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.
The film was co-directed and produced by visual artist David Palazón and anthropologist Enrique Alonso, funded by the SPC (Secretariat of the Pacific Community) in 2013, and with the grateful assistance of photographer Nelson Turquel, production assistant Mario Gomes, divers Nuno da Silva and Beatriz Marciel and graphic designer Fredrik Stürmer.
Since its release in August 2013, Wawata Topu has been selected to participate at many international film festivals. It has been translated into English, French, Spanish (courtesy of Bea & Kike), Portuguese (courtesy of Fundação Oriente), Italian (courtesy of Giacomo & Julia) and German (courtesy of Jan-Parick Fischer). The film has received several reviews by the international press, and on the 26th February 2015, it obtained the BEST FOREIGN DOCUMENTARY AWARD at the American Online Film Awards ceremony in New York. In March 2015 the film received the Special Prize 'Chandrika Sharma' at the 7ème Édition du Festival International de Films Pêcheurs du Monde in Lorient (France).
• March 2015 — The film was included as an online resource at the UH Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), by Roland Gillian. CSEAS is one of only eight National Resource Centers (NRC) for the study of Southeast Asia in the United States.
• March 6th 2015 — ‘From the mountains to the sea, Timorese women fight for more’. by Lyndal Rowlands from the United Nations’ IPS (Inter Press Service) News Agency.
• February 2015 — The film was added to Travel Documentary Films.
• January 2014 — The film was added to the National Library of Australia‘s catalogue (no. 6492965).
• December 2013 — ‘Yemaya Recomends Wawata Topu’ by Nilanjana Biswas from Yemaya Magazine (no.44) from the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF).
• September 2013 — “A muitos filmes para fazer em Timor” (There are many films to be made in Timor), by Hélder Beja from Ponto Final, Macau.
• October 2015 – The online Culture Unplugged Film Festival, in India, USA, Indonesia and New Zealand.
• June 2015 — Pasifika Film and Arts Festival in Sydney, Australia.
• April 2015 — 2nd edition of INSTIDOC (Ciclo do Documentário Institucional) in Maputo, Mozambique.
• March 2015 — FACA (Festa de Cinema Antropologia e Arte) in Lisbon, Portugal.
• March 2015 — 7th Edition of the Festival International de Films “Pêcheurs du Monde” in Lorient, France.
• January 2015 — 12th FIFO (Festival International du Film Documentaire Oceanien) in Papeete, Tahiti.
• January 3rd 2015 — Part of Timor Tales, a fundraising exhibition by Sara Webster at the Warrnambool Lions Club, Victoria, Australia.
• November 2014 — 5th Global Symposium on Gender in Aquaculture & Fisheries in Lucknow, India.
• October 2014 — Intimate Lens Festival of Visual Ethnography in Caserta, Italy.
• September 2014 — Matsalu International Nature Film Festival in Lihula, Estonia.
• August 2014 — 37th Festival de Cinéma de Douarnenez, France.
• June 2014 — 34th NAFA (Nordic Anthropological Film Association Festival), Isafjordur, The University Center of the Westfjords, Iceland.
• April 2014 — Selected in the top ten documentary category at the AOFA (American Online Film Awards).
• March 2014 — Fundação Oriente (Dili, Timor-Leste), on the occasion of the International Women’s Day celebrations.
• March 2014 — Xanana Cultural Center (Dili, Timor-Leste), on the occasion of the International Women’s Day celebrations.
• March 2014 — FIFEQ (International Ethnographic Film Festival of Quebec), Canada.
• November 2013 — SEPI (Secretary of State for the Promotion of Equality) in Timor-Leste launched the film, as part of the East Timorese National Women’s Day, and offering the Women of the Year Award to the protagonists.
• November 2013 — APERTURE (Asia Pacific International Ethnographic Documentary), Melbourne, Australia.