Ismail Fahmi Lubis
Indonesia 2020 | 91 min
Thu, 13-May-21 02:00 PM
On demand: May 6-16th
Q&A via zoom with:
Ismail Fahmi Lubis, Nick Calpakdjian
» Trailer

A busy train­ing center for domes­tic work­ers in Indra­mayu, West Java. Like mil­lions of Indone­sian rural women, Sukma, Meri, Muji and Tari dream of a better life and find­ing hap­pi­ness work­ing in fam­i­lies over­seas. A boom­ing domes­tic worker indus­try places thou­sands of mostly Muslim women each year, in coun­tries such as Taiwan, Hong Kong and Sin­ga­pore. Recruit­ed by local agents, they are trained as house­keep­ers and care­givers, given rudi­men­ta­ry lan­guage skills while they com­plete their paper­work and wait for placement.

And “even though the child hasn’t even left yet, her family is already dream­ing of buying things like a goat or a motor­cy­cle. And that’s just the par­ents, not count­ing the wish lists of other rel­a­tives,” Ismail Fahmi Lubis tells Jakar­ta­Post in an inter­view about the making of his film.

The women do bring in an income that can alle­vi­ate the fam­i­ly’s pover­ty, but does it really improve their lives? And at what cost?

Ismail Fahmi Lubis is one of Indonesia’s pre­miere doc­u­men­tary film­mak­ers. Upon grad­u­at­ing from Insti­tut Kesen­ian (Insti­tute of Arts) Jakar­ta in 1993, he direct­ed sev­er­al Indone­sian drama series before switch­ing his focus to doc­u­men­tary in 1998. As a cin­e­matog­ra­ph­er, Ismail has worked with notable film­mak­ers includ­ing Leonard Retel Helm­rich and Cathy Henkel. He has also worked as a tutor for Doc­u­men­tary Master Class­es at the Jakar­ta Int. Film Fes­ti­val in 2006 and 2007.

MASKED MONKEY: THE EVOLUTION OF DARWIN’S THEORY (2014) depicts street artists in Jakar­ta, who use mon­keys in their shows. TARLING IS DARLING (2017) fol­lows a musi­cal enter­tain­er in single-shot cin­e­matog­ra­phy and won a Spe­cial Jury Men­tion at Taiwan Int. Film Festival.

Direc­tor, cin­e­matog­ra­phy: Ismail Fahmi Lubis
Edit­ing: Nick Calpakdjian
Com­pos­er: Arlo Picas­so Enemark
Sound­de­sign: Hadri­anus Eko
Pro­duc­tion: Nick Cal­pakd­jian, Mark Olsen
Dis­tri­b­u­tion: fil­mo­tor, Prag