Interfaith Community Produces Peace Building Movie

{videobox}||display=box, width=640, height=360, style="float: right; margin-left: 10px;"{/videobox}In the village Samirukun (Peaceful village), Christian and Muslim communities carrying sticks and torches meet in the middle of the village, both communities showing fierce faces toward the other. The Christian group is upset because someone attempted to poison their preacher. The Islamic community is angry becuse their donation box was stolen. A clash between religions was narrowly averted through the intervention of the religious leaders (Click on the image to the right to view the movie).

This is the scene from a short movie produced by an interfaith-community in a setting in Central Java province, Indonesia. They produced this film out of concern for the rise of intolerant acts in Indonesia. Along with the freedom of expression after the fall of the repressive regime in Indonesia, fundamentalist ideologies took the stage. Now they are spreading an intolerant ideology.

Filming a scene from the movieThe movie was produced by people of different religions. None were professional actors or movie crew. They used DSLR cameras to record and other handmade equipment to produce the movie. The idea of the story was agreed upon at an interreligious leadership meeting. The youth at the Javanese Christian Church (GKJ) Klaten were asked to assume the role of production crew. The location for the filming was in Sunan Muttaqien, an Islamic boarding school. The actors came from various religions.

Filming religious leadersThe movie was deliberately packaged as a nuanced comedy. "The goal is to attract an audience," said Purnawan Kristanto, film producer. "This film will be screened in all religious institutions in Klaten regency. It is expected that this film will promote the values of peace, such as tolerance, harmony, and inclusiveness."

Filming a night sceneThis movie is an attempt to examine pluralism in Klaten. "People in Klaten have a long history as a pluralistic society of peaceful coexistence," said Hajj Jazuli Kazmani, the Muslim leader.

"History records in the 9th century that there were two religious groups living peacefully in Klaten, namely the Shiva-Hindu Sanjaya dynasty and the Mahayana Buddhist Sailendra dynasty," added the boarding school caretakers of Sunan Muttaqien. Later, Islam, Christianity and Confucianism entered in this region to further add to the plurality of the society. However, each community was always able to practice their religion. Not only that, the members of the religions also lived and worked peacefully together. The Klaten interfaith community also cooperated in charity events and in responding to disasters.

"The making of this movie also provides evidence that various religious groups can actually work together for this nation," said the cleric Gus Jaz.

The premiere of this movie was held at the filming location. More than 200 people from various religious and cultural backgrounds attended the screening. Over 500 copies have been shipped to institutions that care about peace throughout the country. It is expected that they will show the movie in their respective communities.

Movie Screening

Purnawan Kristanto is an alumus of MPI's 2012 Annual Peacebuilding Training. You can read more about his work at

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