TIFF to Screen Controversial Film About Journalists Slain in East Timor

Five Australian-based TV journalists vanished in October 1975, while trying to draw attention to a story much of the world was content to ignore – the brutal Indonesian invasion of East Timor.  The disappearance of these young reporters, who came to be known as the Balibo Five, is the subject of a new film starring Anthony LaPaglia screening at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Balibo is based on Jill Jolliffe’s book Cover-Up and includes documentary footage shot by the newsmen before they were killed.  LaPaglia plays Roger East, another Australian reporter who travelled to East Timor to try to uncover the truth about the reporters’ fate at the hands of the Indonesian military.  He, too, disappeared.  Balibos producer and co-writer, Robert Connolly, has been pressing for a formal inquest into Roger East’s death.  LaPaglia, who is also the film’s executive producer, says the Australian government knows more about it than it is admitting.