Subject: Film producer vows to tell truth about Balibo Five

Film producer vows to tell truth about Balibo Five

30th June 2008, 12:30 WST

The producer of a new political thriller about five Australia-based newsmen killed in East Timor in 1975 says the film will tell the truth about their deaths.

Cameras started rolling in Darwin today on the film Balibo, written by David Williamson (Gallipoli, The Year of Living Dangerously) and directed by Robert Connolly (The Bank).

Balibo recreates the events surrounding the shooting of Brian Peters, Greg Shackleton, Gary Cunningham, Malcolm Rennie and Tony Stewart in the East Timorese border town of Balibo during the Indonesian invasion.

An Australian coronial inquest last year found the five journalists were deliberately killed by Indonesian troops to prevent them exposing the invasion.

The movie already had stirred tensions ahead of its first day of filming.

Last week an Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman said the film should include Indonesia's point of view.

Balibo producer John Maynard said today he had not received any requests for input from Indonesia's foreign ministry.

"We've had no requests to represent Indonesia's point of view," he told the ABC.

"But I can assure you what we're going to show and screen is what actually happened.

"What we're going to do is tell the truth."

The film boasts a talented line-up of Australian actors, including Without a Trace star Anthony LaPaglia, Underbelly's Gyton Grantley, Wolf Creek star Nathan Phillips, and Damon Gameau from The Tracker.

LaPaglia will play Roger East, another Australian journalist who attempts to discover the fate of the journalists, who became known as the Balibo Five.

US actor Oscar Isaac, who has just finished shooting Agora opposite Rachel Weisz, will play East Timorese president Jose Ramos-Horta as a young idealistic revolutionary.

The cast and crew will spend three weeks filming in Darwin, before heading to the East Timorese capital Dili for four weeks.

LaPaglia, who will shoot a number of scenes around the Top End this week, said he was happy to be making another movie in Australia.

"It's such an inspiring team and an important story for Australia and the region," LaPaglia said.

The Lantana star has previously said he expected the film to cause controversy when it was released.

Balibo is scheduled for release mid 2009.


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