New film shows East Timor and Australia’s David versus Goliath fight

February 9, 2017

Time to Draw the Line
Directed by Amanda King & Fabio Cavadini
2016, 58 minutes

A new documentary examines the largely overlooked story of the dispute between Australia and its near neighbour – the new state of East Timor.

The governments of East Timor and Australia have recently agreed to abandon a multi-billion-dollar oil and gas treaty, which strained relations following sensational allegations of spying on Australia’s behalf. The recently completed documentary Time to Draw the Line reveals the story behind this news.

Featuring prominent Australians speaking out for East Timor, it is being released for cinema-on-demand screenings around the country this month.

Two months before East Timor’s independence in 2002, Australia withdrew from the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, which sets the framework for delinitating maritime boundaries. The subsequent 2006 treaty, which is now being scrapped, placed the issue of a permanent maritime boundary in the deep freeze for the next 50 years.

Australia has negotiated permanent maritime boundaries with every country in its region: New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia — but not with East Timor. East Timor wants a boundary drawn halfway between the two countries in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

This film is an emotional study of Australia’s long connection to Timor-Leste, revealing a chequered relationship of friendship, courage, mistrust and betrayal.

Through a wealth of interviews and archival footage, the film unravels this contemporary David and Goliath story. The film engages and motivates Australians about the need to draw a just and permanent border in the Timor Sea.

The film will be available for screenings around the country begin on February 19. Visit Demand.Film for full screening details.

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