SOAS University of London

Centre of South East Asian Studies

Bloodshot: the dreams and nightmare of East Timor

Peter A Gordon

Date: 11 March 2014Time: 5:15 PM

Finishes: 11 March 2014Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B102

Type of Event: Film


This is the story of an undercover documentary I produced over 20 years ago. It won a best documentary award from the RTS  but more significantly it changed the course of a nation - and led to extraordinary changes in the lives of the crew that made it.

In 1991 a former Blue Peter presenter turned cameraman risked his life to film the cold blooded massacre of 270 civilians in a churchyard in a far off island. Just before he was arrested he buried the crucial footage by a grave.

After it was smuggled off the island the pictures of the slaughter led news bulletins around the world. The world awoke to Indonesia's brutal occupation of East Timor. It was the trigger that led directly to East Timor winning independence.

The researcher for the film was a 22 year old called Kirsty Sword. She gave up TV to devote herself to the East Timorese cause. Making clandestine prison visits to the Timorese guerrilla leader Xanana Gusmao, she fell in love. They married. And in 2002 she became the President Gusmao’s First Lady.

The Blue Peter presenter, Max Stahl, also gave up everything for East Timor. He left his life and family in London to live on the island.

There were more dramatic transformations: the student who helped smuggle out the documentary footage became the Minister of Health... the exiled activist won the Nobel Peace prize

This new film documents these amazing developments.

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