Production Notes

The Tsunami of New Dreams was filmed between 2011-2020 in Banda Aceh, Aceh Besar and surrounding areas. The initial vision behind the film was to document the scientific research of a team from the Earth Observatory of Singapore film in Banda Aceh. We started in 2011 and we planned to complete the film in two years. The research was focused on developing a timeline of regional tsunamis based on data from historical tsunami deposits. We were also interested in hearing from survivors about what they had learned and how they adapted to life after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

BA-KerryCharlie-1EOS scientists Kerry Sieh and Charlie Rubin researching historical tsunamis
along the coast of Aceh.

The Singapore National Research Foundation featured the scientific team’s early research in the online story A treasure trove of ancient tsunamis. The scientific research was still in progress by 2013, so we discussed the possibility of splitting the project in two: a movie with a humanistic focus, and another with a scientific one. Our small team continued to work on the movie as time and funding permitted.

A Tale of Two Tsunamis is a short film that provides a preview of the scientific movie and documents the EOS team’s early paleo-tsunami research in Aceh.

The movie The Tsunami of New Dreams deals with the human perspective of living through a devastating natural hazard and recovering from it. We explored creative ways to communicate the emotions of the survivors to a mainstream audience.

BA-Web-Mosque-1Praying at the Grand Mosque in Banda Aceh. Religion plays a dominant
and dual role in Acehnese daily life, providing spiritual relief to
the community along with a deterministic view of life.