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Help Is On The Way

  • February 27, 2020

Within the corrupt systems of recruitment, training and placement, millions of rural Indonesian women place their hopes and dreams in domestic care roles overseas. Can competent help be delivered when the path is broken?

Official Trailer (Indonesian Subtitles)

Help Is On The Way is Ismail Fahmi Lubis’ award winning documentary that brings to the screen a busy nanny school in Indramayu, West Java, that prepares women to work overseas as domestic workers. Every year, hundreds of women like Sukma, Meri, Muji and Tari are recruited by local agents who are remunerated after successfully seeing their recruits enrolled in local training centers. They are among the many women from rural areas aspiring to work in countries like Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. They enroll in a school and learn language skills and elderly care, preparing themselves for the work they will undertake overseas while completing their paperwork and waiting for placement.


Indramayu, Indonesia

Help Is On The Way is able to touch on crucial issues, such as migration, social class, gender and labour rights. Ismail clearly delivers his stance about Indonesia’s TKW through Meri, Sukma, Muji, and Tari.

Akbar Rafsanjani
(Read the full article here)

About The Filmmaker

Ismail is one of Indonesia’s premiere documentary filmmakers. Upon graduating from Institut Kesenian (Institute of Arts) Jakarta in 1993, majoring in Film and Directing, he directed several Indonesian drama series before switching his focus to documentary in 1998. As a cinematographer, Ismail has worked with notable filmmakers including Leonard Retel Helmrich and Cathy Henkel. He has also worked as a tutor for Documentary Master Classes at the Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFFEST) in 2006 and 2007.

Ismail has directed two feature documentaries; Masked Monkey – The Evolution of Darwin’s Theory (2014) and Tarling is Darling (2017). Tarling is Darling premiered at Busan International Film Festival. Both films screened at the Taiwan International Film Festival with Tarling is Darling winning a Special Jury Mention award in 2018.

Ismail filming in Indramayu, 2018