Director Damien Dematra with Soempoer Kudus kids in the Village Boy
Story behind the "The Village Boy" Movie
(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.
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.
Damien Dematra 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.
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.
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 of us.
Meanwhile, 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.
Dr. Franz 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.
Kyai Hajj 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 sincerely.
Pastor Benny Susetyo (human right activist) said that this movie
can give enlightenment and turning points—just like the artwork of
Pramoedya Ananta Toer.