Private Project

Sailum: Song Of The Rustling Leaves

This intimate and personal documentary pays homage to an indigenous agrarian culture in Indonesia that centers on a traditional palm wine and blends with a centuries-long religious devotion in the only predominantly Catholic region within the world's largest Muslim-majority country.

  • Felix K. Nesi
  • Moses Parlindungan Ompusunggu
  • Felix K. Nesi
  • Felix K. Nesi
  • Moses Parlindungan Ompusunggu
  • Moses Parlindungan Ompusunggu
  • Moses Parlindungan Ompusunggu
    Director of Photography
  • Felix K. Nesi
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Essay Film, Indigenous People, Autoethnography, Reflective Film, Environment
  • Runtime:
    25 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 28, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Indonesian, Other
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival
    October 7, 2023
    International Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Festival Film Dokumenter
    December 5, 2023
    Nomination (Best Documentary Short)
  • Festival Film Bulanan
    December 9, 2023
    Winner (Best Documentary Short)
  • Flobamora Film Festival
    December 11, 2023
    Winner (Best Film)
  • Festival Film Bogor
    December 15, 2023
    Winner (Best Documentary Short Director)
  • Sewon Screening 9
    September 28, 2023
    Official Selection
  • Ubud Writers and Readers Festival
    October 20, 2023
    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • Project Multatuli
    Country: Indonesia
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Felix K. Nesi, Moses Parlindungan Ompusunggu

FELIX K. NESI is an author from the small town of Insana, West Timor, not far from the Indonesian border with Timor Leste. He has made critically-acclaimed work inspired by history and colonialism.

His novel "Orang-Orang Oetimu" was awarded the Best Manuscript prize from the Jakarta Arts Council in 2018. It then won the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture's literary award in 2021.

In 2019, he attended a writer's residency in the Netherlands organized by the Indonesian National Book Committee. And in 2022, he got the chance to join the International Writing Program (IWP) hosted by the University of Iowa, US.

He has also given talks about literature and conflict resolution at international literary events in his native country, such as Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, Literature and Ideas Festival Salihara and Makassar International Writers Festival.

MOSES PARLINDUNGAN OMPUSUNGGU is an Indonesian documentarian and multimedia journalist who likes to explore experimental approaches in nonfiction filmmaking.

As a Chevening Scholar, he graduated with an MA in Ethnographic and Documentary Film from University College London in 2020.

His long documentary debut, "Tano Na Uli, Hagodanganki" (Motherland Memories), was awarded the Best Indonesian Feature-Length Documentary by Yogyakarta Documentary Film Festival (Festival Film Dokumenter) in 2022.

He founded Atmakanta Studio, a documentary production house, in early 2022. Since 2018, he has also been involved in digital investigation works, delving into the world of online propaganda in Indonesia.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

FELIX: Through this film, I present how my people, the Atoin Meto indigenous community in Indonesia's Timor island, live in harmony with nature. Sailum is a visual essay on how we eat and drink from what is provided by nature, and how we take care of and bond with nature.

I feel the need to tell such stories emerges from the fact that the ongoing uniformisation of life in Indonesia tends to distance the people in the originally multicultural country from their indigenous roots and cultures.

MOSES: As a documentarian, I believe that reflective subjectivity enhances the power of film as a storytelling medium that activates all of our senses. Not only giving a documentary the "eye-opening" aspect, reflective subjectivity immerses viewers in the "self" as a nucleus of any social stories, while also employing a critical lens on the dynamics and internal contradictions in a given society.

Reflective subjectivity in Sailum, on one hand, emanates from Felix. The words he crafts and narrates don't come from a mere fantasy; they are a culmination of multigenerational memory, suffering, and nostalgia. My own reflective subjectivity, on the other hand, operates through my camera. Every shot in this film is informed by my own background as part of the Batak people, another Indonesian indigenous community that shares some similarities with Felix's Atoin Meto. We are basically agrarian, go to church, and have a traditional drinking culture.

It is therefore my hope that the dialectical relationship between words and images in this film can enrich viewers' cinematic experience.