Gawe ka padi
The vertical documentary film captures the Gawai festival by the Salako Community in Pueh, Sarawak, Malaysia. Following the disruption of the global pandemic, the Salako Community could celebrate their harvest festival again in June 2024. Gawe ka padi documents the Salako traditions in the longhouse communities on Borneo Island. The end of the padi (rice) harvesting season is celebrated by the community coming together to share food and drinks as well as traditional music and dance. Those who no longer live in the remote parts of Sarawak travel back to the village to celebrate bringing the community together across all generations.
Smartphone filmmaker Max Schleser was invited by co-producer Gus to join the Gawai festival in Pueh. As a Salako community member, Gus shares some insights and explains the ritual for us. The decision to produce a vertical video emerged during the filming when Max portrayed the traditional costume. The co-producers hope to support safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage and, through the vertical video format, inspire the next generation to use storytelling and technology in meaningful ways. Smartphone filmmaking operates in a non-intrusive manner, providing an opportunity to capture the experience of being part of the Gawai festival.
Gus is a Creative Producer specialising in Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR). He is producing an XR documentary about and with the Salako Community. Throughout his career, he has worked with Nokia, Microsoft Malaysia, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA), Sarawak Digital Economy (SDEC), Tabung Ekonomi Gagasan Anak Bumiputera Sarawak (TEGAS), SME Corporation, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).
Max is an award-winning filmmaker with expertise in immersive media, documentary film and creative arts 4.0 with a focus on cinematic VR and interactive filmmaking. His research explores screen production, emerging media and smartphone filmmaking for community engagement, creative transformation and transmedia storytelling.
His experimental films, moving-image arts and cinematic VR projects are screened at film festivals, in galleries and museums including FLEFF Film Festival (USA), Festival de La Imagen (Columbia), Museu da Imagem e do Som – Museum of Moving Image (Brazil), London Gallery West, South London Gallery (both UK), Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision – New Zealand Film Archive, Te Papa Tongarewa – Museum of New Zealand (both Aotearoa/New Zealand), Pocket Film Festival and Videoscope (both France). His mobile feature film Max with a Keitai (2007) is included in the public film archive in the Forum des Images in Paris (France) and the smartphone documentary feature Frankenstorm (2014) broadcasted on CTV, Canterbury Television (Aotearoa/New Zealand).