Raising of the papuan flag filmed by a hostage

Philippe Simon & 44' — 2001

6 June 2001. On the 26th day of our march through the Highlands of Papua, Indonesian province, while we were filming a documentary on our journey, warriors of the OPM (Organisation for the liberation of Papua) take us hostage. This organisation has been fighting since the 1960s against the annexation of Papua by Indonesia. It struggles for the right of the Papuan tribes to self-determination and claims total independence of Papua, demanding immediate withdrawal of the Indonesian army and administration from the Highlands. By taking hostages, the OPM wants to draw the attention of the great international powers on the fact that the Papuan are themselves hostages of Indonesia and that this situation is certainly not legitimate.6 August 2001. After 61 days of captivity, the OPM ask us to film a raising of the Papuan flag ceremony. Through this testimony, this organisation would like to show the world a picture of what the papuas are and what they want. The raising of the Papuan flag in the Highlands is forbidden by the Indonesian army who considers this an act of rebellion. On the 7th of August, at about 2 pm, we leave the small village of Paluga to reach the mythical place where Papua was born. We are surrounded by our guards and soon local inhabitants join us. At that point, we believe that we will be released within two days’ time…


Production : Underworld Film
Coproduction : CBA

Philippe Simon
Philippe Simon
Philippe Simon
Philippe Simon
Image editor
Philippe Boucq
Philippe Simon
Image Format
Betacam SP
Sound Format
Languages OV
FR, Tok pisin
Available subtitles

-Objectif doc, Centre Wallonie-Bxl à Paris (F) 03/02
-Festival “Vues sur les docs”, Marseille (F) 06/02
-Festival du film d’aventure et adrénaline, Prague 06/02
-Kalamata film festival, Athènes (Grèce) 10/02 + 1er Prix fiction documentaire
-Festival d’Argos, Bruxelles 10/02
-Festival “Filmer à tout prix”, Bruxelles 11/02
-Traces de vies, Vie Le Comte (F) 11/02

Awards and Mentions

-Kalamata film festival, Athènes (Grèce) 10/02 + 1er Prix fiction documentaire

Other films from Philippe Simon

Stay connected