Gary L. Hayes: Fa­ther, Friend, Film- maker

GARY L. HAYES (OC­TO­BER 15, 1947 – JULY 11, 2018)

Indonesia Expat - - CONTENTS - BY EA­MONN SADLER

When I ar­rived in Jakarta in Septem­ber of 1991 my first job was Edi­tor-in- Chief of What’s On

Jakarta Pro­gram mag­a­zine. This po­si­tion brought me into contact with a group of pro­fes­sional writ­ers, ed­i­tors, pho­tog­ra­phers and other cre­ative peo­ple loosely and hu­mourously known as “The Writ­ers’ Block”. Among them was an enig­matic pro­fes­sional film-maker called Gary Hayes. He was a quiet and unas­sum­ing man, al­ways dressed con­ser­va­tively in an In­done­sian batik, but he had a great sense of hu­mour and he al­ways showed his ap­pre­ci­a­tion of a good joke with a husky laugh, which al­most al­ways tran­si­tioned to a chesty cough due to his en­thu­si­as­tic ap­pre­ci­a­tion of kretek ci­garettes. Be­cause Gary was a film-maker and I was in pub­lish­ing our paths didn’t cross pro­fes­sion­ally in those early days, but we did be­come good friends over the years, and I al­ways looked for­ward to see­ing him at the monthly meet­ings of The Writ­ers’ Block be­cause I found his work ex­tremely in­ter­est­ing and ex­cit­ing. I al­ways asked him what he was work­ing on and I en­joyed pick­ing up tid­bits of movie jar­gon as he un­der­stated his most re­cent achieve­ments while stroking his bushy sil­ver mous­tache.

Ten years later I started or­gan­is­ing live shows in Jakarta and I asked Gary if he could record them pro­fes­sion­ally for me at “mate’s rates” be­cause I couldn’t re­ally af­ford any­thing else. He agreed and recorded my shows every month for al­most two years. Every time I saw him I asked him to tell me what I owed him for his pro­fes­sional ser­vices, but he never told me and he never ac­cepted a penny from me. I knew he had to pay over­time for his cam­era crews and his sound and light peo­ple, but he wouldn’t ac­cept any­thing, not even for his over­head costs. He just came and en­joyed the shows like ev­ery­body else while mak­ing sure his crews did a good job – which they al­ways did. Many years later, when the world moved to dig­i­tal and I only had copies of the shows on the orig­i­nal tape, I asked Gary if he could help me con­vert the record­ings. He digi­tised every show for me but again, he never re­sponded to my re­quest for a bill. Luck­ily many years later I found my­self in a po­si­tion to re­pay some of his kind­ness and gen­eros­ity, but I had to ig­nore his con­stant re­quests for an in­voice.

Gary was an ac­com­plished film-maker with many im­pres­sive awards and cred­its to his name. From his early days in his na­tive Bos­ton, USA, work­ing with sev­eral ma­jor pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies, through to es­tab­lish­ing his first com­pany Katena Films in Indonesia in 1989, he went on to di­rect and pro­duce hun­dreds of TV shows, doc­u­men­taries, ad­ver­tise­ments and movies, and be­came a leg­end as a di­rec­tor in the In­done­sian ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try. He was also a trea­sured friend and men­tor to count­less peo­ple try­ing to make it in the film in­dus­try, to whom he hap­pily gave gen­er­ously of his time and wis­dom. On many oc­ca­sions he was com­mis­sioned to work with Hol­ly­wood su­per­stars, among them Ju­lia Roberts (while film­ing Eat, Pray, Love),

Mickey Rourke (while film­ing Java Heat) and Tyler Perry (while film­ing Alex Cross). Every time I met him I would ask him what he was work­ing on and as he told me fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries about be­ing on set with fa­mous names I no­ticed one thing – he never had a bad word to say about any­one. Not that there was noth­ing bad to say – just that he pre­ferred to fo­cus on the good things rather than bring peo­ple down. Def­i­nitely a sign of good per­son and a shrewd busi­ness­man.

Gary loved Indonesia and was par­tic­u­larly proud of any work he did con­nected to this coun­try. He did a lot of work with the Min­istry of Tourism and helped to present Indonesia to the world in its best pos­si­ble light. His favourite projects were Merah Pu­tih (parts one, two and three known as Trilogi Merdeka – The Free­dom Tril­ogy), and Hun­gry is the Tiger, a crit­i­cally ac­claimed doc­u­men­tary which he di­rected and which high­lighted the plight of the poor­est peo­ple in Indonesia and of­fered so­lu­tions to alleviate their poverty.

Gary was a well-known, much-loved and much-re­spected fig­ure in the In­done­sian TV, movie and ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­tries and he will be greatly missed by the many close friends he made pro­fes­sion­ally and per­son­ally dur­ing his life in this coun­try. He passed away sur­rounded by fam­ily and friends af­ter a short ill­ness on July 11, 2018, aged 70 years. He is sur­vived by his wife Her­lina and his four chil­dren, Anysa In­syira (28), To­ufan Lee (25), Gar­ren Je­han (21) and Anya Amanna Leilani (18).


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