When our helicopter had to turn back the first time around, Fensi Ote our translator, knew he had to take drastic action. Back at the Dili airport, he contacted his father and told him to perform some adat in order to ensure a smooth journey on our second attempt. The magic clearly worked, and after five days of trying, we finally found ourselves in Oecusse.

A pity Fensi forgot to tell Mr Ote to pray for more than a day of fair weather. The rain pounded Oecusse during our week there – the roads were sludgy, muddy and in some cases, mini rivers. And the river itself? The river was impassable.

None of our key characters got to see Passabe. But we did manage to hold screenings in the more accessible areas – at a massive church hall one night, by the banks of the Ekat on another, and in front of a newly restored hospital over two rainy evenings.

Our makeshift cinema consisted of a projector, a DVD player and a borrowed bedsheet. Our publicity team was the local police squad – serious looking men who gamely drove around Oecusse central with a loudspeaker and a VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT.

Setting up the gear in a town with no electricity was a challenge – at one point, our borrowed generator (a tiny thing trying its best) started emitting black fumes. Fensi solved the problem by convincing the local printing press to lend us theirs.

The publicity clearly worked. Hundreds showed up to watch our film on the first night. They just kept streaming into the church hall. At one point, we looked outside and were stunned to see that the roads were aglow with tiny dots of light – countless kerosene lamps accompanying groups of people to the screening. By the time we were ready to start, every inch of the hall was taken up. Latecomers spilled out of the doorways, and onto the grassy patch outside.

The subsequent screenings saw similar turnouts, though we suspect some of our younger viewers preferred the post-Passabe entertainment – Kung Fu Hustle and X-Men, and a whole selection of Indonesian and Timorese music videos.

And the reactions to our film? There was plenty of laughter – people loved Alexio’s jokes. They all got a big kick out of pointing out characters they recognized. But beyond that, there was also a deep and intense anger. Why, we were asked time and again, are the perpetrators not in jail? Why haven’t the people guilty of violence been brought to justice? Why isn’t our government doing anything? Why has our pain been ignored?