Filmmakers Michael Lawrence and David Kruta recently went to the Mentawai Islands and Nias, off Sumatra, Indonesia, to cover our work in malaria, water and sanitation, and emergency preparedness.
Lawrence first worked with SurfAid in 2010, when he volunteered to photograph our emergency and recovery work after the devastation of the October 2010 Mentawai tsunami.
“While seeing some of the most heart-wrenching images of my life, I also experienced such a great camaraderie; a sense of perseverance emanated from the people there,” Lawrence says. “ I was in love with the islands, and knew I would have to come back. Over two years later, I was invited by SurfAid to film their ongoing work in the islands and their noble efforts to improve the quality of life for the Mentawai and Nias people. “Some might resort to a shock-value sort of approach, but having spent a great deal of time in Indonesia in the past (I used to live there), I wanted to bring up the topic in a more human light. There is a great deal of beauty there, in both the people and in Mother Nature. This message is perhaps more important than the statistics … this beauty is rare, the place is magical, and we wanted to keep that in sight. It's about the human connection and the fact that these people need help. So we chose to show the people, rather than dwell on the negative statistics. We chose to show the potential for betterment.”
David Kruta says that as one of the most remote areas on the planet, the Mentawais are home to both tragedies and sheer beauty: “Our goal was to bring a cinematic quality, and by shooting low and wide, we were able to show the strength and resilience of the people of the Mentawais. Shooting for SurfAid was a privilege and a life changing experience.”