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POSTED ON – 10.07.14

SSR Jakarta - Riri Riza Masterclass at SSR Jakarta
Riri Riza Masterclass at SSR Jakarta
We recently hosted a masterclass from Indonesian film director Riri Riza at SSR Jakarta.

Riri Riza was born on October 7, 1970 in Makassar, Indonesia as Mohammad Rivai Riza. He graduated from The Film Department of Jakarta Institute of the Arts, and went on to take his Masters in Film Screenwriting at The Royal Holloway University of London, UK.

He is the leading film director of the post reform Indonesian cinema, known for his ability to push the limits of genre convention and achieve box office success. Riri is also one of the leaders in the anti-censorship movement in Indonesia.

Riza directed his first feature film, Kuldesak, in 1998, collaborating with Mira Lesmana, Nan Triveni Achnas and Rizal Mantovani. His solo feature film debut, Petualangan Sherina (Sherina's Adventure) in 2000, established him as a director.

Together with Mira Lesmana, Riza has also become a film producer. Ada Apa dengan Cinta? (What's Up With Love?), directed by Rudy Soedjarwo, had two million viewers in 2002, Indonesian cinema's biggest box-office draw.

Riza studied screenwriting in England, and then wrote his first screenplay Eliana, Eliana. His other films include Gie, Untuk Rena (For Rena), 3 Hari Untuk Selamanya (Three Days to Forever), Laskar Pelangi and Pemimpi.

Based on his experiences, we decided to invite him to talk in our masterclass session with our film production students. The masterclass was held on July 1st 2014 in our Green Room Area, with a film screening of Riri’s Atambua 39˚C followed by a discussion.

We also managed to grab a quick interview with Riri while he was in attendance:

Hi Riri, can you tell us about your current project?
(RR): Currently I am working on my new film with Mira Lesmana called “Pendekar Tongkat Emas” and an action movie produced in Sumba, also writing a pre-production for television drama for September-October.

What do you think about the improvement of the Indonesian film industry nowadays?
(RR): There are many improvements happened in the film industry compared to the past. How arts or creative industry started to be a popular talks between Indonesian citizens. For example: the establishment of design schools, multimedia and sound engineering. Generally, arts are evolving lately in many cities such as Yogya, Bandung, Surabaya. The center of creativity is not only in big cities, but also more spreading out like in Jember, Palembang and Makassar. The challenges are still there and our economic aspect is not big yet. The film exhibitions are very limited in big cities, although our potentials are huge and the passion is there as well.

How is the synergy between film industry and the government regarding to their role in this matter? What kind of benefits you have got from them?
(RR): The government’s role should be bigger. They have to make creative and art centres in some cities like: venues, cinemas, exhibition centres and creative schools. There are many fields and we have to catch up with the progress of the creative industries internationally.

What do you think about this Masterclass event?
(RR): I'm looking forward to the discussion. It is important to have an interaction between professional creative industries and the youths that are still learning. If there is the possibility, why not? I like to introduce the unconventional films like today.

Now we are talking about the presidential election. What are the criteria to be our next President in your opinion?
(RR): In my opinion, our next President should be an open minded person and have an interest in cultures and arts. Indonesia has much potential regarding diversity. For instance, if we have the willing to explore the design from Papua, we can have the quality of world artworks. This is the thing that is ignored by our government.

Any messages for the youths who want to have a career in the film industry?
(RR): They should have the courage to explore Indonesia. When we study the creative world, we must get used to learning about technology. But what we deliver has to come from our love of this country, of our cultures. They also have to travel more domestically not only abroad to places such as Sumatera, Borneo, Bali, Sumba, Papua. We can have the story originally from Indonesia, but made with international quality production.

We would like to thank Riri for visiting SSR Jakarta and talking to us and our students.

Thanks Riri!