The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Three Jakarta junior high school students who made a five-minute documentary film on mangrove forests won a video news competition Tuesday, beating hundreds of participants from more than 200 schools across the country.
The students of Jubilee School in West Jakarta documented the story of a mangrove forest in Pulau Rambut, Kepulauan Seribu Regency, which had been seriously damaged.
Adeline Tiffanie, the scriptwriter and reporter for the documentary, said her team, which also included Sean Trianto P. Kusmuljadi and Monica Celine Triono, chose to document the mangrove forest as they were concerned about its poor condition.
"The mangrove forest is significant in protecting the coast from abrasion and serves as a habitat for many living creatures including birds, fish and seaweed," said the eleven-year-old girl.
The winning team was selected by an independent panel of professional filmmakers and public figures in the "Kids Witness News" video education competition sponsored by PT Panasonic Gobel Indonesia in cooperation with the Jakarta Arts Institute and Hope Worldwide Indonesia.
PT Panasonic Gobel Indonesia commissioner Rahmat Gobel said this year's environment theme for the competition encouraged students to identify issues relating to climate change.
"With the problem of global warming, environmental issues have become more important," he said.
The company's president director, Ichiro Suganuma, told The Jakarta Post the project was also aimed at improving media content.
"Our company has created technology including video and television, but we also think it is important to improve the content of television itself," he said, adding the competition also encouraged students to develop valuable cognitive, communication and organizational skills.
The competition attracted 236 elementary and junior high schools from different parts of the country. On Tuesday, the top 10 teams, which won video equipment and the chance to attend a cinematography course at an arts institute, presented their films at Panasonic's office in East Jakarta.
The first winner received a gold trophy and a study trip to Singapore in December. The winning team will also represent Indonesia in the world competition in Osaka, Japan.
The "Kids Witness News" contest started in the USA in 1988. Up until 2006, more than 100,000 students around the world had participated in the competition.
In Indonesia, the competition took place for the first time in 2004.
Second place in this year's competition went to SMPN 4 state junior high school from Samarinda, East Kalimantan, while SDN 11 state elementary school from Pondok Labu, South Jakarta, won third place. The fourth and fifth-placed winners were SD Al Firdaus from Surakarta, Central Java, and SD Islam Dian Didaktika from Depok, West Java, respectively.
Rizka Amalia, 11, of SMPN 4 Samarinda told the Post about the school's film on orangutan conservation.
"Orangutans have been threatened severely, mainly from natural disasters and human abuse ... this will lead to their extinction," she said.
"Through the video, we want people to understand how important it is to help save the orangutans," she added.
Rizka's teacher, Aidha, said one of the difficulties the students faced in making the video was when they had to film the orangutan babies. The babies were very sensitive because they had witnessed their parents being killed by humans, which left them traumatized and scared of people.
The best thing about the project, Aidha said, was that it prompted the students to pay more attention to orangutans and care about them.
"My students read a book that explained how orangutans were exploited in a circus, and they were so angry. To see my students' reactions and sincere attitude was the most wonderful experience for me," she said. (dia)