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Sugar on the Weaver's Chair / Empu

Synopsis: This film tells the story of three women in three regions in Indonesia redefining their destiny. SUTRINGAH, is the wife of a palm sugar tapper from Banyumas. As the family of a sugar palm tapper, her life continues to dwindle away because of economic difficulties and this is exacerbated when her husband is totally paralyzed due to an accident when tapping. Sutringah is faced with the process of redefining her role as a woman, a wife and a breadwinner. YATI, a woman with a disability, has worked all her life in her family's business involving ‘lurik’ fabric artisans in Klaten, Central Java. Yati then redefines her destiny when her idealism comes into conflict with her father’s and also when her existential need within her cries out for creative realisation. Yati decides to work in a garment factory to get what she dreamed of. MARIA, a widow from the village of Kefa in East Nusa Tenggara along with other widows redefine their destiny as women wanting to pass along their weaving tradition to the youth around them - even when their initiative collides with customs that do not favour them.  

Festivals/Awards: 14th Jogja NETPAC Asian Film Festival; Houston Asian American Pacific Islander Film Festival – Grand Jury Narrative Feature Award; 10th Guam International Film Festival – Grand Jury Award & Audience Choice Award; 15tg Balinale International Film Festival; Asian Film Festival Barcelona ; 18th Mindanao Film Festival; Brazil International Monthly Independent Film Festival – Best Feature Film, Best Director & Best Film Editing; Ponnano International Film Festival; International Labor Film Festival; 18th Asian Film Festival; Regina International Film Festival & Award

Director:  Harvan Agustriansyah
Was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. He studied directing at the Jakarta Arts Institute.  After graduating, he worked as assistant director on many Indonesian feature-length films. As a director, he has produced, written and directed several short films and participated in national and international film festivals.

Director’s Statement
Sugar on the Weaver’s Chair was inspired by the true stories of three women in three different regions of Indonesia. The film shows the real stories of these women’s journeys in understanding their daily roles and their clashes with the reality of their political and economic situations. The stories narrate the division of work between a husband and wife from a simple perspective; how a disabled young woman finds her true role in her surroundings; and the process of instilling a passion for traditional weaving in young people.  The theme of women has always been crucial for me and it is important to discuss it, because the way society thinks of men’s roles has a huge impact on women’s daily lives.  The film is the result of collaboration with GEF SGP (a small grants programme) that is passionate about the division of women’s and men’s roles in managing natural resources.  This film tries to showcase the stories of women who were not resigned to roles that crippled their position.  Instead, they responded in a simple way, without thinking of shifting the role of men.

  • Category : Indigenous
  • Genre : Women, Culture, Family
  • Director(s) : Harvan Agustriansyah
  • Run Time : 1h
  • Release Year : 2019
  • Country : Indonesia