My Siak Tourism Film

  This is part two documenting my first film in Indonesia — Be sure to read the beginning before continuing on.

Those first few days in Siak were 16+ hour workdays with only 2-4 hours of sleep a night for most of us. In fact on the third night while filming the office scene we had to pause while I chugged several cups of coffee in order to stop yawning on camera. And then as soon as filming wrapped, guess what? I couldn’t sleep thanks to the rush of caffeine. It was after 1am before I finally passed out — and we all had to be up at 3am to make the 3-hour drive back to Pekanbaru to pick up Riyanni from the airport and film a few scenes there.

Day Four

Everyone else was able to sleep during the extremely bumpy drive from Siak to Pekanbaru but not me. Once again thanks to my tall frame, which made wardrobe shopping difficult the week prior, now kept me from being able to find a comfortable position within the van. In the end I spent the time speaking broken Bahasa Indonesia and English with the driver and finally responding to emails via my handphone.

Arriving at the airport Riyanni and her friend and assistant Di were already there waiting for us. After introductions and breakfast we started filming.

Pekanbaru Airport
Filming in one of the restaurants at Pekanbaru Airport

Pekanbaru Airport
With my friends from Siak. They played our hosts and tour guides in the film.

After filming wrapped at the airport we began the 3-hour drive back to Siak. For anyone who has not traveled through Sumatra, let me put it as politely as possible: the roads are shit. It is only about 100km from Pekanbaru to Siak yet the journey takes several hours.

And of course as soon as we returned the rain started. Unable to shoot the scene we had planned we instead decided to shoot the scene in the mosque. Not being Muslim, of course I was not needed for this scene.

Masjid Sultan Syarif Hasyim, Siak
Masjid Sultan Syarif Hasyim, Siak
Masjid Sultan Syarif Hasyim, Siak

Afterwards we re-filmed my “pedas” dream sequence with Riyanni in the bed next to me, but this was another one of the scenes that was left on the cutting room floor.

Day Five

Another early morning, in order to maximize the light. First scene for the morning involved taking a boat out onto the river with a group of locals.

Film Crew Preparation
Siak Boat Scene
Boating On The Siak River
Boating On The Siak River

Following the river scene we went and shot the scene we had originally planned to shoot the day before, until rain got in the way. This one involved the four of us driving around in our rental car. This was done is several takes. First we positioned a camera on the dash and drove around. Next we had Antok hop in the back of the van and film from that angle.

Driving Around Siak
The audio from this scene was priceless — but of course all of it was masked by the music in the film.

Driving Around Siak
That’s Antok there in the back, filming the second take from a different angle.

Driving Around Siak

The third angle was by far the most hilarious of all. We needed to get an exterior shot of us driving, one that one stationary. So to achieve that look what Antok and Takdir decided to do:

Driving scenes complete, next our rental car “broke down” and the four of us decided to abandon it in favor of a couple becak motors that were conveniently passing by. To achieve the smoking engine we rigged up a tube and had Edy stand behind the car to operate the smoke machine. Although he is not visible in the short version of the film, you can see him just barely in the background of the full-length version — if you have a keen eye ๐Ÿ˜‰

Edy With The Smoke Machine
Edy with the smoke machine

Posing in between scenes
Posing in between scenes

Our next scene involved Riyanni and I helping a family make (and then eat) lunch. This was one of my favorite scenes! Why? I love Indonesian food! Plus it was a lot of fun spending the afternoon with a local family.

Untitled-10
Untitled-11

One of the main things the director wanted for this part of the film was me eating something spicy and saying “pedas!” (Bahasa Indonesia for spicy). Because I love spicy food and eat it often, not much is really spicy to me. So for this shot Riyanni made me a special snack: kangkung with a handful of sambal sandwiched in between. Now this was spicy! We ended up having to shoot the scene three times too, from different angles. By the end of the third time I was definitely sweating ๐Ÿ™‚

Pedas!
Pedas!

As the evening came around it was time to film the dance scene. We headed out towards the Siak riverwalk where a large group of locals in traditional dress were already waiting. Neither Riyanni or I knew the dance steps in the slightest but it didn’t matter — all they wanted was for us to have fun. And that we did!

Traditional Siak Dance

Traditional Dance
For anyone who has never seen me try and dance, let me just say this: I can’t. At all.

Traditional Dance
Edy and Cika posing while Riyanni and I were filming the dance scene

Traditional Dance
Posing For Photos
Posing for photos with the dancers after we finished the scene.

Group Photo
To the right of Riyanni are Mr Heri and Mr Riyad, the head bosses who hired the production team. To the left of me in brown is Yose, a Kabupaten Siak government employee and a great guy! On the far left are the local musicians, the front center the local dancers, and the far right the film crew and production team.

Day Six

Following some last-minute script changes the night before, this morning we headed off to an elephant sanctuary. Finally a chance to fulfill something I’ve always wanted to do — ride an elephant!

Elephant Sanctuary
Elephant Sanctuary
Elephant Sanctuary
Elephant Ridin'
Elephant Sanctuary
Motocycling Around Elephant Reserve

Siak
Moving an elephant out of our way

Tea Party

Our next stop was the coconut plantation we had scouted during day two.

Tea Party
Tea party at the elephant plantation

Motorcylcing Siak
Motorcylcing Siak
Motorcylcing Siak
This was taken from dashcam right before what could have been a bad accident…although the crew closed off the road, one ignorant SUV driver tried to drive past. We had to dodge around…

That night we filmed the Siak surprise party, which was the film scene in the film.

Blindfolded
Dinner Party

Then around 9-11 that night we filmed a night scene at Kelenteng Hock Siu Kiong, a Chinese temple. This part in the film actually takes place right before the night party scene we had just shot.

Kelenteng Hock Siu Kiong in Siak
Kelenteng Hock Siu Kiong in Siak
Kelenteng Hock Siu Kiong
Kelenteng Hock Siu Kiong
Kelenteng Hock Siu Kiong
Kelenteng Hock Siu Kiong

Day Seven: Work All Day, Party All Night

We started out the final early morning by filming a few scenes outside of the former Sultan’s palace turned museum, Siak Sri Indrapura Palace, a frequent tourist destination ever since being donated to the city by the Sultan himself. There is even a large proclamation at the start the, although in polite yet condescending lawyer speak, essentially reads: If any of my heirs or future heirs try to reclaim this residence and property then tell them to screw off”

Siak Sri Indrapura Palace
Siak Sri Indrapura Palace from outside the front gate

Musicians Outside The Sultan's Palace

After a few hours we headed off to the river for a bit of work-related fun.

Local Kids Swimming
Local kids going for an early afternoon swing. They were the extras for this part of the film.

Traditional Sumatra Boat
Traditional Sumatra boat. Proper rowing technique is to cross your arms in an X instead of rowing with them outstretched.

Rowing Tradiontal Sumatra Boat
Of course I wanted to give rowing the traditional way a shot. But as you may notice the boat is empty. That is because everyone else thought I was going to flip the boat over and decided to bail before the test run.

Siak River Boat
View From The Camera Boat
Taken from the perspective of the film crew, before we started rolling.

Siak River
Siak River
Siak River
Time to get wet!

Siak River
Group Lunch
After getting out of the river and showering we headed for lunch at Yose’s house where he had a feast waiting for us, complete with some extra spicy sambal made especially for me. Ever since all the rest of the sambal in Indonesia has just been rather ehhhh…nowhere near as good ๐Ÿ˜‰

At this point filming was basically a wrap. We shoot a few more “filler” scenes with me bicycling around Siak that afternoon while one of the drivers made the 6-hour round-trip drive to Pekanbaru and back to pick up a few bottles of liquor for the after-party!

Siak Afterparty
Siak Afterparty
Siak Afterparty
Siak Afterparty

And Now The Feature Presentation

Although several versions of the film have been produced, the full-length one and the two commercials (15 seconds and 30 seconds) are airing on TV here in Indonesia. As such I have only been given permission to share the short 3-minute version…at least for now. So without any further ado, I present to you our Siak tourism video:

So, What Do You Think?

Enjoy it? Tell a friend
About Derek Freal

"Some people eat, others try therapy. I travel." ย  Cultural enthusiast. Adrenaline junkie. Eater of strange foods. Chasing unique and offbeat adventures around the world since 2008. Derek loves going to new destinations where he does not speak a word of the local language and must communicate with hand gestures, or places where he is forced to squat awkwardly to poo -- supposedly its healthier and more efficient. For more information (about Derek, not squat pooing) including popular posts and videos, check out his bio.

18 thoughts on “My Siak Tourism Film”

    • Hey Muhammad, thanks for the kind words. I really liked Pekanbaru, just wished we had more time to explore the city but it was all work-work-work. Oh well, I’ll be back again soon — this time for vacation and not work. Saya tinggal di Jogja sekarang.

      Reply
  1. Hi Derek, I live in Siak. i’m glad you’ve made this video. jus for correction, “pedas” not prefer to spicy. but “hot” because of chili. if you want something spicy, just try Aceh Cuisine or Indian Cuisine. i wish yoi come back and make another video

    Reply
  2. Hi Derek, how are you?
    I was born in Pekanbaru, RIau.dan spend the school year there.
    I also frequently visit Siak and another Riau’s district .
    this is a very good tourist video than ever before ,exhausting trip and fun course.
    Actually, after watching the video of your trip in Siak, Riau, many of my friends from New York and abroad, curious to visit there.
    I hope the government will often make innovation on promoting tourism of Riau, and also Indonesia.

    There are still many areas that are worth visiting in Riau. One of them is the temple of Muara Takus in Kampar, Bono wave in Pelalawan, the Tesso Nilo forest, biosphere reserves of Bukit Batu, beach of Rupat, Jemur Island, and much more.

    I also often promote it in international forums skyscrapercity, and also your video project in SIak here :
    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1472673

    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1465479

    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1600942

    Reply
    • Hei Kris, makasih banyak! Really appreciate the comment and the kind words. I — we all — had a great time in Siak and I’ve been wanting to return ever since. As you mentioned, yes, there were several places nearby that I wanted to visit but didn’t have time to. Plan to return in Jan or Feb ๐Ÿ™‚

      Double thanks for sharing as well, kamu gokil bro! Maybe I’ll see ya out there in Riau ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply

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