The Masked Monkeys

16mm | 30 min | b/w | 2015

The masked arts of Indonesia are thousands of years old. They are commonly referred to as wayang topeng (wayang: shadow or puppet; topeng: mask). It is believed that wayang topeng originated from tribal death rites, where masked dancers were considered the interpreters of the gods.

In the lowest rungs of Javanese society a unique manifestation of these masked traditions can be found. Its practitioners are performers, but they are not merely entertainers. Their aim is not simply to amuse. Their ambition is to be respected, to be honored, to be successful. They have embarked on a path they know will lead to a higher state, to an honorable and noble position.


UCLA; Los Angeles, USA 2023
UC Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara, USA 2023
Impakt Festival; Utrecht, Netherlands 2022
Technoshamanism, HMKV; Dortmund, Germany 2021
Cinemancia Festival Metropolitano de Cine; Envigado, Sabaneta, Colombia 2021
Best of the Chicago Underground Film Festival (virtual festival), 2020
Our Habitats; Pravo Ljudski Film Festival (online retrospective), 2020
Furstwurld; Joshua Tree, USA 2019
Kim Maxwell Studio; Ojai, USA 2019
University of Colorado Boulder; Boulder, USA 2019
Anthology Film Archives; New York, USA 2019
Peripheral Intuitions, Night Embassy; Berlin, Germany 2019
Chicago Film Society; Chicago, USA 2019
The University of Queensland Art Museum; Brisbane, Australia 2019
Videodrome 2; Marseille, France 2019
Standards; Milan, Italy 2019
International Frauenfilmfestival Dortmund; Dortmund, Germany 2019
Videonale.scope #6; Cologne, Germany 2018
Cinematic Voices, CalArts; Valencia, USA 2018
New School; New York, US 2018
Cooper Union; New York, US 2018
Kosmetiksalon Babette; Berlin, Germany 2018
Zone Disco Autonome; Chars, France 2018
Filmhuis Cavia; Amsterdam, Netherlands 2018
Stuttgarter Filmwinter; Stuttgart, Germany 2018
Kino Climates Melting Pots, Nova Cinema; Brussels, Belgium 2017
Experimenta; Bengaluru, India 2017
Rencontres Autour du Film Ethnographique; Grenoble, France 2017
UNDOX; Vienna, Austria 2017
Echo Park Film Center; Los Angeles, USA 2017
25 FPS; Zagreb, Croatia 2017
Art Cinema OFFoff; Gent, Belgium 2017
Independent Film Show; Naples, Italy 2017
FAR OFF art fair; Cologne, Germany 2017
Milwaukee Underground Film Festival; Milwaukee, USA 2017
Close-Up Film Centre; London, UK 2017
The Last Machine, Filmmuseum Wien; Vienna, Austria 2016
Kurzfilmfestival Köln; Cologne, Germany 2016
Pravo Ljudski Film Festival; Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina 2016
Cine Esquema Novo; Porto Alegre, Brazil 2016
Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal; Montreal, Canada 2016
Kunstverein München; Munich, Germany 2016
L’Age d’Or; Brussels, Belgium 2016 – Age d’Or Prize
WNDX; Winnipeg, Canada 2016
Early Monthly Segments; Toronto, Canada 2016
Edinburgh International Film Festival; Edinburgh, UK 2016
Internationales Kurzfilmfestival Hamburg; Hamburg, Germany 2016 – No Budget Competition Award
Chicago Underground Film Festival; Chicago, USA 2016 – Best Educational Film
EMAF Osnabrück; Osnabrück, Germany 2016
Festival du Cinéma de Brive; Brive, France 2016 – Special Jury Prize
Dokumentarfilmwoche Hamburg; Hamburg, Germany 2016
International Film Festival Rotterdam; Rotterdam, Netherlands 2016
Duisburger Filmwoche; Duisburg, Germany 2015
The Kids Are Alright, Beurschouwburg; Brussels, Belgium 2015
Arkipel Jakarta International Documentary & Experimental Film Festival; Jakarta, Indonesia 2015
Ape Culture, Haus der Kulturen der Welt; Berlin, Germany 2015


Der Tagesspiel, Birgit Rieger
MUBI, Daniel Kasman
Kunstverein München, Vincent Stroep (PDF)