Joko Anwar says the slums of Indonesia’s North Sumatera are “really not a good place to grow up,” but so it was. He began watching movies at a local theater, usually through a ventilation window, when he was very young. It was there that he saw there were other paces in the world, and different kinds of lives. His desire to make movies comes from wanting to give others that same experience. Because his parents couldn’t afford to send him to film school, he got a degree in aeronautical engineering. That was followed by unsuccessful attempts at breaking into the film biz, before getting work as a journalist where Anwar could “meet local film people and bullshit my way into the industry,” he says. “And I did.”
What it’s about: “A guy has to save his wife and two children who go missing during a vacation in the woods after being visited by an uninvited guest.”
Director Anwar says: “It was shot on Red Epic, in only 10 days under a USD 200,000 budget (low, even by Indonesian standard) but this is the project in which I had the most fun. We utilized everything we got to shoot. For the tracking shots in the woods, we didn’t have access to a motion control so we mounted the camera on a flying fox and just threw it to the other end of the rope. In one shot where the camera had to follow a character into a small ditch, we used a small frying pan as the mount. I wanted the audience to feel that they are there with the main character throughout the course of the movie.”
Other projects in the pipeline? “I’m preparing a movie about five young Indonesians killing off politicians in Indonesia. One by one in a delicious way. Sort of like a perfect escapism for Indonesians. I’m also gonna make a romantic drama titled ’24 Frames per Heartbreak a.k.a. Masturbation as the Perfect Cure for Insomnia,’ about a young filmmaker who’s trying to find the most heartbreaking story for his first romantic drama, to punish the audience.”
Indiewire invited SXSW Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2012 festival.
Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch for the latest profiles.