The Optical Superstore is proud to sponsor the West Papua Film Festival, bringing the unheard voices of an oppressed people to cities around Australia.




In 1969, a United Nations vote for the inclusion of West Papua into the Republic of Indonesia saw the participation of only a small fraction of the population – a mere 1026 people to represent approximately 800,000 – controversially selected by the Indonesian military. With votes cast under threats of violence, the often-termed ‘Act of No Choice’ unsurprisingly saw a unanimous agreement for Indonesian control.

Still today, journalists and human rights monitors are prohibited from entering the region, resulting in a lack of awareness among the Australian population regarding the situation of a region so nearby. 

Under militia control, West Papua faces regular civil and armed conflict, unjust court trials, and a shocking number of internally displaced citizens. Limiting international media access means bringing attention to the frequent human rights abuses within West Papua is a monumental task and preventing these violations harder still.

The Optical Superstore’s co-owner Ian Melrose is a vocal advocate for media access and ultimately self-determination in West Papua. Through relentless campaigning, often in the form of bold television advertising, he seeks to reach into the loungerooms of everyday Australians who may be oblivious to the plights of West Papuans and generate much-needed awareness. This includes commissioning a 2006 Newspoll which showed more than 3/4 of Australians in favour of West Papuan independence.  He views these efforts as a natural extension of pre-existing work in support of East Timor which has also suffered at the hands of both the Indonesian and Australian governments.




Ian was driven to activism in 2004, motivated initially to campaign on behalf of East Timor after reading an article about a young girl dying from an easily preventable illness.

He immediately put significant funding towards an extensive advertising campaign for the rights of East Timorese to their own gas and oil resources, which were being stolen by the Australian Government. Ian’s goal was to bring the issue out of obscurity, shining a nation-wide spotlight on the absurdity of the richest nation in our region – Australia – taking indifferently from one of the poorest.

For almost two decades, The Optical Superstore has financially supported HIAM Health, a Malnutrition Rehabilitation and Education Centre focused on the health and wellbeing of East Timorese families. Through education and employment, the initiative hopes to close the enormous gap in life expectancy and opportunity between our country and that of our close neighbours in East Timor.




Across Wollongong, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Lismore, Hobart, Melbourne, and Darwin, the West Papua Film festival has travelled the country this April, spreading awareness about the injustices occurring right on our doorstep.
The series of short documentaries include topics as broad as football and hip-hop in the context of life under a foreign occupying force. Stories of resistance and perseverance, struggles for social justice, and the fight against large-scale environmental destruction.

This incredible collaboration of activist groups with West Papuan, Indonesian, and Australian filmmakers hopes to “promote peace, justice, and education, and the prevention of harm to the thousands of internally displaced persons and refugees in West Papua.”

Since media is barred from entry to West Papua, the conditions of life and authentic stories of West Papuans rarely have a chance to leave the country. This film festival offers a unique opportunity to gain a new and important perspective unlikely to be found anywhere else.




The Optical Superstore is very proud to support this initiative and we urge our community to take the time to educate themselves on the circumstances of less fortunate regions just beyond our borders. In our pursuit of helping our customers ‘see clearly’, a clear sight of the world around us includes taking in the brave stories of those facing adversity, and actively seeking clarity on issues of basic human rights. 

To discover more about the festival, or show your support for the cause follow this link: