Langkat, North Sumatra has witnessed an agrarian conflict that happened in a village of Mekar Jaya on November 2016. Farmers defended their farmlands after a foreign investor from Malaysia claimed ownership of the land and planned to turn it into a palm oil plantation. A riot broke as 1,500 force from the police and Indonesian army came to relocate the farmers who insisted that they would stay. The issue became a nationwide concern as journalists reported that mere farmers did not stand a chance against such huge deployment of armed forces. Many farmers are injured and hurt on that day and up until now, the conflict between the farmers under Serikat Petani Indonesia (Indonesia’s Farmers Union) and the foreign corporation is still going on. Actor Rio Dewanto who knew about this dispute from social media decided to visit the village and shines spotlights about it in his personal documentary film.
The 13-minute long documentary movie is portraying the current condition and state of the farmers in Mekar Jaya after the clash a while ago. It also features a discussion and interview that was conducted by Rio Dewanto while he was there. He also spent a fortnight in a local’s house to deepen his sympathy and understanding towards the case and positioned himself as one of the farmers there. The actor of Filosofi Kopi explained that he wanted to encourage people to help the citizens of Mekar Jaya and witness the impact that was received by the locals. He further added, “When we arrived, the children were still traumatic due to the clash that has happened, they looked scared. I commit to oversee the conflict’s settlement from the agrarian dispute in Langkat until it’s finished and hopefully the government will side with the farmers.” As an actor and public figure, Rio Dewanto has been wisely using his capability and platform to highlight the social issue that is happening around us. Take a look at the documentary movie to know more about the conflict from his perspective.