List of film directors of the Dutch East Indies

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A man with short hair and a white shirt is controlling a large camera. He is facing left.
The Wong brothers (one pictured) were the first ethnic Chinese directors in the Indies.
A faded image of a man with short, curly hair in a suit and tie.
Bachtiar Effendi, the earliest recorded native Indonesian director.
A man with short hair and a bowtie looks ahead.
Andjar Asmara, a journalist, became a director in 1940.
A halftoned image of a man with short hair and glasses looking ahead.
Usmar Ismail, who made his debut in 1949, would later be called the father of Indonesian film.[1]

Twenty-nine people are recorded as having directed fictional films in the Dutch East Indies between 1926, when L. Heuveldorp released Loetoeng Kasaroeng, the colony's first domestically produced film,[2] and 1949, when the Dutch formally recognised Indonesia's sovereignty after a four-year revolution, leaving the Dutch East Indies defunct.[a][3] Thirteen directors active in the Indies continued to direct films after 1950, including Usmar Ismail: his 1950 film Darah dan Doa (The Long March) is generally considered the first truly Indonesian film.[4]

The colony's first directors, Heuveldorp and G. Kruger, were of European or mixed descent.[5] They were followed by ethnic Chinese soon after, when Nelson Wong made his debut in 1928 with Lily van Java;[6] other Chinese directors included Lie Tek Swie (1929), Wong's brothers Joshua and Othniel (1930), and The Teng Chun (1931). Ethnic Chinese directors dominated the colony's cinema for the remainder of its existence.[7] The first native director, Bachtiar Effendi, made his debut in 1932 with the talkie Njai Dasima;[8] another native director would not appear until Andjar Asmara and Rd Ariffien made their debuts in 1940.[9][10]

The directors active in the Indies came from various backgrounds. Some, like The Teng Chun, Fred Young, and the Wongs, had been interested in film since their youth.[11] Others, such as Njoo Cheong Seng and Andjar, had a background in theatre.[12] Still others, including Albert Balink and Ismail, were journalists by trade.[13][14] They were all men; the first woman to direct a film in the Indonesian archipelago, Ratna Asmara, made her debut after the Indies were dissolved.[15] Between them, the 29 men directed some 103 films, at times working collaboratively; it was not unusual for them to take more than one role in production.[7] However, they generally had less creative control than the producer.[16]

The following list is sorted alphabetically by default, with further sorting capability in certain fields; owing to differing naming conventions between cultures, not all entries are sorted by last name. The list only counts fictional films directed by the subjects and does not include films from other genres or films in which the person held other roles. The names of persons credited with an abbreviated name are written in full, where available.


Film directors[edit]

Key
Continued activity Indicates continued directorial activity after 1949
Film directors of the Dutch East Indies
Name Fictional film debut Debut year Films directed before 1949 Total films directed Ref(s).
Andjar Asmara Kartinah 1940 5 5 [17]
Ariffien, RadenRaden Ariffien Continued activity Harta Berdarah 1940 4 32 [b][10]
Balink, AlbertAlbert Balink Pareh 1935 2 2 [18]
Boen Kim Nam Mega Mendoeng 1941 1 1 [19]
Carli, Ph.Ph. Carli De Stem des Bloeds 1930 3 3 [20][21]
Duarte, Henry L.Henry L. Duarte Continued activity Selendang Delima 1941 1 12 [c][22]
Effendi, BachtiarBachtiar Effendi Continued activity Njai Dasima 1932 1 4 [23]
Franken, MannusMannus Franken Pareh 1935 2 2 [d][24]
Heuveldorp, L.L. Heuveldorp Loetoeng Kasaroeng 1926 1 1 [25]
Hu, R.R. Hu Continued activity Harta Berdarah 1940 2 4 [26]
Ismail, UsmarUsmar Ismail Continued activity Harta Karun 1949 2 28 [e][27]
Jo An Djan Continued activity Kedok Ketawa 1940 5 6 [28][29]
Jo Eng Sek Pah Wongso Pendekar Boediman 1940 3 3 [30]
Koesoema, B.B. Koesoema Djatoeh Berkait 1944 1 1 [f][31]
Kruger, G.G. Kruger Eulis Atjih 1927 3 3 [32]
Lie Tek Swie Njai Dasima 1929 6 6 [33]
Njoo Cheong Seng Continued activity Kris Mataram 1940 5 8 [34]
Perbatasari, InoeInoe Perbatasari Continued activity Elang Darat 1941 3 5 [35]
Roestam Sutan Palindih Di Menara 1943 3 3 [g][36][37]
Said Hamid Junid, MohammadMohammad Said Hamid Junid Continued activity Boenga Sembodja 1942 3 19 [h][38]
Schilling, M. H.M. H. Schilling Sinjo Tjo Main di Film 1931 2 2 [39]
Sutan Usman Karim Panggilan Darah 1941 2 2 [i][40]
Tan Tjoei Hock Dasima 1940 9 9 [j][41]
The Teng Chun Continued activity Boenga Roos dari Tjikembang 1931 16 17 [42]
Wong, JoshuaJoshua Wong Continued activity Lari ke Arab 1930 10 12 [k][43][44]
Wong, NelsonNelson Wong Lily van Java 1928 6 6 [k][43][45]
Wong, OthnielOthniel Wong Continued activity Lari ke Arab 1930 10 13 [k][43][46]
Wu Tsun Lintah Darat 1941 4 4 [47]
Young, FredFred Young Continued activity Sehidup Semati 1949 2 23 [l][48]

Explanatory notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Dutch had occupied the Indies for more than 300 years. Following a three-year Japanese occupation during World War II, Indonesia proclaimed its independence in 1945, an action which was not well-received by the Dutch (Kahin 1952, pp. 29, 101, 136) .
  2. ^ Often credited as Rd. Ariffien
  3. ^ Also credited as Hendro Sudarto
  4. ^ Franken was better known for his short documentaries and spent most of his career in his homeland, the Netherlands.
  5. ^ Also credited as PL Kapoor
  6. ^ A pseudonym of Bunjin Kurata, a member of the Japanese occupation forces.
  7. ^ Often credited as Roestam St. Palindih; his oeuvre may include a short entitled Djatoeh Berkait, which is formally credited to B. Koesoema (Filmindonesia.or.id, Djatoeh Berkait).
  8. ^ Often credited as Moh. Said HJ
  9. ^ Credited as Suska
  10. ^ Also credited as TH Tan and Tanu Trh
  11. ^ a b c Figures for Nelson Wong include three films directed with his brothers, Joshua and Othniel, for which they are credited as the Wong brothers. Figures for Joshua and Othniel also include a further three collaborations made after Nelson's death, two directed before 1949 and one directed afterwards.
  12. ^ Also credited as Utomo

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Kurniasari 2012, Reviving.
  2. ^ Biran 2009, pp. 61, 68.
  3. ^ Kahin 1952, p. 445.
  4. ^ Biran 2009, p. 45.
  5. ^ Biran 2009, p. 55.
  6. ^ JCG, Lily van Java.
  7. ^ a b Biran 2009, pp. 379-386.
  8. ^ Said 1982, p. 138.
  9. ^ Biran 2009, pp. 213.
  10. ^ a b Filmindonesia.or.id, Rd Ariffien.
  11. ^ Biran 2009, p. 188.
  12. ^ Said 1982, p. 29.
  13. ^ Biran 2009, p. 155.
  14. ^ I.N. 1981, p. 549.
  15. ^ Swestin 2009, p. 104.
  16. ^ Said 1982, p. 30.
  17. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Abisin Abbas.
  18. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Boen Kim Nam.
  19. ^ Biran 2009, pp. 124, 380–381.
  20. ^ De Indische Courant 1931, Indische filmkunst.
  21. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Henry L Duarte.
  22. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Bachtiar Effendy.
  23. ^ EYE Institute, Mannus Franken.
  24. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, L. Heuveldorp.
  25. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, R Hu.
  26. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Usmar Ismail.
  27. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Jo An Djan.
  28. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Jo An Tjiang.
  29. ^ Biran 2009, p. 234.
  30. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Djatoeh Berkait.
  31. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, G. Krugers.
  32. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Lie Tek Swie.
  33. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Njoo Cheong Seng.
  34. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Inoe Perbatasari.
  35. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Roestam St Palindih.
  36. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Rustam St Palindih.
  37. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Mohammad Said.
  38. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, MH Schilling.
  39. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Suska.
  40. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Tan Tjoei Hock.
  41. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, The Teng Chun.
  42. ^ a b c Filmindonesia.or.id, Wong Bersaudara.
  43. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Joshua Wong.
  44. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Nelson Wong.
  45. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Othniel Wong.
  46. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Wu Tsun.
  47. ^ Filmindonesia.or.id, Fred Young.

Works cited[edit]