From Betni: After having a baby last year, I'm back on track with editing and hope to be done with one version of the film in April 2018. The content of the recent footage changed the film a bit. But the clips that don't end up in the film will be available on YouTube. Most of the processes of crafts and food preparation are long and those will also be available online.

Intial filming was in summer 2012 during a 46 day stay in Sawiyano territoryand was funded by a successful Kickstarter. In summer of 2016, thanks to a CURAS Summer Faculty Research Fellowships from Creighton University, more cameras and equipment was brought to Wabualu. Footage of the previous edits were shown for the Sawiyano to approve and narration was also obtained along with more footage. In case any of the Sawiyano made it to the coast or could send with someone else to the coast, we left self-addressed and stamped envelopes for additional footage to be sent to us in the States and we received more footage in mid 2017.

Filming is by Betni Kalk and Sawiyano. Processes of craft making, house building, food gathering and food preparation will be on Youtube. A film that is about 85% Sawiyano footage should be completed in summer of 2018. Length will likely be 30 minutes but I am still deciding as I currently have two versions. All dialogue will be in Sawiyano and Tok Pisin (the trade language). Subtitles will be available in English and Tok Pisin.

>>> Article From Creighton about the Grant & plans


More clips continue to be added, they are rough cuts.

Making a Poso >

Sawiyano Singsing >

Poso (pasau) >



10/24/2012 Part 1 Production is Complete and I'm back in the U.S.! Now on to editing. I've posted an update on the project on Kickstarter. This whole site will soon be updated. Here is also a link to some clips on Vimeo.

Tumbuna Clips from betni kalk on Vimeo.


"Sawiyano: Traditional Arts & Crafts" is a set of clips of food gathering and crafts processes, a documentary and book about the Sawiyano who live the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. By following the daily lives of families, it is an intimate view into the lives of a tribe in the midst of cultural change. It will show where and how supplies are gathered in the rainforest and swamp, how objects are crafted, and the final uses of objects.

The elders gave Betni Kalk permission to do this documentary. This is be a collaboration between her and Sawiyano who wished to participate in the project. They chose the aspects of their lives they wished to share and shot their own videos. They also took a photographs.

Having grown up in the Sawiyano tribe, Betni has an understanding of and deep appreciation for the traditional ways. Since earning a BFA and MFA in Painting and Drawing, she has an even greater respect for the arts and craft of the Sawiyano. As of Jan 2017 - Roads were being made into the region for mining and logging. Because the culture is changing, it is important to capture traditional elements on film and in photos before more elders die. Not only is the documentation for the future generations of Sawiyano, hopefully this will allow others to gain an appreciation for the Sawiyano culture and to develop an interest in other indigenous cultures. Because traditional ways disappear as natural resources are depleted, it is hoped that the documentary will show the importance of leaving most areas of the rainforest intact.

>>> Support is still appreciated.