Jakarta. A shortage of cinema screens and fierce competition with Hollywood movies in Indonesia have transformed the film "Filosofi Kopi 2: Ben & Jody" into a multi-platform brand that extends its shelf life beyond the cinema.
The second installment of the barista adventure flick by Angga Sasongko, which opens in Indonesian cinemas on Thursday (13/07), began its production a year ago through a film synopsis competition. Actors Chicco Jerikho and Rio Dewanto, who play Ben and Jody in the movie, joined Angga and his team at Visinema Pictures as producers for the sequel. Then life imitates art as their roles — as two best friends who run a coffee shop — in the movie become part of their real lives. Chicco said they still call each other Ben and Jody even if they are not on set.
"It's a role that is difficult to move on from, because we are running real coffee shops as well," Rio said.
"Filosofi Kopi" exists in multiple presentations that Visinema launched at various times over the past year, from a comic book, coffee brands, apparel store, music album, radio play and even a fundraising platform.
"'Filosofi Kopi' is a landmark project for Visinema. Indonesia does not have a culture of superheroes or aliens [like Hollywood], that's why they could make films like 'Star Wars.' But we do have a culture of coffee. 'Filosofi Kopi' is not just a film, but various contents that exist on different platforms," Angga said.
The first movie saw Ben (Chicco) and Jody (Rio) embarked on an adventure across the country to meet more people and serve them beverages made of Indonesian coffee beans. The sequel finds the two friends in a limbo after their team of baristas decided to leave their jobs for various reasons. They agreed to end the road trip, return to Jakarta and consider their options.
To repurchase their old coffee shop, which they sold in the first movie, Ben and Jody meet with Tarra (Luna Maya) as a potential investor. Ben is immediately attracted to her, but Jody needs a lot of convincing before he is willing to seal the deal. There is also Brie (Nadine Alexandra), a new barista from Melbourne, who refuses to follow Ben's coffee-making method. These encounters lead Ben and Jody to thrilling plot twists and exciting rides in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bali, Makassar and Toraja.
Dewi "Dee" Lestari, who wrote the short story that inspired the franchise, said she is happy to see her creations become much more alive. Dee is involved in the sequel as the screenplay consultant.
"They are doing a lot of innovations. It feels like a bonus to see these characters grow beyond what I wrote in the short story," she said.
Dee's famous novels, "Supernova: Ksatria, Puteri dan Bintang Jatuh," [Supernova: The Knight, the Princess and the Falling Star], "Perahu Kertas" [Paper Boat] and "Rectoverso" have been adapted for the silver screen.
"There is a lesson to learn. I must understand that my idealism is only appropriate for my books. Adapted screenplays and films are not my works, so I must create a healthy distance between us. I am not placing my book above the film version, but I see those films as a new story," she said.
Dee said she really appreciated Rio and Chicco for their dedication in making Jody and Ben come alive, and teased a new project related to the franchise.
"They really own these characters, and that's really beyond what I expected. It's very possible that I may launch a second book of 'Filosofi Kopi,'" she said.