#Maryam, A Short Film by Sidi Saleh, Winner of the Orizzonti Award, 71st Venice Film Festival 2014
Maryam (or often called by Yam, played by Meyke Vierna) is a character in the short film by Sidi Saleh (born in Jakarta, 5 April 1979), which tells the story of a household help instructed to take care of her employer (Tuan, or Master, played by Adrianto Sinaga) on Christmas Eve. Between them stands a wall of differences in social and cultural background, as well as in faith and physical limitations. On the evening, Yam has to take full responsibility of her master.
Maryam was shot on 24 and 26 December 2013, and was finished in March of 2014. The film, according to producer Amalia Trisna Sari, rode on the momentum of the 2013 Christmas Eve in Jakarta, which provided natural settings for a number of key scenes. This method saved a considerable amount of budget, since many rituals or situations did not need to be staged or recreated. Of course, the crew members were required to move efficiently among the swarm of parish doing the mass. Lia said that the production received full support from the Cathedral management.
On 6 September 2014, Maryam won the Orizonti Award for Best Short Film at the 71st Venice Film Festival. Initially, the festival was a part of Venice Biennale, and was first held in 1932. Only in 1935 did the festival have a competition segment. Since then, the Venice Film Festival has been encouraging the public to see films from around the globe, as a work of art, entertainment and an element of the industry. This is reflected in the members of the judging panel, which expands beyond film workers. Multiple Oscar-nominated composer Alexandre Desplat serves as president of the jury this year. Author Jumpha Lahiri, actors Tim Roth and Joan Chen are among the jury members for the Venezia 71 category (for feature films). Heading the jury for the Orizonti Award is Chinese director Ann Hui, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival. The board of judges for this segment also comprises of various backgrounds, which includes The Sopranos scriptwriter David Chase, Star Wars Episode 1 cast member Pernilla August, Turkish film critic Alin Tasciyan, and Israeli actress Moran Atias.
As expressed by a number of film observers, as well as jury members and festival organizers, Maryam set a record at this year’s Venice Film Festival. The committee admitted to having to put extra efforts into screening films from Southeast Asia. Having Maryam in the festival is not only significant in supporting the vision of the Venice Film Festival, but the film also made a remarkable achievement. To this day, major film festivals are not known for selecting titles by unknown filmmakers, or by those outside of Europe or the United States. By winning one of the highest recognitions in this year’s Venice Film Festival, selected from thousands of entries in the short film category, Maryam has made an important statement.
The motor behind this 18-minute long film are two cinematographers, Sidi Saleh and Amalia Trisna Sari (known for their recent work, feature films Rocket Rain and Tabula Rasa). Maryam is the fourth outing from Sidi Saleh as a director, and the second from Amalia as a producer. She produced Sidi Saleh’s short, Fitri, selected in the prestigious Clermont Ferrand short film festival in 2014. Meyke Verina, who plays Maryam, comes from a theatrical background (with theater troupes Koma, Tetas, and Populer) and has often worked as a line producer. Adrianto Sinaga, who plays Tuan, is also known as a film director (feature film Hantu) and artistic director (Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? and Eliana, Eliana). Damiana Widowaty (Dotty) started out as a TV commercial producer, and went on to produce a number of feature films (Lovely Luna and Bebek Belur).
Maryam (director: Sidi Saleh, a BioskopMerdekaFilm production, 2014),
Duration: 18 minutes,
In Indonesian-with English subtitles
Writer/Director: Sidi Saleh
Producer: Amalia Trisna Sari
Cinematographers: Sidi Saleh & Billy Siregar
Artistic Directors: Vida Sylvia
Sound Recordist: Syahrizal Pahlevi
Sound Assistant: Iron Sugala
Music Composer: Dimas Achonk
Location Manager: M Rasidy & Ferdiansyah ‘Popoy’
Sound Designer: M Ichsan ‘Doyok’
English Subtitles Translator: Naomi Lee
Italian Subtitles Translator: Erlip Vitarsa
Poster Designer: Desli Ar
Audio Post: Crossfade
Post Production: Pyramid Post