What we do
Borneo Eco Film Festival is an annual non-profit event celebrating Borneo’s biocultural diversity through showcasing environmental films and nurturing local community filmmaking.
- BEFF is the only festival in Borneo focusing on environmental and cultural films.
- BEFF is the only festival that enables Borneo’s indigenous peoples and community groups to make their own films in their own voice.
- BEFF is the only festival where both filmmakers and environmentalists conduct talks and workshops together.
What are our aims?
- To educate through new knowledge on ecological and cultural issues;
- To expose through environmental films that stimulate discussion; and
- To engage storytellers through a platform for community filmmaking.
We remain faithful to a focus on exploring the interactions between culture and nature, both shaped by history and yet so seminal in defining our future trajectory.
We achieve this through three thematic programmes: Suara Community Filmmaking, Suara Publika and Environmental Cinema, each being a delivery vehicle for engagement with the local communities – both rural and urban – of Sabah. All of our activities are presented for free.
BEFF is powered by a team of professionals who have found success in a range of fields, from conservation, tourism, business and the creative industries of film, writing and media. The team works voluntarily to raise funds, nurture partnerships, engage communities and deliver on the programming every year.
SUARA COMMUNITY FILMMAKING
The SUARA COMMUNITY FILMMAKING programme is about enabling people from all walks of life to tell their stories in their own words and images. Suara, the Malay word for “voice”, is an innovative year-long programme that aims to train indigenous and local communities how to harness the power of images and sound to tell their stories about their communities and the environments around them.
Suara Community Filmmaking is a year-round training programme that supports filmmakers from indigenous and local communities to make a series of films with their own images and in their own voice. We do this by providing workshops and talks during the festival, as well as year-round training sessions held in their respective communities. Suara Komuniti is open to indigenous and local community filmmakers and admission is free.
SUARA PUBLIKA is a series of workshops and talks presented at the festival each year. Publika features environmental scientists, conservation and community-based groups, storytellers and filmmakers who present exciting workshops and talks about some of the key cultural and environmental issues in Sabah, Borneo and Malaysia today. Suara Publika is open to the public and admission is free.
The ENVIRONMENTAL CINEMA programme is an in-festival presentation of a series of exclusive premieres of local and international environmental films. We are seeking to expand the idea of environmental cinema from the traditional to the experimental, encompassing thoughtful narrative and artful expression in an exploration of our relationship with nature.
SUARA PREMIERES is a part of the Environmental Cinema programme where completed Suara Community films are brought to a public audience on the big screen. Each of the filmmaking teams responsible for producing a completed film is given the opportunity of introducing their film to the BEFF audience on the final night of the festival weekend.
BOLEH BAH FILEM KITA! is a platform for local filmmakers to show how creative they can be with a very local flavour! With BBFK, the Borneo Eco Film Festival hopes to spur local talent and encourage the filmmaking scene.
THE BEFF STORY
BEFF started, five years ago, as a “passion project” amongst friends who wanted to create a versatile platform where local stories and voices could be heard. Driven by a collective vision – founded on the belief in the power of the storyteller to uplift and inspire change – we have continued to draw on our individual strengths and networks to grow BEFF. With the work of foundational programme development, building networks and shaping partnerships in place, we are now turning our attention to enhancing the delivery of impacts rather than any further escalation in size.
BEFF is – by design – a small project, powered almost entirely by volunteers and made possible by the financial and in-kind contributions of our partners and supporters. That said, we have attracted a sizeable collective of filmmakers, musicians, conservation and indigenous organisations, academics, government partners, local businesses and passionate individuals who converge each year to mount our three thematic programmes.
Since 2011, BEFF has grown into a yearly “coming-together” that connects rural with urban communities, amateur with professional filmmakers, environmentalists with local businesses, and where boundaries of religion, ethnicity, class and partisanship dissolve amongst a community of friends. It has been – and still is – a process of co-creation and reciprocity made possible because people from all walks of life come together for a few moments each year to do something we enjoy together.