An educational film is being produced at the University of Otago, to be used as a health promotion resource for communities in rural areas of Java, in Indonesia. The film project is led by Dr Dan Bendrups, La Trobe University, with funding from the Australian National Commission for UNESCO, La Trobe University, and the University of Otago.

Dan Bendrups said the project was a collaboration with Prof Donald Stewart, of Griffith University, who has been working in Indonesia for a number of years, building sanitation facilities in rural parts of the country.

“Don and I have put together the idea of using Wayang Kulit, or Javanese shadow puppetry, as a vehicle for promotion around those facilities that he’s built, and getting some health education out into these communities.”

Dr Bendrups and seventh generation Javanese shadow puppeteer Dr Joko Susilo of the University of Otago’s Department of Music, Theatre and Performing Arts have written the screenplay.

“Joko and I have written a new story, based around some key characters in the traditional Wayang Kulit repertoire, that basically puts them in a battle against intestinal worms in the body of a small child.”

Dr Bendrups said Wayang Kulit was traditionally accompanied by Javanese Gamelan music. However, the movie would be accompanied by an original soundtrack created by himself and Dr Susilo, as well as Dunedin musician Dr Trevor Coleman and University of Otago lecturers Prof Henry Johnson, Associate Prof Rob Burns and Dr Ian Chapman.

“It’s quite a unique soundtrack which uses digitally modified instruments to create some original funk, jazz and other aspects of popular music.”

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