Interview by Emilie Boyer King
Portraits by Phil Dunlop
Film producer Joanna Natasegara seeks to bring challenging stories to the world’s attention—and make positive impact beyond the big screen.
Joanna Natasegara describes herself as terribly fearful. But one glance at this award–winning documentary film producer’s CV and it is obvious she’s driven by courage and a steely determination to fight injustice. Joanna seeks to change the world through film. The stories she tells make a difference.
From the start of her career Natasegara has dived in at the deep end tackling difficult topics such as global conflict and truth in politics. After in 2007 co–producing the BBC documentary “Ministry of Truth,” which campaigned for truth in Britain’s Houses of Parliament, and in 2012 co–producing and co–directing “The Price of Kings,” which looked at the lives of Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Óscar Arias Sánchez, Natasegara worked as impact producer on “No Fire Zone.” This documentary about the final days of the bloody civil war in Sri Lanka is credited with pushing the international community into action over the massacre of Tamil civilians during the conflict.
In 2013 Natasegara founded Violet Films through which she maximises the potential of film for social change. She started working on “Virunga” that year, as both producer and impact producer, an experience she describes as life–changing. This investigative film about a national park in Congo threatened by oil exploration was eventually backed by Leonardo DiCaprio and nominated for an Oscar in 2015. Ultimately, it forced the oil company out of the area.
She is now wrapping up her next project “The White Helmets” which will have a global release on Netflix this autumn. The film chronicles the heroic work of a group of dedicated civilians in Syria who risk their lives saving people from the ravages of war. In a long chat from her sunny home office in South London where the 35 year old lives with her husband and small dog, Natasegara talked to honore about her inspiring journey.
Read the full story in HONORE #2