From the 7-8 June 2017 UNESCO and the Asian Film Archive cooperated to hold a two-day workshop that explored how UNESCO’s Memory of the World programme (Memory of the World Asia Pacific “MOWCAP”) can help protect and preserve Southeast Asia’s precious audiovisual heritage. Twelve participants from ten Southeast Asian countries attended the workshop which aimed at helping in the identification of potential audiovisual heritage for nomination and assistance in the inscription process. The workshop was generously supported by the National Library Board, Singapore.
Over the course of the 20th Century, Southeast Asian cinema has documented the tumult and triumph of emerging nations in this dynamic region and helped to reflect – and in some cases shape – peoples’ own understanding of their national identities, histories and cultures. It’s a legacy that is as diverse and vibrant as the region itself and one that is at risk of fading from history due to preservation challenges, ranging from the region’s climate to a lack of resources. In addition, there is a lack of representation of this heritage on national, regional and international Memory of the World (MoW) registers.
The workshop aims to address this challenge by sharing information about MoW with stakeholders from the region, and to support them in identifying potential moving images, sound recordings and other audiovisual works for potential inscription on MoW registers. The workshop resulted in the identification of a number of significant audio visual collections with potential for national, regional and international MoW registers including:
Myanmar’s oldest surviving feature film, the ‘Emerald Jungle’
Brunei’s first ever feature film that resulted from a collaboration between Brunei and Malaysia film makers
The propaganda films of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia dating from the 1970s.
The film archives of ‘Da King’, Fernando Poe Jr Collection: a legendary actor and film maker from the Philippines who’s work covers over five decades beginning in the 1950s.
Early feature films from Thailand, Laos and Vietnam that showcase the respective countries film history and which had influence in the wider region.
News reel that films document the early independence period in Indonesia where leaders of the new country were traveling and introducing the new symbols of the Republic such as the national flag and the national anthem.
About UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme: The MoW Programme was established in 1992 to preserve and promote documentary heritage, including audiovisual heritage, in a manner similar to how UNESCO’s World Heritage List recognizes and support natural and cultural sites of outstanding universal value. The programme’s chief aims are to champion the preservation, accessibility and visibility of the world’s documentary heritage. The International Memory of the World Register was launched in 1997 and followed by several regional and national registers (including the Memory of the World Committee for Asia Pacific, or MOWCAP)