As we neared the middle of the Traveling Projector tour schedule we visited Cilacap, a small seaport city on the southern coast of the island of Java, Indonesia. Cilacap and its surrounding areas embrace a culture called Banyumasan that's quite rebellious and different from other Central Javanese cultures as its never really been subjected to any kings.
On the first of two days of events there, we screened 12 different videos in Pendopo Padepokan Tari Giyan Lakshita, a space where many Cilacap youth learn different kinds of art, dance, and traditional music for free. The location and ambiance was amazing. It was dark and the only source of light came from dozens of candles. Most of the attendees at this screening were young videomakers, dancers, painters, and kids from nearby villages.
On the morning of the second day, we headed to the city for an interview with Radio YesFM Cilacap, 104.02 FM. It was fun and we got a lot of questions from listeners, mostly on why we conducted this tour.
After that, we made our way to IAIIG Kesugihan Campus for another screening. Nearly 40 people came and the room was vibrant with lots of discussions after the screening. We received many inputs and suggestions, and also got a chance to explain some of our videos in detail. Thank you Cilacap, we'll see you again someday for sure!
Details on upcoming tour dates available here.
To celebrate May Day this year, EngageMedia and Rumah Poros, a visual media collective based Yogyakarta, Indonesia, screened 'Bekasi Bergerak' (Bekasi Workers Fight Back) on 10 May.
The short documentary, which was made by workers and union activists for the workers themselves, depicts how poor working conditions, long working hours and underpaid wages triggered a spontaneous and militant response from the workers in Bekasi, one of the fastest growing economic zones in outer Jakarta.
Producer Yusfik was invited to discuss with the 30 other attendees about the film and the use of visual media for advocacy to spread awareness about social and environmental issues.
Yusfik shared that he has been a fan of EngageMedia and uploading to the site since the very beginning. In 2007, he created a video called 'Homo Hominis Lupus' while he was helping a farmers organization struggle against land grabbing by a state-owned plantation.
'Bekasi Bergerak' has been increasingly getting attention, especially among unionists and socio-political movie enthusiasts.
Watch Bekasi Bergerak:
Our original plan in the Traveling Projector tour was to visit Cianjur as the second city, but we due to some unforseen circumstances we had to change the course a little. We then made our way to Majalengka, where we held a screening in Jatisura village with our local host, Jatiwangi Art Factory (JAF).
The venue and its mission was of much interest to us. Arief Yudi, one of their founders, said, "JAF began in 2005. At that time, the situation in this village was very desperate with so much crime and violence. So we started an art project to provide an alternative space for people so they can express themselves more. We strengthen their self-confidence with music and the arts."
We screened 12 films that night, with films mostly about migrant workers. Everyone in the village, young and old, attended and even the head of district came over! After some simple food and tea we began the screening and held a discussion after.
Most of the audience was amazed at the variety of videos and the communities who created them. For them, these films were a reminder about what has been going on in the places around them. It was heartening for us to see how media can become a tool for reflection and building solidarity.
By Ade Aryana Uli Pandjaitan, EngageMedia
For Bandung, EngageMedia choose 1o film to be screened “Bhineka Tinggal Duka”, Papuan Voices I, Movie Momento, dan Cerita Buruh Migran, about ten films all in Bandung, with 25 people attended. This activities has done with help from SorgeMag, a youth magazine in Bandung.
The most interesting part from this screening was that the topic went deeper on the discussion. Most of the audience focused on how the 1998 May tragedy happened and the condition from Chinese minority in Indonesia. AS one of the student participant put it, he love to watch "Aku Indonesia" when the character said "I am a chinese but i'm Indonesian. For him, as a boy he develop a stereotype about the chinese from what he learn in his family. But as he grow up and met many of his chinese friends that stereotype slowly fade away.
One of pantomime artist that was present, Wanggi said "those film that i watched can become a supplement for an artist. We still felt all of those discrimination. Today i was performing my arts with topics around "Indonesia, sexual crime emergency", and i was being kicked by police. So these films can help me give some courage.
One student from Kayak Dayak tribe West Borneo, told us that his father who was formerly joined a Nationalist-Left party, Partindo in 1960s got social stigma from the New Order reign. His family suffered because this stigma.
The discussion went on to how easy people to "forget" all the violations that was done by the military dictatorship, New Order reign. Even for remember all of those we need a lot of effort and big struggle. One of participants suggested that EngageMedia should try to broaden its audience so it can reach more younger generation.
But why we must remember of history about human rights violation from the past. EngageMedia staff, Dhyta Caturani told us that she frequently visit the victims of human rights violation. She did for herself. And also by remember those victim we help to ease the burden from some survivor of those violation. Dhyta mention that film also has a fuction to ease the pain and to build emphaty then solidarity. Films enable us to joined the struggle and move together and build better future.
y Ade Aryana Uli Pandjaitan, EngageMedia