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Production   /  Phil Jarratt

GENERATION 99 (Geracão Foun)

Truth, reconciliation and rock and roll in Timor-Leste.


Impact areas





  • DIRECTOR Shaun Cairns

  • PRODUCER Phil Jarratt



Twenty years since an historic referendum set the wheels in motion to free Timor Leste from a quarter century of occupation, oppression and violence, a generation born into war has emerged to create a vibrant new culture that is breeding hope and prosperity in Timor-Leste.
Generation 99 will trace the lives of the artists, film-makers and musicians who have used artistic expression as a weapon to create a new Timor. With 62 percent of the population under 25 in 2018, Timor-Leste is being led by its Millennials towards an era of increasing prosperity, health standards and literacy, despite 95 percent of the tiny nation’s schools being destroyed during the violence of 1999. As well as painting a vivid portrait of Timor-Leste now, we examine the bloody back-stories of child soldiers who became protest singers and symbols of their generation, of musicians persecuted for rallying people behind their songs of hope. We will document the development of a proud and unique Timorese sound.

Support this project

12.50% funded
  • $120,000.00

  • $15,000.00

  • December 2019

  • 1

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $






Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Our film will look at how the broad youth-based culture of Timor-Leste – the children of war known as “Generation 99” - is building a national identity. Through this focus on youth-based culture, we hope to create a new level of awareness – particularly among young Australians – of who our nearest neighbours are and what cultural riches they have to offer.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Generation 99 will use the attractive and lively subject of the new music and art scene to open up the eyes and hearts of Australians to this history, and the challenges that lie ahead for Australia’s nearest neighbour.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

While a small group of Australians has campaigned for decades for the rights of the people of Timor-Leste to be independent and determine their own destiny, the vast majority would have trouble finding it on a map, let alone comprehending what its people have been through and how their suffering has helped mould a proud nationalism underpinned by a strong and vibrant culture.

Our film will look at how the broad youth-based culture of Timor-Leste – the children of war known as “Generation 99” - is building a national identity. This will include an examination of the street art movement that helped turn Timorese youth from gang violence to creativity, but it will primarily focus on the music – a raw and earthy hybrid of styles borne out of the protest movement of the late 1990s, an infectious blend of metal, reggae, rap and melodic vocals delivered in Tetum and infused with a social message.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We are partnering with Asia Justice and Rights, a non-profit human rights organization based in Jakarta, and headed up by Australian human rights lawyer Patrick Burgess. The involvement of AJAR in this film is in fulfilment of its core mandate to protect human rights in the Asia Pacific region. AJAR believes that sustainable positive change cannot be achieved without increasing the awareness of human rights and the obligations that governments, such as those of Australia and Timor Leste have to protect and promote rights.

In the current historical context, the ‘old’ methodologies, such as long human rights reports, are of very limited value in reaching the broad audiences that are needed for the changes in awareness to take place that drive policy, law and practice. In the past five years AJAR has been involved in the production of three highly successful TV series that combine popular elements, such as music, football, love stories and drama, with human rights messages.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

Generation 99 will be produced in English but parts of the dialogue will be in the local Tetun language with subtitles. AJAR is partnering with us because of their strong conviction that the film will spread the knowledge of past mass human rights violations in Timor-Leste and help a broad audience in Australia, Timor-Leste and elsewhere understand how those violations take place and the suffering of victims that is the inevitable result.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

In addition to its application for television and theatrical screenings, Generation 99 will be offered for use in education programs in schools and universities in Australia. Its impact will be measured through surveys conducted with the schools and universities that take part in this education program, and the discussion groups with students that follow the showing of the film. Surveys of other viewers will also be conducted.