Grit - Film Screening and Discussion


Monday, April 22, 2019

In 2006, during drilling operations by the Lapindo company in East Java, Indonesia, a boiling mud volcano suddenly erupted from underground, rapidly and completely submerging 16 villages in Sidoarjo regency, and displacing 60,000 people, including Dian and her family. The mud flow continues to the present day, the landscape has not recovered. Shot over six years, this startling and stunning documentary looks at the disaster’s aftermath, and follows Dian as the local community develops advocacy strategies to confront the drilling company and the Indonesian government to redress what they have lost.

GRIT co-director Sasha Friedlander is an award-winning filmmaker, known in particular for Where Heaven Meets Hell (2013), which she directed, produced, shot and edited. That film, screened by CSEAS at UC Berkeley in spring 2013, followed the lives of four sulfur miners working in Kawah Ijen, an active volcano in East Java, Indonesia. It received a Special Mention Award by the Václav Havel Jury for its “exceptional contribution to the defense of human rights” at the One World International Human Rights Film Festival in Prague. Friedlander received her undergraduate degree from UCLA and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts. She worked as a journalist in Indonesia for several years, and is fluent in Indonesian. She co-directed GRIT with Cynthia Wade who won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject for Freeheld.

Michael Manga is the Garniss H. Curtis Endowed Department Chair and Professor of Earth and Planetary Science at UC Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. His research interests focus on geological processes involving fluids, including problems in physical volcanology, geodynamics, hydrogeology, and geomorphology. He was a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, and was elected to the National Academy of Science in 2018. His recent publications include analyses of the possible and likely causes of the Sidoarjo disaster (also known as the Lusi mud eruption), as well as studies of other hydrothermal and seismic phenomena around the world.

Nancy Lee Peluso is Henry J. Vaux Distinguished Professor of Forest Policy in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management at UC Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. from Cornell University. Her research on resource policy and politics and forest and agrarian change focuses on Indonesia. Her publications include Rich Forests, Poor People: Resource Control and Resistance in Java (UC Press, 1992); the co-edited volumes, Taking Southeast Asia to Market: Commodities, People and Nature in a Neoliberal Age (Cornell University Press, 2008), with Joseph Nevins; and Violent Environments (Cornell University Press, 2001), with Michael Watts; and the recent article, “Entangled Territories in Small-Scale Gold Mining Frontiers: Labor Practices, Property, and Secrets in Indonesian Gold Country” in World Development (2018).

Max Rudolph is Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Davis. His research focuses on geological fluid mechanics, with current projects involving investigation of global-scale mantle dynamics and eruptive processes in geysers and mud volcanoes. His recent work has paid particular attention to the Sidoarjo disaster, and he is the lead author or co-author of several articles on this case – appearing in the Journal of Marine and Petroleum Geology in 2017, Geophysical Research Letters in 2015 and 2013, and Earth and Planetary Sciences Letters in 2011. He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley.

Sylvia Tiwon is Associate Professor of South & Southeast Asian Studies at UC Berkeley. She teaches literature, gender, and cultural studies of Southeast Asia with a focus on Indonesia. She has undertaken fieldwork in a number of cultural regions in the Indonesian archipelago, and is actively involved with NGO networks and activist organizations in Indonesia concerned with social justice and human rights. She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. . She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley.

See the GRIT trailer: