Uma Lulik (Sacred House in Tetun language) is a film that follows the construction of a sacred house in the mountainous region of Venilale (Timor-Leste). Traditionally speaking, the Uma Lulik is the centre of everything, the umbilical cord between the past and the present; for those alive, it is a secured reservoir of past memories and wisdom; for the dead, it’s a timeless place, where history is constantly renewed. The construction or renovation of a sacred house usually takes place every 10-20 years; this cycle revitalises the ties with their forefathers, it also regenerates the loyalty and mutual responsibility between relatives and different families.
Uma Lulik was the first documentary entirely filmed by an East Timorese – filmmaker and artist Victor de Sousa–, who over 9 months captured one of the oldest traditions in Timor-Leste, transporting us to the universe of his forefathers, unquestionable and present in each moment and for every object born from the land and from the collective memory of the East Timorese.
Uma Lulik remind us that the reconstruction of national identity, specially after the destruction of most of the sacred houses during 24 years of Indonesian occupation, is now passing through the villages and the mountains, where memories and the sacred are returning slowly to their place, returning home.
In Uma Lulik, David played the role of executive producer, co-editor and mentor of Victor. The film was funded by DOCTV CPLP, co-produced by IDA and supported by the Secretary of State for Arts & Culture in 2010. It opened at the Cinemateca in Lisbon during the 1st CPLP DOCTV launch in September 2010, and subsequently the film was shown in the main national TV channels across all Portuguese speaking countries, including RTP International. It was an official selection at the Brasilidade Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro in 2010 and the International Film Festival in Luanda 2010. In 2011, it received the 3rd Showtime Top Ten Audience Award (3rd out of 135) at BIFF (Brisbane International Film Festival). In August 2014, Victor was invited to present the film at the 37th Festival de Cinéma de Douarnenez in France, which was dedicated to the people of Indonesia, Papua and Timor-Leste. In 2015, the film was screened during the Ciclo de Cinema da CPLP at the Fundação Oriente’s Delegation in Dili, as part of the 2nd CPLP Civil Society Forum in Timor-Leste.