‘Children of Srikandi’ to be shown as a part of ‘Project Tottenham’ film screenings to take place on Saturday 29 September at Bruce Castle Museum in North London.
Arts charity Wise Thoughts to hold the free screenings of exciting films by established and emerging film-makers, to reflect the plethora of cultures and communities that come together to make up the LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, queer & Intersex) communities. ‘Project Tottenham’ screenings are supported by Film London, The Mayor of London & Haringey Council.
We interviewed the filmmmakers Yulia Dwi Andriyanti & Stea Lim who made the film ‘Children of Srikandi’.
Can you tell us why did you make this film?
Yulia Dwi Andriyanti: Indonesia is a country that considers itself as an archipelago consisting of different race, ethnic, religious, social status and also economic background but on the other hand sexual orientation and gender identity hasn’t become part of concern. After the Soeharto dictactorship collapse, the political situation encouraged people to reclaim their rights and also identity. It included sexual identity movement. It started with the health issue, regarding HIV/AIDS that made gay, transgender and MSM become the main concern. On the other hand, it made queer women were not to visible within its movement itself. That’s why this film workshop become opportunity for queer women to reclaim their voices as lesbian, bisexual, transgender and women itself so that this film could contribute as a way to deconstruct women identity in Indonesia that tend to be perceived in a binary gender role and also stereotypes that lays within the social, economic, political and religious structures in the society.
How should people see your work?
Stea Lim: I hope people can watch this with an open mind and curiosity.
Yulia Dwi Andriyanti: I see this film as a way to challenge all the norms and structure that has been existed within the society, not only due to religious’ stereotypical thought on women and queer women, but also as a way to reflect the whole ‘inheritance’ idea about faith identity so that people won’t put stereotype on faith that often perceived as conservative.
Are there any specific themes and topics that inspire you create the work?
Stea Lim: Yes, we focus on gender and female sexuality and how society assumes that homosexuality is a product of western civilization. We used the story about the famous female warrior from the Mahabhrata story called Srikandi, and how she is a strong independent female defying the expectation of society. She represents the struggles of women that modern women nowadays still can relate to the struggles about identities, roles, expectations of women in this heteronormative society.
Can you describe the creative process behind the work and how it works for you?
Stea Lim: This film is collective work of people from different background. It started in a workshop back in 2010 and what makes it interesting is that we all work on each others film .we also have nearly all women crew ranging from directors, producers, editors, production manager and it was a lot of fun and also hardship to finish the film. The production was postponed for a few month for lack of funding and the workshop resumed in 2011.
Yulia Dwi Andriyanti: I found that the film workshop process was a great way to hear and understand different experiences of diverse queer women. It stated that everyone’s story was very unique and showed the different layer on how queer women struggled for their identity and also its conflict towards society, not only in the level of state, friends, and families, but also inside the queer community itself. Those different experiences became the basic thing for me to collaborate with other queer women. It’s about a learning process to hear, support, criticize as a group and subculture.
What are the future plans?
Stea Lim: We have no immediate plan for future film as a collective as we now focus on the outreach and distribution side, but would like to have a similar film taken place in Indonesia for women with different experiences and stories.
Ideally, who is the target audience for your film?
Stea Lim: Our target audience is the LGBT community and general audience in Indonesia and overseas who are not informed about this issue and hopefully after watching this film they are more aware and sensitive about it.
Thank you Stea Lim & Yulia Dwi Andriyanti for your answers and best wishes from Wise Thoughts Team.