Tanoto Foundation (TF) Scholarship alumnus Bene Dion Rajagukguk is in the running for an Indonesian Film Festival (FFI) 2017 Award this Sunday.
Bene has been nominated in the “Best Writing – Original Screenplay” category along with Joko Anwar and Ernest Prakasa for “Stip and Pencil”, a film he describes to be about four high school students of wealthy backgrounds who accidentally opens a school for poor children in a slum.
“This is my first nomination at FFI and I am very happy to receive it. I did not expect this honour, considering I have not been in the film industry for very long,” Bene says.
Bene first received a TF scholarship during his third semester at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta in 2010, and was a TF scholar up until his eighth and final semester. The 27-year-old studied industrial engineering then, completing his degree with honours in January 2014.
“After graduating from university, I did not work in the ‘formal’ field. I worked in the creative field,” Bene explains.
To date, Bene has worked as a stand-up comedian, book writer, film and television series actor and screenwriter, and is now focusing on being a filmmaker.
The 27-year-old gives credit to TF for his success thus far, explaining that being a TF Scholarship recipient meant that he was not burdened with how to finance his education during his school days, and was therefore granted the privilege of exploring extracurricular activities outside of class – one of which was stand-up comedy.
“Tanoto Foundation also organized classes to develop our soft skills, including public speaking. The variety of activities organized by TF also allowed me to meet many people and establish networks which became beneficial later,” Bene says.
Bene expresses hope that the TF scholarships will continue to exist and expand – both in terms of quantity and quality.
“A TF scholarship is one of the most sophisticated and coveted among quality campuses in Indonesia due to the various rewards it offers,” he says.
Acknowledging that education has become much more expensive over time, Bene adds that it is certainly not fair to those who are financially disadvantaged.
“Intelligence without economic ability will not be able to bring someone out of poverty. The presence of TF could be the one that saves them,” Bene says.
“We may not guarantee if they’ll benefit the society and country in future, but as the saying goes ‘you reap what you sow’.
“Hopefully TF’s generosity will pay off,” he says.