(Zurich) Nick Kelesau and Elizabeth Ballang, two indigenous actors from Sarawak (Malaysia), are expected to arrive in Zurich tonight ahead of a major movie premiere at the Zurich Film Festival on Thursday. The two Penan are starring in the US$6 million production "Paradise War – The Bruno Manser Story“ which will open the Zurich Film Festival on coming Thursday, 26 September. In the movie, the missing rainforest activist Bruno Manser is played by 29-year old Swiss actor Sven Schelker. The soundtrack has been composed by Academy-Award winning composer Gabriel Yared.
Director Niklaus Hilber and Producer Valentin Greutert worked on the Bruno Manser story over a period of 10 years. They spent over two months filming with Penan actors in a remote jungle location in Borneo.
In search of an experience beyond the superficiality of modern civilisation, Bruno Manser travelled to the jungles of Borneo in 1984 – and found his deliverance with the indigenous population of the Penan. It was an encounter that changed his life forever. Living in harmony with nature, Manser learned much more from the Penan than just how to survive in the rainforest.
The movie focuses on the development of Manser during his rainforest years in Sarawak when he became an environmental activist who deciced to put everything on the line in order to help the Penan fight against the brutal logging of their forest.
Swiss President Ueli Maurer and Zurich Mayor Corinne Mauch are scheduled to attend the opening session at the Zurich Film Festival.