Oxi Ramadani, a student at Pesantren Al Muayyad in Solo, was distressed about frequent reports of intolerance in her city, despite its religious diversity.
Together with friends Laula Sawitri Hilman, Siti Zaenab, Anisa Nur Khasanah, Yuyun Najinah Al-Kholisi and Asyifa, Oxi accepted her school's offer to make a documentary on the topic– one challenging the image of her city as a haven for extremists.
"We had never made a film before. Making this film was the first time I had ever held a camera," Anisa said.
The film "Satu Alamat" (One Address) tells the story of Muslims and Christians living in harmony. Its teenage protagonist (also named Anisa and played by Oxi), studies in a pesantren and is disturbed by the many reports of extremists apprehended in her region.
Ultimately, she discovers religious harmony still exists in her city when she learns Masjid Al-Hikmah and Javanese Christian Church (GKJ) in Joyodiningratan respectfully share both an address and a wall in Solo. The mosque has no drums and the church has no bells– a reminder that religion is more than symbols, she said.
"We want this nation to once again respect each other's faiths and religions. We want to show the outside world that Solo truly appreciates differences." Oxi told Khabar Southeast Asia. "And also, that Solo is not a city of terrorists."
"We consider what the Al Muayyad students are doing, to be something positive towards establishing religious harmony. This is an example of how we can live good lives side by side without disrupting each other," Javanese Christian Church Minister Nunung Istining Hyang said.
Ustad Ridho, a tutor at Pesantren Al Muayyad, said unity and diversity are always taught at his school. "It is also our hope that religious harmony exists in other cities in Indonesia. How beautiful it would be to have mutual respect and appreciation," he said.
Ridho said "Satu Alamat" began with an offer from the Wahid Institute and the Association for the Development of Pesantren and Society (P3M) for students skilled in radio and video documentary production to voice peaceful and tolerant Islamic values.
The film screened at numerous universities and at the 2013 Pesantren Students' Film Festival.
Badran resident Yoyok Sunaryo hopes the film can be distributed internationally "so that the people of Indonesia and the world know that Solo truly appreciates differences and that Solo is not a terrorist nest."