Private Project

Made in Paradise

As his idyllic homeland turns into an imagined paradise for outsiders, Balinese artist Made Bayak reveals the other side. Using plastic as a medium, Made's creative language and education activism bring us on a ride from holy peaks, sacred waters and his religious family life, all the way to the luxurious resort zones, questioning the state of Balinese culture in Bali’s mass tourism development.

  • Yang Yang
  • Yang Yang
  • Yang Yang
  • I Wayan Gde Yudane
  • Terry Dame
  • Toby Shimin
    Story Consultant
    Ernie&Joe, 32 pills, Buck
  • Michael Epstein
    Story Consultant
    John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky, House Two
  • Yang Yang
  • Yuxing Guo
  • Rizky Gatan Setiawan
  • Hao Jiang
    Sound Engineer
  • Yirui Tian
    Graphic Designer
  • Wayan Martino
    Associate Producer
  • Virginia Helzainka
    Associate Producer
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    34 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    October 30, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    83,315 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Yang Yang

Yang is an independent filmmaker based in New York City, originally from the Qingling Alps of China. Yang developed a deep passion for the ocean and the mountains as a young athlete, and received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2019. She has assisted award-winning directors Beth Aala on her newest feature, Made in Boise (AFI, 2019), and Jeff Orlowski’s The Social Dilemma (Sundance, 2020) during her studies. She is also a 2019 recipient of the Emerging Filmmaker Scholarship at the Jackson Wild Summit. Before shifting gears towards documentaries, she studied music and art history in college. Yang is also a scuba diving instructor.

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Director Statement

The underwater world was what lured me to Bali back in early 2017. During a five months scuba instructor training in Bali, I fell in love with the genuine smiles of the Balinese people, their colorful offerings to the gods, and the food carts strolling down the narrow streets, leaving fragrance of the cloves and lemongrass. At the same time, I was constantly struck by the dramatic difference between the living conditions of travelers and the local communities. Riding on the scooter through villages, the unbearable smells of the plastic wastes burning at river mouths or roadsides made me start to wonder the cause to such an imbalanced power relation. Growing up in China had me witness the environmental cost we had to pay for the rocket-speed economic development, and that sense of irony got magnified when I was Bali - for its romanticized reputation to lure people in, but then for our presence and consumptive demands to become precisely the reason to kill its beauty.

These strangling thoughts made me start to ponder deeply about my role as a tourist. What have I done to a place that I came to fall for, when in reality I was only here to consume energy, pay for services, and leave a bunch a wastes behind? Best solution I figured, was to get closer with the Balinese community, observe, listen, and experience their pride and struggles. Soon, I found myself hanging around a group of artists and activists who initiated community programs, hoping to address and remind others of the fundamental values that makes Bali a spiritual place. In a country infamous for its political corruption and dogmatic public, these people showed me courage and hope. I wanted to capture Bali’s beauty, but also unfold the part of Bali that most tourists would never come in contact with. Revealing plastic pollution was never the purpose, but merely an access point to look into a society’s current condition, as I regard trash a cruel representation of a society’s digestive system.