Indonesian producer calls for regional collaboration to make better movies

May 12, 2023 - 07:37
The visionary behind this venture is Linda Gozali, a renowned Indonesian film producer and industry leader.
Film producers and directors join an exchange event on their films introduction at Đà Nẵng Asian Film Festival. VNS Photo Công Thành

ĐÀ NẴNG In a bold bid to rival the powerful Hollywood and Bollywood film industries on the global stage, a renowned Indonesian film producer has suggested a groundbreaking collaboration to produce a multinational film.

With its wealth of cultural heritage and untapped potential, the Asian continent would be poised to showcase its diversity through this ambitious cinematic endeavour.

The visionary behind this venture is Linda Gozali, a renowned Indonesian film producer and industry leader.

She expressed her aspirations during a captivating exchange event among esteemed film directors, producers, actors, and actresses at the five-day Đà Nẵng Asian Film Festival (DANAFF) held on May 10.

Gozali firmly believes that by joining forces, Asian nations can harness the richness of their traditional cultures and create a collective action film that would stand as a formidable contender against the giants of the global film industry. This collaborative effort would offer a unique and captivating cinematic experience poised to captivate audiences worldwide.

A poster of the Vietnamese film 'Những Đứa Trẻ Trong Sương' (Children of the Mist), directed by Hà Lệ Diễm. It joined the Asian in-competition films at the Asian Film Festival in Đà Nẵng City, Photo courtesy of DANAFF

She said she wants to support the Việt Nam movie industry and get the Vietnamese audience closer to Indonesian film products.

Gozali and her family film company joined the DANAFF festival with the film The Unholy – a film on Uztadz Qodrat, who used ruqyah (spirit possession and exorcism in Islam) to help people, but he failed to save his own son.

The Indonesian producer also said the film began in 2020 but changed shooting locations three times due to COVID-19. It was completed in 2021.

Vietnamese young director Hà Lệ Diễm, 32, said the film Những Đứa Trẻ Trong Sương (Children of the Mist) was an endeavour of her first feature documentary film project.

Her film, named in the shortlist of the 15 contenders for the best documentary feature film category of the 95th Academy Awards (Oscar 2023), tells the story of a 12-year-old Mông ethnic girl living in a village of the northwest mountainous region – where the tradition of ‘bride-kidnapping' takes places. She disappeared on Lunar New Year’s Eve.

Actor Bùi Bài Bình and actress Trần Thiên Tú debut at an introduction of ‘Scars of the Heart’ film at the Asian Film Festival. Tota 46 films, including 16 from Việt Nam, will be screening at the festival. VNS Photo Công Thành

Diễm recalled that she wasted three and a half years to complete shooting a film in 2017 but failed to get funds for film production.

The young director said a fund for young film producers should be built to support young people making films.

South Korean film actress-director-screenwriter Moon Sori said the Vietnamese film industry has the potential to join the world movie industry in the future, and it needs to develop all angles of characters in film making.

She said the festival is an opportunity to promote the country’s movies to friends worldwide as well.

Moon, who is head of the jury at the festival, said she would see all Vietnamese films to have deeper reviews on the most impressive film of Việt Nam.

“Việt Nam is very close to me as my uncle now is living in HCM City, so I found Việt Nam friendly,” she said.

Aaron Toronto, director of The Brilliant Darkness, said his film was first complained by opposite opinions, but the audience eventually welcomed it.

He said it’s not an entertainment film, but a tough psychology and arduous topic of what was happening in society.

Indian director Siddhant Sarin competes in the Asian in-competition at the festival with Mirror, a momentary act that transformed the lives of two young Indian women after surviving an acid attack.

He said the film does not only feature two characters but friendship and the innermost feelings of the two women.

A poster of 'Mirror', a film by Indian director Siddhant Sarin that will be shown at the Asian Film Festival. Photo courtesy of DANAFF

Japanese director Mayu Nakamura took Intimate Stranger to the festival – where she focuses on a middle-aged single mum looking for his missing son.

Nakamura said middle-aged single mum is rare in Japan, and the film expresses the different state of mind of the mum.

She said the Japanese film industry had a successful time in the past, but it has yet to regain its past prosperity.

The director said Japan has few female directors, and story-telling in film production has yet attracted an international audience, while the country’s movie industry has been looking for export.

Allen Dizon, who was cast in Abenida, said the film was built from truth story in a town in the Philippines and the life of a woodcarver and artist after his wife left him.

He said it’s the film's first time attending the Asian festival.

Vietnamese actor Bùi Bài Bình, who acted in the film ‘Scars of the Heart’, shared that everybody has their sorrows in real life, but only the love of the people can heal the ‘spiritual wounds’.

The festival is also a chance for Vietnamese directors and producers to exchange experience and advice from international experts and famous filmmakers.

Forty-six films from Asia, including 16 of Việt Nam, were screened at the festival for award announcement over a weekend. — VNS