John Darling


Taman Sari Productions Pty. Ltd.
Telephone: 02 6298 3134
Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies
Lecturer in Documentary and Media Production at Murdoch University during the 1990s.

"The major modern ethnographer of the island (Bali) is a Mexican, Miguel Covarrubias; the most stimulating social theorist an Englishman, Gregory Bateson; the most innovative cinematographer, an Australian, John Darling. And then there are the Americans: Margaret Mead on personality development, Coin McPhee on music, Jane Belo on trance, all have produced definitive studies."

Clifford Geertz from the Foreward to "The Three Worlds of Bali" by J. Stephen Lansing, Praeger Publishers, New York, 1983.

"THE HEALING OF BALI" - a one hour documentary Directed and Produced by John Darling was screened on SBS on The Cutting Edge on Tuesday October 7, 2003 at 8.30pm, to coincide with the first anniversay of the Bali bombings. © Taman Sari Productions 2003

"THE HEALING OF BALI" was screened at Cinematheque Francaise de la Danse in Paris on 7 February 2004 and was introduced by the trailblazer in ethnographic documentary films 86 year old Jean Rouch. Sadly this was to be his last public appearance as he was killed in a car accident 11 days later in Niger.

The film was very well received by an enthusiastic audience and created much discussion in the Questions and Answers session that followed.

Also the film was screened at AD Art of Documentary Conference in Canberra on 30 November 2003 and introduced by the Director of the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at ANU, Professor Jim Fox. He called the film a 'masterpiece" and acknowledged John Darling's impressive body of work in ethnographic and documentary film.

"The Healing of Bali" is an intimate longitudinal documentary focussing on 6 Indonesians (3 from Bali, 2 from Java and 1 from Australia) who are all victims/survivors of the 2002 Bali bombings. The theme of this 50-minute film is tolerance in an age of terrorism, as these people from Hindu, Muslim and Christian backgrounds open their hearts and tell their stories.

"Just a short note to tell you that I thought the film was brilliant
--well-structured, easy to assimilate, and tremendously
evocative!" from Professor James J Fox, Australian National University

"There are moments when you feel as if you've been punched in the chest. And
you will cry". Bernard Zuel Sydney Morning Herald TV Guide 6 October 2003

"I saw your documentary last night on SBS and I just wanted to say how
moving, sensitive and excellent it was." from SBS viewer in Sydney

"I just watched your film on SBS. It was beautiful and moving. I never cry
at movies but I wept. On a formal level, I loved the fact that there was no
narration voiceover, or commentary from persons who were not directly
involved." from SBS viewer in Melbourne.

"The scope was incredible and the esteem you must be held in, to be allowed
to film in those intensely personal moments and ceremonies, is amazing".
again from SBS viewer in Sydney.

"Beautiful, cried for most of the program, but loved It". from David in
Perth- is the man who set up the Adopta sewing group for widows from the
bombings in film and he is now unable to return to Indonesia (due to
Immigration issues) and continue this work.

Theatrical Screenings and Festivals
AD: Art of Documentary Conference, Canberra, 30 November 2003 Cinematheque Francaise de la Danse, Paris on 7 February 2004 17th Singapore International Film Festival, 24 April, 2004

BIRTHRITES 2001-02 Consultant
Producer/Director: Jennifer Gherardi, Jag Films, 2002
To screen on SBS-TV in the near future.

WINDS OF CHANGE 1997-8 Consultant (Indonesia)
Produced by Andrew Ogilvie and Alan Carter with local filmmakers including workshop.
Screened SBS-TV and Channel 4, UK

BELOW THE WIND 1993-94 Director/Writer/
Narrator/Research Documentary, 54 mins
Electric Pictures Pty Ltd (producer: Andrew Ogilvie)
Screened: ABC-TV, 13 January 1994 "The Big Picture".
France 3, 10 March 1995 "Thalassa"
Sales: BBC-TV, UK; Bangladesh; TV3, New Zealand;
Taiwan; La Cinquième, France; South Korea.
Awards: "Highly Commended Award for
Cinematography" to Ian Pugsley, Australian
Cinematographers Society, 1994
Festival Nominations:
Bilan du Film Ethnographique, Paris.
EarthVision Global Environment Film Festival,
Festival Screenings:
Singapore Film Festival.
Chicago International Film Festival.
Human Rights Watch International Film
International Festival of Documentary
& Short Film, Bilbao.
WA Film & Video Festival March 1994.

Other Screenings:
Australia Today, Jakarta, June 1994
Parliament House, Canberra 13 April, 1994.

Reviews: Below the Wind

"......This superbly crafted and detailed documentary explores the
history, economic life and culture of the Indonesian fishermen who fish
for shark fins, trepang and other delicacies in waters declared a
controlled zone by Australia in 1979........The sight of these impoverished
and largely illiterate people living and cooking on these tiny boats
is perhaps the finest of many magnificent images from this wonderful
program, which so eloquently reverses the trivial attention given to
their plight."
(Richard Plunkett, "Seafarers' plight superbly told" The Age,
Green Guide (Melbourne) 6 January 1994).

"Viewers of Below the Wind will see unique footage of the homes
of these sea-dwellers, the people who inhabit them and rare pre-Islamic
rituals which acknowledge a spiritual force of the sea.......The
documentary has absorbing scenes of Aboriginal people in Arnhem Land
recounting the visits of their old friends from Indonesia who came south
to look for trepang, the sea cucumber (also known as beche-de-mer),
which is highly prized by Chinese ......Breathtaking footage.....The
film argues for a change in Australian policy to one of sharing resources."
(Michael Day "The Sea Nomads of Sulawesi" The West Australian 13
January 1994).

"It is arguably ABC-TV's most interesting Indeonesia-related
broadcast of recent years and Darling's best work to date". (Krishna
Sen, In the Picture, Winter, 1994.

"Below the Wind's vivid account of life for the sea nomads leaves
an impression that the Australian Customs men and their big guns
are, in fact, the least of the seafarers problems." (Victoria Laurie,
"Cruel Seas", The Bulletin, 11 January, 1994)

Documentary, 30 mins.
ABC TV/UNICEF. (producer/director: Jacquie Sykes)

BALI HASH 1989 Co-Producer/Co-Director
Documentary, 53 mins. Taman Sari Productions Pty Ltd
SBS-TV "The Cutting Edge" 8.30 pm, 27 February, 1990
and repeated.

Reviews: Bali Hash

" . . . as a piece of television it was wonderful . . . thanks to some
superb tongue-in-cheek narration by Rowan Ayers, a few bits of home video
and some superb photography. . . . We also had the wonderful juxtaposition
of the Balinese celebrating a 10-day festival completely oblivious to the
drunken antics of the round eyes. . . . We saw . . . leaders of business
having a bloody good time doing just the sort of thing that they would fire
their staff for. . . . My God what a mob. . . . Great tele . . ."
(Brian Phillips, "Running the Gauntlet" Daily Mirror, (Sydney), 28
February 1990)

SLOWBOAT FROM SURABAYA 1988 Location Producer (Indonesia)
Documentary series
Phillip Emanuel Productions Ltd
Screened ABC TV, Sundays at 7.30 pm. Oct-Nov 1988.
Director/producer "Five Faces of God"
52 minute episode of above

Reviews: Slow Boat From Surabaya

"Five Faces of God"
"A slow boat in the fast lane .... eye-opening, personal,
provocative .... never less than interesting .... this series also looks
beautiful .... According to Pizzey you don't make a film in Indonesia
without talking to John Darling."
(Diana Simmonds, The Sydney Morning Herald, October 10, 1988)

The Arts & Enternment Cable Network in the USA nominated the
"Slowboat" series into competion for the Elventh Annual ACE Awards.
(National Academy of Cable Programming).

In the U.K. the series was screened on BBC-2 at 9.30 pm and
received an average of 2.26 million viewers with an 82% viewer approval

BALI TRIPTYCH 1987 Writer/Director/Location Producer
Documentary series, 3 x 58 mins.
I Between the Mountain and the Sea
II The Path of the Soul
III Demons and Deities
Screened: ABC-TV, Australia, 20th, 27th Sept.
and 4th Oct., 1988. and repeated
Australian Television (satellite), 1994.

Reviews: Bali Triptych

(1988) Documentary Series (3 x 1 hr)
"Don't miss John Darling's BALI TRIPTYCH on the ABC .... It's one
of the most elegant, scholarly and beautifully made documentary series
you're likely to see. Miraculously, Bali survives . . . When you see
Darling's loving, luscious, literate films, you'll understand why."
(Phillip Adams, The Weekend Australian, September 17-18, 1988)

"BALI TRIPTYCH . . . is a series of such intensity, richness and
privileged access into Balinese lives and rituals - many never previously
films - that it becomes a cornucopia of cultural, spiritual and mystical
(Janet Hawley, The Sydney Morning Herald, September 19, 1988)

"John Darling has probed far back into the past of Bali and the
insertion of rare archival footage from the 1930s by Margaret Mead and
Gregory Bateson and that of the exclusive cremation of the Raja of Badung
enhance the exceptional beauty of these films."
(Nora Suryanti, Indonesian Observer, Jakarta, July 10, 1988)

(1986 Research Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson & Jane
Belo films/materials on Bali. Library of Congress.
Institute of Intercultural Studies, N.Y.. USA)

THE HUMAN FACE OF INDONESIA 1984 Writer/Director/ Producer/Consultant/Location Research
Documentary series 5 x 27 mins.
Film Australia (Producer of series Rob McAuley)

Darling was Consultant/Location Research for the series And Writer/Director/ Producer for the episode "Master of the Shadows" Screened Channel 10, Australia.

LEMPAD OF BALI 1980 Producer/Co-Director
Documentary, 56 mins.
Screened ABC TV (Australia) and repeated
IKON TV, PBS (USA), Channel 4 (UK), Finland TV,
Knowledge & Access Networks (Canada).

LEMPAD OF BALI invited to screen at the Cinematheque
Francaise at Beaubourg (Centre Cultural Georges
Pompidou) and the Jean Rouch seminar at the Musee
de l'Homme, Paris.
LEMPAD OF BALI screened and personally introduced
at the Kosmos Club Cinema,
Amsterdam, 17 September, Soeterijn Cinema, Tropen Museum,
26 November.

Mitra Award, 26th Asian Film Festival, Jogiakarta and Bali, Indonesia.
"MITRA award of honour for a Documentary Film with outstanding
LEMPAD OF BALI, produced by John Darling, Australia."

Reviews: Lempad of Bali

"There are few documentaries I've ever seen that can equal LEMPAD
OF BALI's depth, symbolism and lyricism . . . undoubtedly it was one of the
most moving film documents shown in the Asian film fest in a long, long
(Joe Quiriro, Asiaweek, July 25, 1980)

"One of the (Asian) festival's highlights was the world premiere of
a stunning documentary, LEMPAD OF BALI . . ."
(Hollywood Reporter, July 8, 1980)

"LEMPAD OF BALI is a moving account of Bali's most famous artist
during a century of radical change .... It is the most accessible, thorough
commentary on Balinese life to date."
(Made Wijaya, Bali Post, (English edition), July, 1980)

1981 LEMPAD OF BALI screened and introduced by Professor
Hildred Geertz at The Asia Society, New York for the
World Craft Council and The Asia Society , "Beauty in
Use: Craftsmen of Asia" series, American Premiere.


1997 Executive Producer / Supervisor CHOICE FUNERALS

Producer/Director: Jennifer Gherardi Submission for Honours
in Screen Production at the School of
Humanities, Murdoch
University. Interest shown by AFC and SBS-TV

1996 Executive Producer / Supervisor ACROSS A SILENT LAND

Producer/Director: Vicki Biorac. Submission for Honours in
Screen Production at the School of
Humanities, Murdoch
University. Winner Writers Guild Award for Writing at the
11th Annual Western Australian Film
and Video
Festival,1997. Distributed by the AFI.

1995 Executive Producer / Supervisor GOLDEN MILE
Produced and
directed by John Lang as an Honours
production, Communication Studies, Murdoch
Best Documentary
and Best Entry Overall at Australian
Cinematographers Society WA/SA, 1995.


1983 Consultant BALI DREAM
Telemovie, ZDF, Germany, SBS-TV.
Director: Istvan Szabo

permits, research and locations for the television series
Quest for Healing in Indonesia. (Independent Prods., Sydney,
Producer, Richard Davis)

1982 Consultant THE HUMAN RACE
Documentary Series
Presenter: Desmond Morris
ITV Television, England

1980 Consultant BEAUTY AND RICHES
Documentary, 55 mins.
Screened IKON TV, Holland and
SBS TV, Australia

Co-ordinator and co-author with Hans Rhodius of an
exhibition and book at
the Tropen Museum, Amsterdam, entitled Walter Spies and
Balinese Art. Amsterdam: 26 November 1980 to 18 January
1981. Heidelburg: 7 February to 22 March 1981.

New: 25 March, 1997 | Now: 3 May, 2015