The cast and crew of 'Say I Love You' at a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday. (JG Photo/Nur Yasmin)

'Say I Love You,' More Than Just Romance


JUNE 19, 2019

Jakarta. Upcoming romance movie Say I Love You has a surprise up its rosy sleeve: it's also a movie adaptation of a heartwarming true story about realizing one's philanthropic dream.

Parts of the film are based on the adventures of a school teacher from East Java, Julianto Eko Putra, in establishing his Selamat Pagi Indonesia (Good Morning Indonesia) high school, a free school for orphans and children from poor families.

Julianto built the school in 2000 and has been accepting students since 2007. In the movie, he is portrayed by Verdi Solaiman.

"I'm proud to portray such an inspiring figure as Koh Jul. It was also very challenging, because everyone looks up to him as a godfather, a role model for his students. Most of them have known him for years. I hope I won't disappoint them," Verdi said in a press conference in a Jakarta mall on Wednesday.

The film also tells the love story of a real-life student at the school, Robet, played by a member of the Cowboy Junior band, Aldy Maldini.

Robet came from a troubled background before he was saved by the school.

"Robet was a drunk, a troublemaker, he was done in for robbery a couple of times. I spent a lot of time with Robet to learn about his journey and his character. I was inspired by his personal growth. He really wanted to fix himself, and now he's a very hardworking man," Aldy said.

Production of the movie was supported by Harmoni Dinamik Indonesia, a social network marketing company where Julianto used to work. The company has always stood by his side, even in his early years as an educator.

"Julianto was convinced that the best way to reduce the number of school dropouts was by building a free school that can train students to enter the workforce right after they graduate. That was his way to end the poverty chain," Brandon Chia, the company's chief executive, said at the press conference.

"We bought the land for the school in 2003. We donate five percent of our income to the school, and hold events there regularly," Brandon said.

At the helm in Say I Love You is Habibie & Ainun director Faozan Rizal. The new film will star Andi Waldini, Dinda Hauw, Rachel Amanda, Verdi Solaiman, Teuku Rifnu Wikana, Butet Kertaredjasa and Olga Lydia. Say I Love You will hit theaters on July 4.