Welcome to the SUARA COMMUNITY FILMMAKING programme

“Suara” is the Malay word for Voice.
Everyone should have the opportunity to tell their stories in their own words and images.

SUARA COMMUNITY FILMMAKING is a tailor-made training programme for aspiring indigenous and local community filmmakers in Sabah. Through thematic and intensive workshops helmed by leading professionals in the Malaysian film industry, Suara Community filmmakers learn to harness the power of images and sound to tell the stories about their communities, experiences, the environments around them and worldviews related to Borneo’s biocultural heritage.


Each year, indigenous and local community filmmakers from villages across Sabah will converge at the highlight festival to share their delightful and compelling stories with you!

Since our inception in 2011, the Suara Programme has trained over 200 rural community participants and their partners from 20+ organisations in 11 districts across Sabah, and this year welcomed participants from Sarawak, Perak and Johor into the Suara family. In 2017, the Suara Programme trained 60 participants organised into 17 teams, representing marine, coastal, riverine, interior lowland and highland indigenous communities of Malaysia.

Most teams we work with are already involved in conservation and sustainability initiatives and the Suara process creates a visually exciting interface to engage their communities and collectively reflect on the environmental and social change affecting them.

  • Suara Participants

The Suara Programme is BEFF’s flagship capacity building programme especially designed for rural communities who want to use film and storytelling to engage with their target stakeholders. Our aim is to harness the power of film and storytelling to enable rural communities to tell their side of the story and compel action for a shared sustainable future.

Suara Workshops


Suara Community Filmmaking is a year-long capacity building programme where we work with indigenous and local community filmmakers from all over Sabah to capture and communicate their stories, experiences and worldviews related to Borneo’s biocultural heritage. This is the heart of BEFF’s community filmmaking journey.

Suara Films


The principle material outputs of the Suara community filmmaking programme include the completion of SUARA FILMS and their screening to the general public during the festival. Films were shot on location in the participants’ communities, and represent the culmination of efforts undertaken throughout the year-long Suara training.

Suara Trainers


Since 2011, Suara Community Filmmaking Programme has benefited from the support of a pool of creative industry professionals who donate their time to act as trainers and mentors in workshops and tutorials. Several of these trainers maintain their involvement to this day, and have developed friendships with many of the community filmmaking participants.

Suara Stories

Suara goes Kuala Lumpur and Penang

Get to know Suara more!

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