The Boneca de Ataúro (Ataúro's Doll, in Portuguese language) is the most well-known handicraft project in the young nation of Timor-Leste. Born 10 years ago, it is one of those projects truly born out of love, passion and hard work while providing income to over 60 women and their families in Ataúro island, 25km off the coast of the capital city of Dili.

‘Boneca de Ataúro: Searching for the Lost Love’ became the first stop-motion film coming out the young nation of Timor-Leste. In this non-stop laughter and action-packed film, the main character—a handmade rag doll called Ataurina—while looking for her abducted partner, takes us into an adventurous journey through some of the most beautiful locations in Ataúro island (a new eco-tourism paradise destination in South East Asia). During the trip, Ataurina travels by all means— encountering unexpected dangers and meeting curious characters across the island—in a mission to get her loved one back.

The film was made totally pro-bono by award-winning filmmaker David Palazón, co-written and co-produced by Karen Reidy and Swiss artist and founder tf the cooperative Ester Piera Zuercher, and in collaboration with all the women in the cooperative. The film plays a central role as the teaser to support the cooperative’s fundraising campaign on The objective of the campaign is to secure the necessary funds to support the much needed development project (emancipation, education and infrastructure) for the cooperative between 2016 and 2018.

The film dialogues are in Tetun (the local language) so to reach further audiences, the film has been subtitled in English, Portuguese, French, Italian, Spanish and Tetum (choose your prefere subtitles on the Vimeo player CC button). The film launched at Fundação Oriente in Dili on July 13th 2016 during the Artaúro show in collaboration with Jen Shyu, singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and recipient of the 2016 Doris Duke artist award. The film includes a soundtrack by leading Timorese musicians, like Jah Era, Maestro Simao Barreto or the talented Jen Shyu, who not only contributed with an excerpt from her 'Song for Naldo' for the opening titles, but also worked relentless singing and performing with these amusing women to help us produce the Artaúro show to launch the film. Check the press release by the Portuguese News Agency LUSA on RTP News.

In November 2016, the film won the Best Asian Short Film Award at the 4th Salamindanaw Asian Film Festival. Other official film festival selections include:

May 2017 — Colourtape International Film Festival in Brisbane (Australia).

February 2017 — Jury's Award at the Festival Internacional de Cine para Niños (CINI 2017) in Lima (Peru).

January 2017 — 8th Independent International Internet Short Film Festival (IISFF 8).

December 2016 — 14th International Short & Independent Film Festival in Dhaka (Bangladesh).

November 2016 — KINOdiseea International Children Film Festival in Bucharest (Rumania).

November 2016 — 3rd International Children Film Festival of Odisha in Balanguir (India).

November 2016 — Asian short film competition of the 4th Salamindanaw Asian Film Festival held at the city of General Santos (Philippines).

November 2016 — Design Katha in Colombo, part of the Sri Lanka Design Festival.

Visit their official page on and follow Boneca de Atauro in Facebook

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  • Arlene NS

    thanks for sharing this !

    by Arlene NS

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