One Day – Jane Walters

Jane Walters
Award-winning film director Jane Walters has her hands full these days with media projects, villa developments and event organizing, as well as focusing on her beloved filmmaking, for which her first documentary, Bali Hope in Paradise, won acclaim at The New York Independent Film Festival in 2004, among other accolades. The 38-year-old Canadian-born mother of two girls, Katidja, 7, and Zarena, 4, and stepmother to Aisha, 15, with her Singaporean husband Mohd Zaidi Bin Saleh shared her day with The Bali Times

My day starts around 7:30am, but if I’m organizing an event I’ll get up earlier. Steaming hot coffee gives me a kick-start, and I’ll say good morning to the girls as they are getting ready for school, which is just a few minutes from where we live in Canggu.
Zaidi drops them off in the morning, and I pick them up in the afternoon, though we’re flexible in case one of us has something important on.

After I graduated with a degree in communications at Simon Fraser University, I worked in the Vancouver film industry in (the) locations (department) and as assistant director, then moving to Tokyo, where I met my future husband, Zaidi. After a while together, we decided to marry. Then, in 1998, we moved to Bali and bought a hotel, The Seri Suites, in Umalas.

After traveling to so many places in the world, I found a completely different way of life in Bali, so much different from anywhere else. It has a unique culture and the people are so respectful of nature and other people. I’ve learned so much from them.
Katidja arrived a year after we moved here, and was born in our living room. I didn’t go to hospital because apart from the language barrier there are different rules, like my husband would have to wait outside, and I don’t like it that the doctors always insist on cesareans – I want all my children born the natural way. It was painful, but all the pain is forgotten the moment you see your beautiful baby.

As for Zarena, she had an even more unique birth: she was born in a birthing pool at our house, kind of like the way the old Balinese used to, though they used rivers. Both girls are now attending Canggu Community School, and Aisha is studying in Singapore.
Along with our villa business, Zaidi and I also organize events, and we’ve done some big ones recently, like the first Free Ride jet ski competition, and I was the director for the filming of the Cak Colossal – and also helped gain international TV coverage – which involved 5,000 kecak dancers at Tanah Lot Temple and for the first time included women.
I love being my own boss, and that I can make my own schedules and do whatever I feel is most important. I’ve learned about business from Zaidi, but I find I’m not as interested in it as I am in the media and filmmaking. At my office, though, I’ve got several projects on the go at any one time, like our new villa project, The Seri and editing.

Bali: Hope in Paradise is my debut documentary. It’s an independent production and is an inspirational story of the lives of many people after the 2002 bombings in Bali. It won Best Documentary at The New York Independent Film Festival in May 2004, and the Saraswati Award at The Bali International Film Festival in October that year.

My new film project is a short documentary, Bali Dreaming, about a program a couple in Australia started to help raise funds to educate Balinese children through a local foundation, YKIP, for families who can’t afford to.

Lunch is anytime from 11am to 12pm and could be anything, apart from red meat like pork and beef. My favorite is Japanese, which is not so original-tasting here as it is in Japan.

I take a break from work at 2:30 to collect the kids from school, and I like to spend some time with them in the afternoon; they are such sweethearts. Later on I go for a walk with the children and our dog, Zack, on Berawa Beach or among the ricefields. The evening is the best part of the day, and when the sun sets I feel at my best. For me it’s always amazing to see the sun set, and fortunately I’ve found one of the best places to see it, here on this island.

I spend the evenings finishing up my work, playing with the kids and helping them with their homework. Just before midnight I close my eyes for the last time of the day.

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