Manado. Darius Sinathrya's debut production "Night Bus" won the Citra Award for the best film at the 2017 Indonesian Film Festival, or FFI, in Manado, North Sulawesi, on Saturday (11/11).
"Night Bus" received 11 nominations and bagged six Citra awards: best film for producer Emil Heraldi, best leading actor for Teuku Rifnu Wikana, best adapted screenplay for Rahadi Mandra and Teuku Rifnu Wikana, best film editing for Kelvin Nugroho and Sentot Sahid, best costume design for Gemailla Geantiana and best makeup artist for Cherry Wirawan,
The drama-thriller produced by Kaninga Pictures follows the story of a group of civilians who share a bus ride to Sampar, a town rich in natural resources. The area is heavily guarded by the military, which is fighting against rebel militias who want freedom for their homeland.
The awards ceremony was quite surprising for Darius as the movie was his first project together with director Emil Heraldi.
"I did not believe that I could win the award. I am a new player in the film industry and this award is a reminder for me that our hard work is appreciated by the judging panel and our audiences," Darius said during a press conference.
Due to a distribution problem, "Night Bus" was only screened in Indonesian cinemas for a week, attracting only around 20,000 viewers only. However, Darius said he is optimistic that more Indonesians would appreciate the film.
"I felt so honored for this movie to be nominated in the best film category. Despite having a small number of viewers, the festival still recognized and appreciated our work," Darius said.
He added that it is not impossible for the team to hold film screenings across Indonesia.
"Since this movie is no longer playing in all cinemas, we would like to hold film screenings in several cities in Indonesia, especially smaller cities with limited access to the cinema," he said.
Joko Anwar's remake of the horror classic "Pengabdi Setan" ("Satan's Slave") won the most awards but failed to win the Citra. The film bagged seven, including best child actor for Muhammad Adhiyat, best art direction for Ical Tanjung, best sound editing for Khikmawan Santosa and Anhar Moha, best soundtrack for The Spouse with their song "Kelam Malam" ("Dark Night"), best art director for Allan Sebastian, best visual effects for Finalize Studios and best music director for Aghi Narottama, Tony Merle and Bemby Gusti.
The best director category saw director Edwin as the first winner with his latest teen drama "Posesif" ("Possessive"). The film also saw Putri Marino bag the best leading actress award and Yayu Unru the best supporting actor award.
"I want to thank the team behind 'Posesif.' I would also like to attend special thanks to all the nominations for their hard work," Edwin said on stage.
Meanwhile, Hanung Baramantyo's biopic "Kartini" received 13 nominations in the 22 categories but only won one award for Christine Hakim as best supporting actress.
Comedian Ernest Prakasa also took home one award for best original screenplay in his film "Cek Toko Sebelah" ("Check the Shop Next Door").
The festival also recognized the talents behind the scenes this year by adding the category, best makeup artist, won by Yogyakarta-based makeup artist Gemailla for "Night Bus."
Film producer Mira Lesmana presented the lifetime achievement award to Budiyati Abiyoga, who dedicated her life to support the Indonesian film industry.
Born in Sumenep, East Java, in 1944, Budiyati is known as a writer of fiction and short novels. Her love for Indonesian cinema encouraged her to establish production house Prasidi Teta Film in 1993.
One of her film productions, "Kejarlah Daku Kau Ku Tangkap" ("Catch Me and I Will Catch You Back"), were nominated for best script in 1985. Naga Bonar won the Citra Award for best film in 1987 followed by "Noesa Penida." She also produced "Hingga Oeroeg," a collaboration with Dutch, Belgian and German filmmakers, in 1993. Two of her films she produced with Garin Nugroho, "Cinta Dalam Sepotong Roti" ("Love in a Slice of a Bread) and "Surat Untuk Bidadari" ("Letter for an Angel") won Citra Awards for best films in 1991 and 1993, respectively.
Budiyati brought some members of the audience to tears as she recalled the first time she produced movies with limited tools and non-advanced technologies.
"Back then, it was very hard to make a movie because the technology did not really support us. The distribution was also very difficult. However, those limitations give me power to always work harder to lead the Indonesian film industry in a better direction," she said.
"Film is the face of our nation. Now that there are lots of emerging young talent, film directors, producers and writers, I hope they will continue to make Indonesian films flourish and I hope that I paved the way for them," Budiyati added.