is poor or rich. He says; their song is different than mine.
I can tag along, but in my heart I cannot
If I will live here, I would have to become a child again. A part of it is resignation. Another is fear. The third one is the gravitation towards his roots.
Our last bargain
It took 15 years to make Newtopia. Our immense, soul-wrecking, humorous and sobering tale from a disappearing world brings us to a place in time which will never be documented again.
50% of the sales for bringing this story to you will go appropriately to Aman Paksa and his family. 100% of any dontions will go to a Aman Paksa's housing-project, which will secure his old age, and to provide schooling for his son.
Change of heart
When I first met Aman Paksa he wanted to have his son to inherit his land and live like himself, but now he want to do whatever it takes to provide schooling for his son. This is so he can get educated, and not be stepped on by the outsiders, says Aman Paksa.
New times are coming, and it is time to adapt. But, Aman Paksa dreams of somthing else. He is most likely one of the last real shamans in Mentawai.
Let us help Aman Paksa to make his dream come true, and my next documentary projects by enjoying our film.