Project Description

The Black Road

1 x 52 minute documentary

The Black Road takes us on a journey deep inside Southeast Asia’s hottest conflict – a conflict that may well decide the fate of Indonesia, Australia’s closest neighbour and the world’s largest Muslim nation. Whilst the people of Aceh fight for political independence, Indonesia wants to keep the gas-rich province firmly under its control.

Filmed over four years by journalist turned filmmaker, William Nessen tells a harrowing story of Aceh’s struggle for independence from Indonesia. During this time he befriends the leading Indonesian general in the province and patrols with his men. He falls in love and marries a local muslim translator, trusted by the military, but working secretly for the independence movement. Days after his marriage in Aceh, the security forces kidnap and kill his bestman, an outspoken human rights activist.

Nessen lived for many months on the frontlines with GAM independence fighters, was himself hunted and almost killed by the Indonesian military, and eventually went to jail. Nessen is pulled deep into the conflict and the personal lives of the Acehnese, and he must wrestle with the dilemmas of remaining an observer in a place of terrible misdeeds.

Through the lens of Nessen’s personal and powerful experiences emerges the first film to tell the story of Aceh’s rebellion against Indonesian rule.

Best Documentary under 60 minutes, Mumbai International Film Festival 2006
Best Film of the Festival,  Mumbai International Film Festival 2006
Best made for TV Documentary, Screenrights 2006
Special Mention, St Laurence New Zealand Medium Documentary,  DOCNZ Film Festival 2006

Director and Writer  William Nessen
Camera  William Nessen
Editor and Co-writer  Lawrie Silvestrin
Producer  Andrew Ogilvie
An Electric Pictures Production 2005