ReelOzInd!: Q&A with Dery Prananda, Winner of Best Fiction & Best Film

The winners of the inaugural ReelOzInd! Australia Indonesia Short Film Competition and Festival have been selected. The ReelOzInd! team caught up with director, producer and screenwriter Dery Prananda, winner of Best Fiction and Best Film for Amelis.

Amelis. Photo: ReelOzInd!
Amelis. Photo: ReelOzInd!

What was your inspiration behind this story?

At first, I made this film because of the duty coming from my professor at my university (art institute). While I was finding the ideas for that, it reminded me of a conversation with Aleta Baun, an environmental warrior from Timor Island.  She joked about the journey of a motorcycle taxi driver (ojek) who brought a corpse back to his hometown. Beside the truth behind that story, I think it is an interesting story to tell. So I did some research about that, and the facts show that there are many cases in Indonesia, especially for people living in rural areas, where they don’t have access to good health facilities. That is why they often bring their own corpse from their family with public transportation. So this is actually the basis of the Amelis story.

Where was the film made? How many people made up the cast and crew? How long did it take to shoot and how long was post-production?

This film was created in Yogyakarta with a crew of less than ten and a few extras that we found on location, and of course some of the crew were also extras. The shoot took two days working from morning until the afternoon. Post-production, editing and so on, took less than a month to complete.

The film is both sad and funny. What was the mood like on the set?

We had an enjoyable time on set. Even when there were a few problems, these could be solved easily. The crew included a theatre actor who gave lots of advice to the other actors in this film. I just gave some opinions from my point of view for the pictures. The rest, all the actors and the crew finished by themselves.

How did you cast the film? Was it difficult to find an actor for the part of the father?

While the scenario development was still in process, I immediately thought of my friend Paulo Da Silva, as perfect to play the role as the son. Paulo is a filmmaker and already made some short films, so I thought it wouldn’t be hard for him to act in front of the camera. Meanwhile for the role of the father, he is a neighbour of one of our crew members. When I saw the picture of Mbah Harto (that’s the name we usually call him) I immediately wanted to ask him to play the role of the father. From the beginning process of the film, we did it very simply, and we wanted to maintain that.

Have your films been screened outside of Indonesia before? How do you think Australian audiences will respond to the film?

This film has never been on screen before. Even in our city, Yogyakarta. ReelOzlnd! is our first screening. I did not expect such a good response from the judges and I hope this film can impress audiences in Australia.

The ReelOzInd! Australian premiere festival screening will be hosted by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) at Federation Square, Melbourne on Sunday 21 August at 6.30pm, including the announcement of the jury selection of award winners. Entry is free, but reserve tickets here. On Monday 22 August, the Indonesian premiere festival screening will be hosted by Petra Little Theatre, Universitas Kristen Petra in Surabaya. After the premieres, ReelOzInd! hits the road. For all the info head here. To read a Q&A we did with the organiser of this groundbreaking initiative, head here.