Dialog Box

Aceh: beyond the tsunami

Aceh: beyond the tsunami’ explores the extraordinary stories of survivors of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in the province of Aceh, Indonesia where approximately 170,000 lives were lost.


The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was one of the most devastating natural disasters in modern history. The remote province of Aceh in Indonesia suffered the harshest impact with close to 170,000 lives lost.

At the time, the majority of the Acehnese population had never heard of a tsunami. Many interpreted the disaster as a divine warning against immoral acts, and a call to end three decades of civil war.

Overshadowed by accounts from other regions affected by the tsunami, the extraordinary stories of the Acehnese people have remained largely untold. 

Through the vivid recollections of 10 Acehnese survivors, 'Aceh: beyond the tsunami' explores processes of grieving, healing and rebuilding. The film sheds a unique light on how the Acehnese responded to their tremendous loss with a renewed religious devotion, becoming the only province in Indonesia to formally practice Shariah law.

 Discover the incredible resilience of the Acehnese people as they reflect on the transformative force of the tsunami over the past decade, and convey the fascinating complexities of life today in a rapidly modernising yet deeply conservative region.

Tim Barretto
Melanie Filler, Ben Mortley
Total budget
73 Minutes