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Friday, Oct. 19, 2012

Indonesian tsunami film to air in 180 countries


JAKARTA — Indonesia is making a movie about tsunami that will be distributed to 180 countries, including Japan, government officials and the filmmakers said.

News photo
Stay near a hill: Indonesian director Riri Riza is set to release his movie "Pesan dari Samudra" ("A Message from the Ocean") in 180 countries. MILES FILMS / KYODO

Directed by the award-winning Riri Riza, 42, and produced by prominent movie producer Mira Lesmana, 48, "Pesan dari Samudra" ("A Message from the Ocean") is aimed at providing lessons for the public and improving their knowledge on dealing with natural disasters, particularly tsunami.

"We are aware that many Indonesians live in the disaster-prone areas, but they have no knowledge about how to deal with that," Lesmana said.

Sponsored by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, the Indonesian Red Cross and the Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction, the movie will be broadcast nationally by the private television network Metro TV on Dec. 26 to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the Aceh earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 200,000 Indonesians and other peoples living on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

The broadcast is expected to reach 115,000 television viewers across the country, 5 percent of the Indonesian population.

The movie will also be distributed in 180 countries, including Japan, according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency's Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

"Indonesia is a disaster-prone country. Through this movie, we are trying to tell the people the importance of efforts to reduce the risks of the disaster," Indonesian Red Cross Secretary General Budi Adiputri said.

"The 2004 tsunami disaster in Aceh, which left many people dead, gives us a precious lesson. On one side, it claimed many lives. On the other side, the disaster makes us aware that something has to be done. Prevention is much better than postdisaster response," he added.

He referred to a magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Aceh Province on Dec. 26, 2004, and the series of tsunami that followed in other Asia-Pacific countries. About 230,000 lives were believed lost.

News photo
Mira Lesmana

The movie will open with a reunion of a family whose members were separated by an earthquake and tsunami that hit Sikka Regency on Flores Island in the eastern Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara.

The movie tells the story of an old man living in a village in East Flores who believes that a hill in the village must be maintained to save residents from tsunami.

A businessman coming to the village wants to block the road heading to the hill to construct and develop his business. The old man leads villagers to oppose the plan.

According to Miles Films, the Lesmana-owned company that is producing the movie, filming is now ongoing in the district of Ranatua in the eastern part of Flores.

The area was chosen because it is prone to earthquakes and tsunami.

In 1992, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake followed by tsunami hit eastern Flores, killing 1,690 people.

" 'Pesan dari Samudra' carries two messages — one from nature and one from Samudra, the name of one of the figures in the movie," Riza said.

And inherent in those messages is that running to higher places to escape tsunami is paramount in saving lives in the immediate aftermath of an earthquake.

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