Jakarta. Locally produced films for children are quite rare in Indonesia.
"We all realize that Indonesian children are the future leaders of our country, and yet there are very few good [Indonesian] films dedicated to them," mentalist and television host Deddy Corbuzier said during a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday (15/11).
"I thought it was about time I do something about it and produce a quality movie that provokes their imagination and encourages them to love their country more," said Deddy, who has an 11-year-old son of his own.
The mentalist teamed up with independent production houses Viva Fantasia Animation and SSS Production to produce the children's animated film "Knight Kris."
"We've worked together on the movie for more than three years," Deddy said. "We wanted it to be as good as Hollywood movies."
The film tells the story of an 8-year-old boy named Bayu Sakti, who lives in a small village near the jungle. In his spare time, Bayu loves to read comics about superheroes. He also dreams of becoming a superhero one day.
Bayu's adventure starts when he and his cousin, Rani, discover a kris, or traditional dagger, inside a candi, or ancient temple, deep in the jungle. When he pulls the kris out from among the stones, he also releases Asura Murka, an evil giant with a strong ambition to rule the world.
Bayu and Rani have to gather six knights from around the world to defeat the giant. A young smith named Yudha joins and helps them in their quest.
The film is quite a thrilling ride for children. Its story line is simple and easy to follow, even for the young ones. The animation of computer generated images in the film runs smoothly, even during fast-paced fighting scenes. Many parts of the film are also funny and drew bouts of laughter from adults and children during Wednesday's gala premiere.
Several young and famous Indonesian celebrities lent their voices for the film. This includes President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's youngest son, Kaesang Pangarep, who voiced Yudha's character.
"I immediately accepted when they offered me the chance to do a voice-over in the movie," Kaesang said. "I've always loved Indonesian movies. And 'Knight Kris' is very special, because it is an animated Indonesian movie. I hope it would encourage Indonesian animators and filmmakers to make many more in this genre."
Actress Chika Jessica, who is Deddy's co-host in the TV talk show "Hitam Putih," voiced Bayu's character.
"Being in the movie is like a dream come true for me. I've always wanted to be a voice-over artist since I was a kid," Chika said.
Stella Cornelia, an actress, singer and former member of the group JKT48, is the voice of Rani, Bayu's adventurous cousin in the movie.
"It's my first experience as a voice-over artist," Stella said. "It turned out to be quite difficult to match my voice with the character and the different scenes in the movie."
Deddy, who was one of the film's executive producers, also performs the song "Keajaiban Semesta" ("Magic of the Universe") on the soundtrack.
"The movie contains so many positive values, such as heroism, solidarity and kindness," Deddy said. "It also introduces Indonesia's cultural heritage, such as kris and candi, to today's young generation."
The film will be released nationwide on Nov. 23.
"It is the first part of a trilogy. Hopefully, we'll release its sequel next year," said Johannes Paulus, a representative of Viva Fantasia Animation and one of the film's executive producers.
They also plan to add English subtitles and release the film in other Southeast Asia countries soon.