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Borneo; make a film, make a difference.

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Use quality equipment for a hands-on in-the-field filmmaking adventure. It includes after-hours tuition in story craft and reviewing of ‘rushes’, privileged access to rarely visited locations where Orangutan research and care takes place, extensive wildlife and local scenic viewing, visits to indigenous Dayak villages living traditional lifestyles, unique insights into the devastation caused by the palm oil industry. Accomodation in quality local hotels as well as camping in the forest. The trip involves some intrepid experiences, like sleeping on a riverboat. In every way we try to make the experience just like being in a real film crew!

You will also be supporting The Orangutan Project (TOP) in their work protecting Orangutans - as an endangered species - and their rainforest habitat in Indonesia. Your film will assist, by drawing attention to their important work, and your donation (included in the fee) helps cashflow the project.


Contact us for more details.

photo by Sean Cousins


If you are reading this you’ve probably dreamed of making your own documentary film in an exotic location.  Perhaps you’ve even dreamed of making a film about a subject as rich and complex as the endangered orangutan in the fast disappearing forests of Central Borneo. Or maybe you’ve heard about the indigenous Dayak people, (some of whom still live simple traditional lives, similar to life before the word tourist was invented) and wondered how you could access one of these communities to make a film there.  Well, these are just two of the possibilities which are available to participants of the Filmmaker Abroad, Borneo Orangutan Experience!


Filmmaker Abroad’s mission is to offer participants an experience that is, as close as possible, the same as that of a professional documentary film crew. 
This means getting off the beaten track, enjoying privileged access to parts and places off-limits to most tourists.  It means staying in high quality accommodation wherever possible, to recharge the batteries literally and figuratively.  We believe Filmmaker Abroad is unique-in-the-world in that it offers all the necessary planning and infrastructure for making a film as well as in-the-field tuition from highly experienced mentors.  An inspiring combination of unparalleled access to exotic destinations blended with a high-quality learning experience.


Your host for this adventure is Sean Cousins, an award winning documentary director and producer, and founder of Filmmaker Abroad.


 “It’s really important to me that participants feel deeply satisfied with the travel experience and the filmmaking experience. It’s a wonderful feeling to complete a project as complex as a documentary film. It’s so important to me that everyone leaves with that profound sense of achievement, which I have enjoyed many times.  It’s my aspiration that the participants emerge with a deeper understanding of, and connection with, the people and places they visit. Documentary films have the power to transform. They do this best by creating an emotional connection to their subjects – just like any other film.  That’s what I’ll be encouraging participants to understand."




The itinerary for this 9-day adventure is provided in detail below, but some of the highlights include:

  • A chance to interview those working on the ‘front line’ of orangutan and rainforest conservation.
  • Access to Dayak families living in traditional villages.
  • Travel by Klotok (river boat) into the jungle of Tanjung Puting National Park.
  • A journey back in time to Camp Leakey, one of the first orang-utan research projects, established in 1971.
  • The wonderful camaraderie that builds among a group of like-minded aspiring filmmakers, with a shared passion for story telling.
  • The satisfaction of knowing part of your fee is being directed to supporting The Orangutan Project, a not-for-profit organization who do a wonderful job supporting orangutan conservation, rainforest protection, local community partnerships and the rehabilitation and reintroduction of displaced orangutans back to the wild.

Also included in the cost is a day-long seminar in Melbourne, held a few weeks before we meet in Jakarta.

This is an opportunity for participants to talk with host Sean Cousins about the style of film they’d like to make and the subjects that interest them. It will be a chance to engage with the research that we have done on your behalf. It will also be a chance to try out the camera and sound recording equipment (a simplified manual will be provided to assist those who are new to this sort of gear). There will also be a comprehensive health and safety briefing.  If you don’t live in Melbourne, and can’t be there for the day - don’t worry, we’ll create a “virtual experience” for you using video conferencing technology.

Group Size: Limited to just 8 people. We encourage couples to apply.
Note: There is an application process, which involves a short interview.


I am very excited about this fantastic new concept in film making with Sean. It certainly presents us with a very unique opportunity to allow talented people to visit these remarkable locations and tell their story in film. These stories then are watched around the world and so contribute to raising awareness about the many complex issues that exist in this region of the world.

You are embarking on an adventure to places and amongst people whose lives are very different from your own. Many aspects of life in Borneo will seem unusual. Remember that these are often the same aspects that make an area an exotic and attractive destination. While boat expeditions are considered easy, no trek is easy, even those rated "easy or moderate". In addition to the personal physical challenges you may face, travel conditions can present unexpected obstacles, such as rough and bumpy roads and changeable weather. To prepare for this, "pack" a flexible and relaxed attitude. Bring a spirit of adventure and inquiry, a healthy sense of humor and a willingness to encounter the unexpected and enjoy an adventure of a lifetime!

Filmmaker Abroad Borneo Orangutan Experience follows ethical and health principles to protect primates. Participants should be reasonably fit to handle high heat and humidity. They must be free of illness and communicable diseases.  Guests who develop an illness in transit will be required to wear a surgical mask, and may be denied access to some of areas.



photo by Sean Cousins

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