Punitive Damage

  • Kamal and his girlfriend featured in the film Punitive Damage
  • Protest march featured in the film Punitive Damage
  • Helen Todd in court featured in Punitive Damage
  • Family grave featured in the film Punitive Damange
  • Lawyer Beth Stephens featured in the film Punitive Damage
  • Rally at Santa Cruz in 1991 featured in the film Punitive Damage

About This Project

Kamal Bamadhaj, a 20-year old New Zealander and student activist was shot dead during the Dili massacre in East Timor in 1991 by the Indonesian military that had occupied the small former Portuguese colony since 1975. Over 270 young Timorese were also killed that day.


Punitive Damage tells the story of Kamal’s mother, Helen Todd who brought a lawsuit against an Indonesian general responsible for the slaughter. She was determined to seek justice not just for her own terrible loss but also on behalf of the Timorese who also lost their children. The Dili massacre became a turning point in the history of East Timor, which finally gained its independence from Indonesia in 1999 – the year the film was released.


“**** Restrained and unostentatious, this is a well-crafted memorial to a life well-lived and a testament to the quiet courage of both mother and son. It deserves a wide audience.”

– Peter Calder, NZ Herald


Annie Goldson & Gaylene Preston


Annie Goldson

Director of Photography

Leon Narbey


John Gilbert


Stephen Taberner


Max Stahl

Line Producer

Catherine Madigan


Ken Saville


Winner, Best Documentary
- Cinemanila Philippines Intern'l Film Festival 2000
Bronze Plaque
- 48th Annual Columbus Intern'l film & Video Festival
USA Golden Eagle
- Cine 2000
A Pass Award
- National Council on Crime and Delinquency
Finalist, Best Feature
- International Documentary Awards 2000
Honourable Mention
- International Women’s Film Festival 2000
Golden Gate Award
- San Francisco International Film Festival 2000
Highly Commended
- New Zealand Media Peace Awards 1999
Winner, Audience Award
- Sydney International Film Festival 1999
Winner, Medianet Award
- Munich Film Festival 1999
- New Zealand Nokia Film Awards 1999


International Documentary Festival Amsterdam
Encrontos Film Festival, Portugal
Chicago International Film Festival
Hawaii International Film Festival
Valencia International Film Festival
Locarno International Film Festival
Rocky Mountain Women’s Festival
Melbourne International Film Festival
Palm Springs International Film Festival
Singapore International Film Festival
Hong Kong International Film Festival
Jakarta International Film Festival
Rencontres Inter’les du Documentaire de Montréal
Turin Womens International Film Festival
Women in the Director’s Chair