Singapore International Film Festival
The Film Little Treasures of Lombok, a movie by Gilles Frenken, will be screened at Singapore International Film Festival on 15 - 25 September 2011. The film tells the stories of two street children in Mataram, the capital of the island of Lombok, Indonesia.
Gilles Frenken, a film director based in The Netherlands, has made several documentary films about street children in different parts of the world. In 2006, he made a documentary film about Chaim Fetter, the Dutch founder of ‘Peduli Anak Foundation’, a NGO for underprivileged street children on Lombok. Frenken noticed that although Indonesia is a country with a strong developing economy, the situation for street children in Indonesia was as bad as elsewhere in the world.
A year later, Gilles Frenken decided to make a feature film about street children, about the terrible conditions that many young children on the streets endure to provide their livelihood. Frenken wrote a script about two young kids, who meet each other on the streets in Mataram and decide to help each other to survive. They work, beg, eat and sleep together, but after a while they choose different directions and separate. The two main actors of the movie were recruited in the child development centre of Peduli Anak Foundation. Both kids had previously been living as street children.
Ten-year old Sugeng was abandoned by his parents and lived on a garbage belt. Ten-year old Man ran away from home, where he was beaten up several times, and lived for about two years in a small market in Mataram. For three years Frenken followed and filmed the lives of these two kids. The movie, although fiction, shows the difficulties these young kids have to face to survive. It’s a movie about their real-life experiences.
“For my work, I have always filmed in developing countries and earned money for that. I thought it was time to give something back. Therefore, making this film was a volunteer project,” said Frenken. With his experience of over twenty years in the film business, he had built a network that made it easy for him to contact people who would contribute their expertise in making this movie. “Without the help from this group of wonderful people, our film would have cost US$ 200,000,” Gilles added. Eventually, the film was completed with a budget of less than US$ 50,000. One-third of the income from the film will go to the Peduli Anak Foundation, to continue their fight for the rights of underprivileged children. “Five years ago, Peduli Anak was only a small organization, and now if you could see what they have accomplished in such a short time, it's incredible. They even work together with the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs in several nationwide programs to improve the living conditions of children. They have done a great job in less than five years. I am very impressed by their work.”
‘Little Treasures of Lombok' is a movie with some documentary elements in it. The documentary character of this movie makes it very realistic. The audience will not know what is fiction or what is true. In fact, everything in the film actually happened to the two street children, they played their own lives. It's an eye-opening film that has made many people shed a tear.
`Little Treasures of Lombok' is a documentary film about two ten-year old street children, Man and Sugeng, who struggle to survive on the streets of Lombok (Indonesia).
In the film, Man and Sugeng retell and re-enact the stories of their lives, living and working on the streets. Both of them explore the two most common areas where street children make their living, the streets and the beaches. Man wanders around the streets trying to survive by working as a public transportation conductor, while Sugeng sells souvenirs to tourists on the beach.
Somehow their paths cross as their way of life brings them together. Realizing the similar struggles they have to endure, Man and Sugeng decide to work together and help each other. But still, the streets are not the right place for these unfortunate children.
Man is molested by a driver. Sugeng snatches whatever he can do or get on the streets to survive. He steals and mugs other people, yet he is also exposed to child prostitution. Until, one night, a group of social workers distributes a meal to them and other street children in a parking lot.
Then, a social worker interviews them separately and introduces the idea of providing them with a better life and education, if they come to live in the Child Development Centre of Peduli Anak Foundation. This time, Man and Sugeng choose different paths. Man decides to take this opportunity and dreams for a better future. On the other hand, Sugeng is skeptical and decides to stay on the street. What will become of Man and Sugeng? What effect will their decisions have on their lives?
Director: Gilles Frenken
Genre: Documentary Film
Runtime: 74 min.
Language: Indonesian, Bahasa Sasak (local dialect) and English
Location: Lombok Island, Indonesia (2007-2009)
Music & Sound: Olger Star
Editors: Milan Collin, Simon Bunt, Pepijn Kortbeek, Sonja ten Boom
Color Correction: Pieter Huisman