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Jun 12, 2010

People of East Timor digging for their dead after massacre: New Documentary


1991, Occupied East Timor: an estimated 200 people shot and killed by Indonesian military during an independence march. Images of the massacre became world news and were instrumental in the country gaining independence. But the bodies of the dead protestors were never returned to family members and their location has remained a mystery.

Two decades after the massacre, Director and Producer Andrew Sully joins expert forensic teams from Australia and Argentina as they exhume the mass graves where the victims were secretly buried by the Indonesian military. Grieving relatives may finally have an opportunity to reclaim and bury the bodies of their loved ones.

In their search for the Santa Cruz victims the forensic team encounters unreliable witnesses, false rumors and speculation about the location of the mass grave. They must also negotiate with the traditional beliefs of the East Timorese families, for whom Catholic and animist rituals are as legitimate a method for finding the bodies as the science of the forensic team.
The findings of the investigation could solve some unanswered questions about one of the most infamous mass murders of the 20th century. Exactly how many died? Was the massacre a tragic over-reaction by junior soldiers or were senior officers involved? Were there cold-blooded executions of survivors following the shootings at the cemetery?

Anatomy of a Massacre features the contemporary forensic dig as a recurring story that threads the film together. Cutting edge forensic science reveals new evidence about what happened on that fateful day.

With graphic archival material and witness testimonies, this 60 minute piece made for the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) is a landmark film about one of the most notorious massacres in recent history. It is a unique story that combines modern forensic science with powerful emotion.

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