Jakarta. After big box office successes with "Ngenest" and "Cek Toko Sebelah," comic Ernest Prakasa returns to the silver screen with "Susah Sinyal," or "Poor Reception," right in time for the Christmas holiday season.
Speaking after a press screening at Epicentrum XXI in South Jakarta on Friday (15/12), Ernest said the new movie is his first project together with his wife, Meira Anastasia.
"Susah Sinyal is special because my wife helped me to write the script. She'd helped me in my previous movies as well, but only in brainstorming the initial idea."
Ernest, who wrote, directed and also starred in the Star Vision production, said the new movie is a story about family, relationship and the popular tourist destination of Sumba Island in East Nusa Tenggara.
"Indonesia has so many beautiful islands and they need to be explored and promoted," said Ernest, a standup comic of Chinese descent who earned a lot of praise from critics for his Cek Toko Sebelah (Check Out the Shop Next Door), which cleverly satirized race relations in Indonesia.
Susah Sinyal meanwhile follows the drama between successful lawyer and single mother Ellen Tirtoadmodjo (Adinia Wirasti) and her only daughter Kiara Tirtoatmodjo (Aurora Ribero).
After she got divorced, Ellen becomes the breadwinner for the family and works tirelessly. Unfortunately, being tied to her office ruined Ellen’s relationship with daughter Kiara.
Movies exploring the drama between a single mother and her child are a dime a dozen, and Ernest said finding an original way to tell this story was no easy task.
The 110-minute drama comedy also stars Gisella Anastasia, Gading Martin, stand up comedian Ge Pamungkas, Valerie Thomas and Asri Welas.
"I did a lot of research and worked with a professional psychologist to understand and dig deep into the struggle of a single parent having to raise a child on her own for this movie," Ernest said.
Ernest said he did feel the burden of having to repeat his previous success with Cek Toko Sebelah, which attracted 2.6 million viewers and won the Citra Award for best original screenplay.
"Expectations are high this time, but at the end of the day, I can only do my best and let the fans decide if the movie is good or not," Ernest said.
Susah Sinyal opens in cinemas on Thursday, Dec. 21.