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Filming truth to power!

Using creativity to protect the environment

By Publish What You Pay – Indonesia, Voice Influencing grantee

As part of the Resourcing Sedulur Sikep Communities, the Voice Influencing project we as Publish What You Pay – Indonesia or PWYP are implementing, we produced a film to raise awareness throughout and beyond the North Kendeng mountains. The community continues to fight for their right to access healthy and productive lands, as they explore other ways of strengthening their movement. 

Film Poster of Ibu Bumi – Mother earth

The film Ibu Bumi (Mother Earth) was produced in collaboration with Sedap Films, a production house in Jakarta known for their focus on environment and inclusion, and of course, the Sedulur Sikep, our partner community. We were able to co-create the film through the Voice team in Indonesia when we expressed our plans to produce a film about the Sedulur Sikep community and their struggles. We wanted to explore a new strategy: raising the awareness of youth in urban areas through film and music.

The full film with English subtitles

We had originally planned to have an (offline) official screening. However, the COVID-19 pandemic left us no choice but to release it online. We premiered in July. It was quite successful! It reached over 1,500 registrants and had more than 3,000 viewers on YouTube. After the premiere, we also had several communication strategies before launching the film on other platforms. We announced that those who wanted to watch this film could apply to either PWYP – Indonesia, Sedap Films, or the Kendeng Communities for a community screening together with a post-screening discussion. Throughout July and August, there were at least four communities from cities such as Banyuwangi, Kediri, Kupang, and Rembang who screened Ibu Bumi.

We also thought of uploading this film through a platform that could reach new audiences such as filmmakers and film lovers. We agreed to upload it on a platform called Viddsee to widen its reach, as Viddsee is well known in Indonesia and Asia in general. At that time, Viddsee was also holding an annual short film event so we seized the opportunity to participate. Ibu Bumi didn’t win but is still in the race for the Audience Choice Award – Viddsee Juree 2020. Hence, we are trying to promote the film— not just for the award but ultimately to raise awareness.

This film is a crucial aspect of our influencing project. Through this creative storytelling, the struggles of the Sedulur Sikep community in protecting their immediate environment and Mother Earth becomes the struggle not only of the indigenous elderly but also of the youth. The involvement of the younger generation—like the Kendang Squad—makes their story more synergised. The Kendeng movement is not limited to mass action and long marches as they discover the value of music and the arts in amplifying their voices.

Ibu Bumi expresses the thoughts, aspirations and dreams of a young man for his community and the future generations. Through his interest in music, he mobilises his friends and the community. Together they create a song that resonates their unrelenting strength to protect the environment from external forces, valuing the economy more than its people. The song featured, entitled “Berani Bertani” ( Farming is life) is also available on Youtube.

Click here to watch the trailer of the film with English Subtitles.


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