Actress and now documentary filmmaker Sekar Sari. (JG Photo/Lisa Siregar)

Artist Sekar Sari Juggles Passions in Dance, Film in Upcoming Documentary


DECEMBER 12, 2016

Jakarta. Two years after starring in the Citra-winning drama "Siti," artist Sekar Sari is currently making her own documentary film on ancient literature and dance drama, after finishing a master's thesis on the same subject.

The documentary, currently untitled and still on the editing table, is a follow up to her master's thesis "Stage Life and Daily Life," a comparative study of gender representation and characterization in Javanese Panji stories.

Panji is a collection of classic stories from the kingdom of Kediri in East Java, which by the time the kingdom was gone had also spread to Bali, Kalimantan, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines.

Panji stories were preserved in the Majapahit era, hundreds of years after Kediri was destroyed.

Speaking to the Jakarta Globe before the closing ceremony of the Jogja-Netpac Asian Film Festival on Dec. 3, Sekar said her research into the Panji stories was deeply rewarding and flamed even more her passion in the arts, particularly dance and film.

Sekar has a master's degree on dance knowledge, practice and heritage from the Erasmus Mundus program, which she finished earlier this year.

"I didn't plan to make a documentary from my own thesis, but I took so many interesting clips, so I decided to turn them into a film," she said.

Sekar said that other than acting, dance always holds a special place in her heart. Dance also involves an element of role playing, and she believes acting and dancing can be two sides of the same coin.

"I can never choose between acting and dancing. I think they have to go hand in hand, at least for me. Both require me to work on my body and my mental state, " she said.

Sekar plans to release her documentary in 2017, while also keeping herself busy with other projects.

The winner of the best actor prize at the 2014 Singapore International Film Festival for her leading role in Siti said she keeps looking for opportunities to expand the boundaries of film by venturing into other forms of art, especially traditional and contemporary dance.

She recently performed in the dance drama "Pada Suatu Rumah" (Coming Back Home) at the Galeri Indonesia Kaya in South Jakarta.

The drama incorporated contemporary dance numbers written by Sekar and Iwan Dadijono, live music by Gardika Gigih and art videos by Faozan Rizal to portray a complex relationship between a father and his daughter.

"It was my attempt to offer something beyond the fixed boundaries of acting and dancing," she said.