(Jakarta, 19/04/2011) First trilogy of Si Anak Kampoeng (The Village
Boy) about Buya Syafii Maarif’s childhood, which was filmed based on
the novel with the same title, The Village Boy was finally premiered
in 1000 seats theaters, Epicentrum XXI Kuningan, on Tuesday, April
19, 2011 at 19:00. Hundreds of dignitaries, government officials,
and celebrities attended. The film was directed by Damien Dematra,
who is also the author of the novel as well as the screenwriter of
the movie. The movie was produced by Damien Dematra under his
production house, Damien Dematra Production together with Maarif
Production, represented by Fajar Riza Ul Haq, the Executive Director
of Maarif Institute.
This long journey
started from a simple encounter. The trilogy started from a first
impression, when director and writer Damien Dematra visited Buya
Syafii’s house in Yogyakarta, based on recommendation from Gus Dur,
the former president of Republic Indonesia, as well as a hero of
pluralism in Indonesia. Damien was deeply affected by Buya’s modest
life. Buya was still cooking, and washing and driving his own car
despite his notable name as a national leader. The simplicity of his
life, his eloquence when speaking and expressing his views and the
story of his life have made Damien Dematra suddenly sparked an idea,
“Not just writing books about your life, Buya but I want to make a
movie about you.” It took five months to convince Buya.
Taking place in
Padang, West Sumatra, Yogyakarta, and West Java, the main location
to build the set was finally decided. It was in Cugenang Village, up
in mount Puncak, which has very low air temperatures. ‘Sumpur Kudus
Village’ was built in a valley, and the access to the site below
took a considerable distance. The crews had to walk through slippery
sand stairs (especially after raining), and it rained almost every
day! The struggle heightened when many talents eventually faced
physical, mental, and spiritual challenges—from horse accident, car
accident, being possessed, unfriendly and strange disturbing
weather, seeing many apparitions, and so on. The only thing that
saved the process of shooting was a good and detailed preparation.
For Damien, the
film itself is very personal and colorful. Tears mixed with
emotions, egos, and interests from various partied have made this
movie mentally costly for Damien. According to him, it was just in
the second half of the shooting, the process can start running
smoother. He did that because for Damien, this movie is his present
for Buya and the Indonesian people. It was a promise to be fulfilled
to movie lovers in Indonesia and international society—to make a
humanist, educating, and at the same time entertaining film.
Moreover, the movie which script was disassembled 10 times will be
played regularly in Muhammadiyah and Catholic schools, which put
distinctive moral burden to Damien.
When asked about
the cost of the movie, Damien answered, “If everything is measured
by money, one can say good-bye to civilization. Contrarily, he also
admitted that he was a very budget-minded on the location because
discipline is everything. Keeping expenses within very tight budget
was not an easy challenge for a period movie like this one.
hoped that this movie, which involved nearly 400 talents and 200
crews, could commemorate the character of the nation's teacher, and
become an example and legacy for the young generation. Furthermore,
he desired that this movie would inspire many children to realize
the importance of plurality that is respecting the diversity of
ethnic, religious, and cultural, and persistent in chasing their
dreams. “I hope this movie can create new “young Buyas” who dares to
dream and strive to achieve it because there is always hope; and for
those who never stop chasing it, life might just turn its wheel and
give you… a second chance.
About the movie
This movie was
set in 1930ies until 1950ies in a small village of Minang, West
Sumatra, Indonesia.Young Syafii Maarif, called Pi’i, is the beloved
son of a respected leader in Sumpur Kudus, a village in West
Sumatra. His father wanted Pi’i to be like him and pushed him to his
limit, respectively. At the same time, Onga Sanusi, a notable leader
and teacher of Muhammadiyah, who was Pi’i’s idol, had another
argument. He believed Pi’i can score higher than his father and he
urged him to migrate for higher study.
Clouding in the midst of a deep longing for her late mother, Syafii
had to deal with many obstacles that are too big for him when he
wanted to pursue his dream. A question was raised: did he have pay
too big a price for his dream? Does life eventually became generous
to those who kept trying to reach their dreams?
According to Damien Dematra, the leading actor in this movie, Radhit
Syam (little Syafii) played the best. His position followed by Lucky
Moniaga (acting as Datuk Ma’rifah, Pi’I’s father). This movie was
also supported by superstars Ayu Azhari, Ingrid Widjanarko, and Pong
Hardjatmo, as well as other stars: Virda Anggraini, Maya Ayu Permata
Sari, Elmendy, Mohammad Firman, Ayu Gumay, etc.
The National Film Censorship Board issued ‘All Ages’ rating category
for this film.
HM. Jusuf Kalla, Vice President of Republic Indonesia in 2004 - 2009
said that this movie should be studied, watched, and used as
You should watch
this movie If you desire to be enriched, wiser, and smarter. You
will find treasure there. (Monsignor Martinus D. Situmorang, OFMCap,
Chairman of the Indonesian Catholic Bishops Council)
With a calmness
which has always been one of his trademarks, Biku Sri Pannyavaro,
Vice President of World Buddhist Sangha Council said that The
Village Boy is very valuable for the children of this nation. Buya’s
sincerity and warmth towards all people regardless their social
class and his delicate service for community is a treasure for all
Reverend Dr. Andreas A. Yewangoe, Chairman of the Indonesian Church
Council, said that film The Village Boy is clear evidence that
village should not be underestimated. Village is the substance to
expand horizons, just like what happened to Buya Syafii Maarif.
Watch this movie and you’ll find a broader point of view, become
wiser and more professional.
Magnis-Suseno SJ who is the most prominent scholar expressed another
opinion. According to him, Buya Syafii Maarif is Indonesia's most
important figure. “Please watch the movie. That's important too,” he
said with a smile pasted on his face.
Solahuddin Wahid, leader of Nahdlatul Ulama, the biggest Islamic
organization in Indonesia, said that in the The Village Boy, the
main character finally became a national, and even an international
figure. It’s proved that a village boy who is given an opportunity
can score his or her success. Because of this, village’s boys
deserved to get opportunity. “Watch The Village Boy,” he said
Pastor Benny Susetyo (human right activist) said that this movie can
give enlightenment and turning points—just like the artwork of
Pramoedya Ananta Toer.
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