This Is Reality

Short Documentary | 25 mins

THIS IS REALITY is the story of an ex-resistance fighter turned performance artist who creates East Timor’s first reality TV show to confront his past.

East Timor endured a brutal 24-year Indonesian occupation in which over a quarter of the population were killed or disappeared. Few carry the scars more distinctively than Osme Gonsalves, a celebrated artist, singer, poet, actor, and prominent ex-resistance fighter, who struggles to find peace despite the goal of sovereignty being reached. Frustrated by his nation’s perceived apathy, Osme creates a fictional alter-ego of a roving TV reporter under the name ‘Rambo Marabunta’. Acting as Rambo, Osme is free to question the population and interrogate his own past.

Osme starts by posting short clips on Facebook and quickly grows into East Timor’s first YouTube star. His unique comedy style thrives in this tiny developing nation where smart phones often precede television ownership, and local content is extremely limited.

We join Osme’s journey as the local TV station offers him a prime-time slot for the first East Timorese ‘reality’ TV show. Together with his team they’ll plan guests, music, live performances and game shows seeking to reinterpret Osme’s dark personal history into comedy.

Director: Chris Phillips
Producers: Michaela Perske & Kiki Dillon

Supported by: Screen Australia & Al Jazeera – in production 2021