At CoJo Productions, we want our documentaries to resonate with viewers intellectually and emotionally.
On this page, we describe the origins and passion behind four of our long-form stories.
Born For the Fight: The Art of Muay Thai
Born For the Fight: The Art of Muay Thai was inspired by the spirit of the Thai people. More than just a documentary on martial arts, our film gets to the heart of how Thais think about themselves. It was a fascinating journey into many levels of Thai culture, from the upper echelons of Thai society — including the Royal Family — to the impoverished villages of northeastern Thailand.
Although our documentary was released independently, attention toward it was heightened when the feature film Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior received international acclaim and thrust star Tony Jaa into the spotlight. In later commercial releases, our documentary was packaged alongside the DVD release of Ong-Bak and not only did it reach a new audience but it was well received by that audience as an insight into the cultural aspects and realities of Muay Thai.
Ong-Bak director Pracha Pinkaew went on to direct two more Ong-Bak movies. To see a trailer for the first film, click here.
To see our full documentary, click here.
The Dream and the Dreaming
A road trip to the Northern Territory resulted in a visit to Hermannsburg, where we came across the fascinating story of first contact between the Western Arrernte people and the Europeans.
In a social climate where the national debate regarding how European and aboriginal relationships should be brokered resulted in an outlook that demonised one side and victimised the other. There was no credit given to that generation of indigenous Australians who worked so hard to maintain their own culture whilst taking what was necessary for their own survival. We wanted to show the complexities of this relationship, which was encapsulated in the interaction between the German Lutherans and the Western Arrernte people.
To be amongst and have contact with very traditional indigenous communities was a rare privilege.
Romaine Moreton, a poet with a phD in philosophy from the University of Western Sydney, wrote the synopsis of The Dream and the Dreaming as a film curator for Australian Screen:
The Dream and the Dreaming presents a good background to the shelter the mission provided the Arrernte people during the period in which Indigenous peoples were being shot and killed in great numbers in the area. The script for The Dream and the Dreaming is well written, providing equal weight to the perspective of both the Lutherans and the Arrernte peoples, and in this we are able to understand the clash of cultures that eventuated from these two groups coming into contact. The creators of The Dream and the Dreaming said that 'Too often the debate surrounding reconciliation grinds to a halt, lost in the rhetoric of villains and victims’, and this documentary provides a way of understanding how two different cultures managed to co-exist for 150 years."
To see clips from The Dream and the Dreaming, click here.
While the United States of America prepared for war in Iraq in early 2003, peace activists from around the world coordinated a day of protest in a show of communal opposition. The resulting demonstrations on Feb. 15, 2003, which took place in more than 600 cities and involved millions of participants, have even been described by University of Minnesota social science researchers as "the largest protest event in human history."
As an exercise in history and reflection, the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney commissioned a documentary to commemorate the tenth anniversary of those protests. The result was Lionhearts, a short film produced in association with Nuts and Balts Media.
To see a promotional flyer for the premiere of Lionhearts, click here.
SBS Dateline: India's Maoist Revolution
This investigative story came about while we were living in India. We were surprised to learn that the government considered growing factions of Maoists as big a threat to the country as Islamic terrorist groups.
We submitted the idea for a documentary on the Maoist insurgency to SBS Dateline and they commissioned us to produce it. While we were able to interview a wide variety of subjects, including renowned author and political activist Arundhati Roy, it was a particularly challenging story to report. Not only were we constantly under surveillance by the paramilitary police, we were detained and questioned by them several times.
The result, "India's Maoist Revolution," not only aired on SBS Dateline in Australia but also was purchased by Al Jazeera English and shown internationally.
Footage and testimony from our documentary was used by the Human Rights Commission of India to successfully prosecute a case in the country's high court.
To read a transcript of "India's Maoist Revolution," click here.
To watch the full report on the SBS website, click here.