Bali Film Commission and South East Film & Video Archive Collaborate to Restore Recently Discovered Color Film Footage from 1939

“The Effects of Balinese Dance on the West – A Tourist Trail” is project that is a joint production based on the collaboration between Bali Film Commission (BFC) and the South East Film & Video Archive (SEFVA) at University of Brighton, UK that revolves around the recently discovered color footage of Bali material of 1939 documenting the beginnings of Travel to Bali and the effect Balinese Dance had on the early visitors.

At present, there is no broadcast quality digital copy available and access to the Bali film material shot by Swedish Diplomat TH Wistrand (stationed in Tokyo, Japan 1936-39) is non-existent. This amazing 16mm Kodachrome color film shows a fascinating glimpse into the true Bali that existed at the time. Bali Film Commission has been granted access to this rare footage.

The dance scenes in the Wistrand film are of great cultural importance in showing Balinese dance heritage in color. The teacher seen in the sequence is I Ketut Marya, considered the greatest Balinese dancer and choreographer of all time. Balinese dance culture was first shown in the West at the Paris Colonial Exhibition of 1931 and subsequently promoted a cultural tourism that can be detected in the western artist colonies of Bali in the 1930’s.

Pioneering anthropologists Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson and Jane Belo, Walter Spies the painter, Colin McPhee the musicologist and Antonin Artaud the famous theatre revolutionary, exemplify early enthusiasm of Balinese culture. The 1930’s Western visitors’ creative talents and fascination with the culture served to spread the worldwide interest in the region people still come to see today.

Endorsed by Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Bali Cultural Office, this film will be used as an educational tool to inspire the communities of musicians and dancers to rediscover their artistic roots, strengthen the local communities and as a tool to promote Indonesia.

The broader vision is the production of a full-length documentary that revolves around the complete Wistrand film that documents an extended journey through Japan, Korea, China, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia (Sumatra, Java and Bali).