Wawata Topu - Mermaids of Timor-Leste

Wawata Topu (Women Divers in Rasua dialect) is an award winning documentary about four generations of fisherwomen striving to make a living in the coastal village of Adara, West Ataúro in Timor-Leste. Their daily lives, their economic practices and their vital concerns, as well as the contradicting discourses and social barriers they face, are shown in this ethnographic portrait that makes visible their critical contribution to the household economies and the fishing community at large. Their underwater dancing takes place in a context of rapid social change, where the generalization of the formal education, the progressive consolidation of western moral values and the potential openness of more attractive livelihoods not linked to the sea, seem to be forging a social negotiation of the household economic strategies initiated by the oldest generation during the 50’s.

  • David Palazón
  • Enrique Alonso
  • David Palazón
  • Enrique Alonso
  • David Palazón
  • Enrique Alonso
  • Women divers of Adara
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    ethnography, gender studies, visual anthropology, fisheries
  • Runtime:
    33 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    August 31, 2013
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • American Online Film Awards
    New York
    United States
    February 26, 2016
    North American Premiere
    Best Foreign Documentary
  • 7ème Édition du Festival International de Films Pêcheurs du Monde
    March 1, 2015
    National Premiere
    Special Prize ‘Chandrika Sharma’
  • FACA (Festa de Cinema Antropologia e Arte)
    February 1, 2016
  • 10th edition of JAFF (Jogja Netpac Asian Film Festival)
    December 1, 2015
  • Rencontres a la Campagne Film Festival
    September 1, 2015
  • CAOFF (Costa Azul Ocean Film Festival)
    August 1, 2015
  • 15ème édition du Festival International du Film Insulaire de Groix
    August 2, 2015
  • Pasifika Film and Arts Festival
    June 1, 2015
  • Étonnants Voyageurs
    May 1, 2015
  • St Kilda Film Festival
    City of Port Phillip
    May 3, 2015
  • 2nd edition of INSTIDOC (Ciclo do Documentário Institucional)
    April 8, 2015
  • 12th FIFO (Festival International du Film Documentaire Oceanien)
    French Polynesia
    January 13, 2015
  • Intimate Lens Festival of Visual Ethnography
    October 16, 2014
  • Matsalu International Nature Film Festival
    September 8, 2014
  • 37th Festival de Cinéma de Douarnenez
    August 13, 2014
  • 34th NAFA (Nordic Anthropological Film Association Festival)
    June 10, 2014
  • FIFEQ (International Ethnographic Film Festival of Quebec)
    March 5, 2014
  • APERTURE (Asia Pacific International Ethnographic Documentary)
    November 28, 2013
Distribution Information
  • David Palazón
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - David Palazón, Enrique Alonso

Producer and Co-director: Enrique Alonso holds a Ba in Sociology, a Ma in Coastal and Marine Resource Management and a PhD in Social & Cultural Anthropology by the University of A Coruña, Spain. He has received the Extraordinary Doctorate Prize and was awarded with the Spanish National Prize of Cultural Research “Marqués de Lozoya” for his work “Risk, Culture and Work. A Case Study in a Spanish Galician Fishery”. With research experience in both urban and rural contexts in Spain and Timor-Leste, he has focused attention on fishing communities. Research topics included marine and coastal governance, human-nature relatedness, risk management, food security, kinship, generation and gender systems, working processes and economic practices. Since 2010 he worked as Technical Advisor for the Spanish funded and FAO executed Regional Fisheries Livelihoods Programme for South and Southeast Asia (RFLP) in Timor-Leste. Currently he works as consultant and is visiting fellow at the University of Salamanca, Spain.

Director and Co-producer: David Palazón is originally from Barcelona where he studied graphic design before moving to London to study Media Design at the London College of Communication and later at the Royal College of Art. He was an associate lecturer at the University of the Arts London between 2005-2008 and well as a practicing artist / filmmaker / designer. David has shown his work internationally including the Aichi World Expo in 2005, the Whitechapel and 291 galleries to named a few. He moved to Timor-Leste in 2008, where he lives and works since. He designed the first in-country exhibition of the Timorese diaspora, produced the first Timorese indigenous documentary titled Uma Lulik (the Sacred House), winning the 3rd audience award at BIFF and has managed over the lasts 3 years the largest mapping research of traditional culture in the country in collaboration with Griffith University in Australia and the Secretary of State for Arts and Culture in Timor-Leste. He is currently the research coordinator at the implementation unit of the future Academy of Arts & Creative Industries in this young nation. Filmography: 2013 Wawata Topu - Mermaids of Timor-Leste (33min, HDV colour, etnographic documentary, funded by SPC and EU) Director, Co-Producer & Editor. Ataúro, TL • Nelson ba Jaco (2min 54sec, HDV dual screen colour, experimental film with Nelson Turquel) • Jantar Special (13min 30sec, HDV B/W, experimental film and performance with Colleen Coy) TL 2012 San Humor de los Baños (10min, HDV colour, documentary) Co-Director, Produced by EICTV, CU • Flocking (4min 20sec, HDV B/W dance film with choreographer Colleen Coy) TL 2010 Uma Lulik - The Sacred House (52mins, HDV colour documentary co-produced with CPLP and IDA for DOCTV) Executive Producer & Editor, TL • Homenage to Saramago (1min 15sec, duotone TV ad / Portuguese Embassy) Art Director & Editor, TL 2009 Iha Lulik Laran - Inside the Sacred (20mins, HDV colour documentary / AECID) Producer, TL • Hanesan Maibee Ketak-Ketak - Same same but different (56min, HDV colour experimental documentary / Nobel Peace Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta co-produced by AECID & Ba Futuru) TL • Il Pugno - The Fist (4min 32sec, colour, photographic documentary) Bologna, Italy • 2008 Peace on Wheels (4min 37sec, HDV colour, experimental documentary) Dili, TL • Intentionally Incidental (7min 24sec, HDV colour performance film with artist Max Mikhail Ryleev) Dili, TL • El Nuevo Mundo (20min, colour, art documentary) Lima, PE • She and Her Sleepwalking (4min 15 sec, colour, performance documentary) Brighton, UK • She and Her Here and There (12min 15sec, colour, performance documentary) Isle of Dogs, UK • She and Her Exchange (5min, colour, performance documentary) London, UK • Free Ride (6min, B/W, performance documentary) London, UK • Artepreneurs (68min, colour, documentary with University of the Arts London students) London, UK 2007 Ticket Cylinder (10min, colour, documentary with artist Helen Foster) London, UK • Portrait (3min 30sec, colour, art film) London, UK • She and Her Crossing (5min, colour, performance documentary) London, UK • Eat What You Love (5min, duotone, performance documentary) London, UK 2006 Bienvenido (60min, colour, documentary) Assistant Director. Camino de Santiago, ES • Anthropology (1min, colour, art film) Accra, Ghana 2005 Take Me Away (1min 20sec, colour, art film) London, UK • SOS (2min 45sec, colour, art film - loop) London, UK • Cultural Pandemonium (1min 15sec, art film) Sunyani, Ghana 2004 El Documento (54min, colour, documentary) London, UK • Use Your Head (3min 15sec, colour, art film) Besease, Ghana • Pum(ing) (1min, colour, art film) Afram Plains, Ghana • Eye See (9min 30sec, colour, art documentary) London, UK

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