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Development   /  Pria Viswalingam

GOSTU! Culinary Diplomacy in Timor-Leste

GOSTU! An Extraordinary Story of Australian and Timor- Leste Culinary Diplomacy


Impact areas








  • DIRECTOR Pria Viswalingam

  • PRODUCER Pria Viswalingam



GOSTU! will be the first ever documentary series on Timor-Leste’s rich history – through
its bio-diversity, culture and culinary heritage. It is a fascinating and original visual adventure around Asia’s newest nation and Australia’s least known neighbour.
GOSTU! will explore Timor-Leste’s new "open-for-business" enthusiasm through its emerging generation of tourism professionals. Highlighting the skills transfer between two Australian social entrepreneurs and the energetic team at the Timor-Leste Food Lab and Agora Food Studio, the documentary series will showcase a stunning combination of history, culture, tourism and food - rare, wild foods, hybrid coffee forests, ingenious food preparation methods never-before seen by international audiences. Themes include – the potential for sustainable tourism including food and coffee on Australia’s doorstep, the paradox of island economies - cheap imports vs high biodiversity - empowering young Timorese to turn their traditional food knowledge into modern innovative cuisine and coffees for local recognition and international audiences.
GOSTU! is made by a diverse team of Australians – Filipino-Australian, Greek-Australian, Malaysian-Tamil Australian and Anglo-Celtic Australians – a wealth of cultural literacy that will inform the production and post-production to deliver a distinctive documentary series.

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0% funded
  • $280,000.00

  • $0.00

  • July 2022

  • 0

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

After consultation with the Australian pioneers of Timor-Leste Food Lab and Agora Food Studio, Fork Films identified an opportunity to produce GOSTU! - a unique and positive story about Timor-Leste’s renewal after decades of conflict and related hardships. The struggle for independence from Portugal in 1975 and then Indonesia in 2002 created Asia's newest nation - proud but impoverished. Decades of civil strife stripped the country of its older generations - its history, its economy, its stories. Now, a new generation is trying to reach back and revive Timorese identity for themselves and for the world. The purpose of this documentary series is to support Timorese as they build a new and sustainable tourism industry and diversify its national income opportunities. In a saturated regional market, Timorese tourism offers unique differences and significant growth opportunities and Australia is its largest potential source.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

To help showcase a partnership in culinary diplomacy between Australia and Timor-Leste by documenting skills transfer and capacity building in a successful bid to create new opportunities for a sustainable culturally-focused tourism future.


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

Two principal outcomes:
1. To support a new generation of young Timorese with their successful food, coffee and nascent tourism entrepreneurship in a first-ever high-end TV documentary series.
2. In a saturated regional market, Timorese tourism offers new and unique differences. TL represents "a clean slate" to build a sustainable tourism industry by appealing to its largest potential source - Australia. By broadcasting GOSTU! on SBS TV, Australian TV and online audiences will be treated to a distinctive series on Timor-Leste that doesn't dwell on past conflicts but introduces cultural recovery, fresh optimism and new horizons. Broadcast and online audiences will also be significantly enhanced internationally by FLAME MEDIA distribution.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

By raising awareness through Australian and international broadcast and online presence. A blue-chip documentary series on a new and relatively unknown destination will attract interest from audiences worldwide which will translate into a quantifiable rise in direct and indirect tourism.


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

Working with the principal people from the Timor-Leste Food Lab and Agora Food Studio, the series will have on-site research and support along with cultural insight and guidance.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

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

Seek more information on the history, culture and facilities on Timor-Leste and then support it by participating in this new and sustainable tourism adventure.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Initially, from reviews and audience numbers from SBS and Flame Media Distribution. Subsequently, in the medium-long term, from tourism numbers through online monitoring.