Ro’o Putin Hatin (The Boat from Putin’s Place, in Hresuk language) is a unique documentary about the traditions surrounding the annual fishing festival based on the remote coastal village of Makili, on the eastern coast of Ataúro island, a few miles north of Dili, capital of the young Southeast Asian nation of Timor-Leste.

Directed by award-winning East Timorese filmmaker Victor de Sousa and produced by David Palazón, this short film, partly observational, partly enquiry, makes visible the traditions behind the klorun ro (boat-pulling in Hresuk) or dada ro’o (in Tetun) ceremony, portraying the coexistence of ancient customs and new beliefs, discussing local craftsmen boat-making techniques, and overall capturing the community’s strong relationship with nature and the sea.

The film was edited with footage recorded in several occasions between 2010 and 2015 by Nelson Turquel, David Palazón and Victor de Sousa; and produced thanks to the financial support from the Secretary of State for Tourism, Arts & Culture in Timor-Leste in 2015.

The film was featured as part of the exhibition ‘The Sculptures of Atauro Island’ at Charles Darwin University Art Collection and Art Gallery between March and July 2017. It participated as an educational resource to learn Portuguese during the International Day of Portuguese Language at the Culture Fest in Dublin in early May 2016.

Below is a short photo essay portraying some of the highlights of this ceremony, which takes place every year on the last Sunday of June.