Director Mouly Surya Explores Fandom and Cultural Identity Through Film
How far would you go to get as close as possible to your idol? And to what extent would you embrace a certain hobby or culture? Filmmaker Mouly Surya is going into the fandom mind-set, and she’s making a movie about it, which will be filmed in 2013.
“The movie, ‘Fandom Diary,’ revolves around fanaticism in the modern world,” Mouly said. “I got the inspiration from movies like ‘Almost Famous’ and also documentaries on The Beatles’ fans. There are so many things that we can explore about the differences between fandom in those days and now.”
These days, Mouly sees a great influence from Japanese culture on Indonesia’s younger generation. From the J-Pop boy bands to comics and anime costume play, many teenagers and young adults are becoming heavyweight devotees of those Japanese bits and pieces.
“Some of my friends are so in love with Japanese bands, they learn how to speak the language and use it in daily conversation,” Mouly said. “Currently, I’m still doing research on ‘how Japanese culture can have such a huge influence on our younger generation.’ ”
In November, she and her team presented the film ideas to the Tokyo Talent Campus workshop, a creative academy and networking platform for young and up-coming filmmakers from East Asia and Southeast Asia.
“We received positive input from other Asian filmmakers, including the celebrated Chinese director Jia Zhangke,” Mouly said. “They really like the project because this kind of film workshop/festival puts emphasis on movies that are heavy on cultural topics.”
The workshop is organized under Tokyo FILMeX, which is an annual film festival founded by famed Japanese filmmaker and actor Takeshi Kitano. For research purposes, Mouly is also planning to travel to Japan in February and spend a month in the country. The trip will be fully supported by the Japan Foundation.
The up-coming movie will be a dark comedy feature. It will highlight the different identities of many Indonesian teenagers, both online and offline, how much of Japanese culture influences their identities and how much they fall into the culture, considering their involvement in online forums and Japanese culture-related communities.
“The movie will be filmed in Japan, Indonesia and one European country,” Mouly said. “We are still considering which European country we should choose.
“I hope this film will be screened not only in Indonesia, but also in other Asian countries. I have a Japanese partner already to co-produce the movie and I hope this project will lead to something good.”
Mouly is now finishing another movie, “Extraordinary Me,” which will be released in 2013. The movie tells the story of three blind teenagers and a deaf boy and their journey to rise above challenges in their school.
“Extraordinary Me” was selected as one of eight films to be presented at the Next Masters Tokyo 2010 workshop for young film directors, hosted by the Tokyo FILMeX international film festival.
Mouly was also a judge at the Indonesian Film Festival 2011.