May 23, 2011

On the Set of the Indonesian Film Di Bawah Lindungan Ka'bah | Documentary Photographer

I was lucky to be asked to be an extra in this film, set to release around Ramadan. My part was a "Dutch noble-person" and my job was to wear a dress and pearls and ride a train back and forth. I almost got a speaking role (in Dutch!) but it was stolen from me by a very cute 8-year old boy.

The casting process for Indonesian extras was this guy yelling a lot about the characteristics he needed and people rushing forward with arms raised.

Many of the extras worked at the train museum as vendors and became vendors in the movie! That meant they were old hands at acting out their roles.

I got some time to talk with the still photographers documenting the film. They had already been with the project for a couple months of shooting in other parts of Indonesia. They were very open and friendly and I told one I was a photographer and that I wanted to take photos behind-the-scenes if it didn't disturb them. He said it was fine as long as my camera settings were set to silent--he thought I wanted to shoot the actual scenes as they were rolling. I thought that exemplified how generous they were. I just meant I wanted to take photos of the goings-on around the set, and he thought I wanted to be right next to him taking photos as the cameras rolled.

This post is pretty large so I will add the photos I got from the photographers on set to the next post. Check it out, too!

Patrick was a fun expat from Scotland who lives here in Indonesia now. He's an engaging storyteller and sought me out often because he said he missed speaking with people who spoke English as a first language. It was funny that he said that because I was having trouble understanding his thick (to my ears) accent. He's a foodie, too and makes his own pasta among other things. Pretty impressive in Indonesia! It seemed surreal to be talking about feta and ricotta cheese here. He is the father of the cute 8-year-old who stole my speaking part. But it's okay.

This was supposed to be my husband in the movie. I decided he was my uncle instead. He was from Semarang and his mother was German; he had been an extra before.

Some of the makeup crew.

This is the hunky Indonesian equivalent of maybe Matt Damon and the star of this film. He had to wear lots of makeup so he looked darker. He is actually from Sumatra originally so that part was accurate but I guess this generation spends more time indoors than they did in the 1920s. I was amazed that his makeup didn't get all over everything.

The film takes place in Padang, Sumatra and this is what they wore there back in the day.

We had to ride a steam train back and forth. For the good parts, this is what we saw out the window.

My friend Ashley got to wear mustache. Ash's stache. Good times.

My hubby, looking dashing.

This guy's jacket reminds me of that musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, even though I've never seen it. I was amazed that he was comfortable wearing that in the heat, although I am continually amazed by warm-clothing-wearing here.

This guy is not acting. He is really sleeping on a pile of bags.