Jakarta. Visinema Pictures, the Jakarta-based studio behind the "Filosofi Kopi" franchise, will adapt four LINE Webtoon series into live-action films, the company announced at the LINE Creativate 2018 event at Senayan City mall in Jakarta on Saturday (17/11).
Visinema chief executive, director Angga Dwimas Sasongko, said they will produce "Terlalu Tampan" ("Too Handsome"), "Flawless," "Eggnoid," and "Sarimin," all of which were originally created by Indonesian writers and illustrators.
Visinema decided to turn to LINE Webtoon – a comic-reading app that's part of the online messaging platform LINE – for inspirations since the comics have great potentials to be adapted into different formats.
Angga mentioned what the studio had already done with Filosofi Kopi, which started as a slim book of short stories by "Supernova" author Dee Lestari.
The studio started with a film adaptation in 2015 and now Filosofi Kopi is a full-blown franchise featuring a web series, a coffee shop and an apparel brand.
"We can replicate that with these Webtoon stories, since they already have a huge fanbase. [It's a pity that] not many producers have taken interest in developing contents beyond their original medium," Angga said.
Most recently, Visinema had also adapted '90s TV series "Keluarga Cemara" into a film.
The company always kicks off a new franchise with a film adaptation since, according to Angga, "film is the ultimate form. It's the most complex medium. If we want to know how far we can break into the market, we've got to start with a film," Angga said.
The director, who also helmed the Wiro Sableng movie (adapted from the original dime novels), said the Webtoon films will be targeted at Generation Z.
The stories will be "simple but unique," Angga said.
"Webtoon creators are young and have amazing, fresh ideas. They don't suffer clichés gladly," he said.
Visinema's adaptations will kick off with Terlalu Tampan, which was originally a comic strip by writer Muhammad Helvin and comic artist Savenia Sutrisno.
The original story – about a family with extra level of handsomeness, even the mother is boyishly handsome – has been read by over nine million people since its release in 2015.
The series has also been translated into Thai and Japanese.
The cast for the film was announced in early September and includes Ari Ilham as the main character, the appropriately named Mas Kulin (a pun on "masculine" and "Bro Kulin"), Tarra Budiman as his older brother Mas Okis, Marcelino Lefrandt as their father, Pak Archewe, and Iis Dahlia as their mother, Bu Suk ("Rotten").
Rachel Amanda will also star as Rere "Terlalu Imut" ("Too Cute") and Nikita Willy as Amanda "Terlalu Cantik" ("Too Pretty").
The original creators of the Webtoon series said the left all the big decisions on the adaption to Visinema.
"The comic industry is not exactly booming here, we never expected our work could be turned into a film. We're just happy this is even happening," illustrator Savenia said.
Directed by Sabrina Kalangie and produced by Nurita Anandia, shooting for the film has already wrapped up and the result will be in cinemas early next year.
The cast and crew for the other three titles have not been announced.
Eggnoid, created by Archie The RedCat, is a story about a girl named Kirana who finds an egg that when it hatches releases a handsome boy who acts like a baby.
"Flawless" is a romance story featuring a girl named Sarah who meets a mysterious blind boy named Elios.
Creator Shinshinhye said most stories on Webtoon that feature disabled characters are tearjerkers, but this one is not, since the the blind boy also happens to be a bad boy.
"Sarimin" by Annisa Baswedan tells the story of a monkey spirit that takes on human form and grants wishes – when the price is right.
Angga said all the stories have universal values, which means Visinema will also release the films overseas, even Sarimin, whose plot is centered around Indonesian black magic.
He said the Webtoon films will probably be streamed on Netflix at the end of their cinema run.
Currently there are already four Visinema films on Netflix.
"We try to bring these films to audiences outside Indonesia. We feel these stories are interesting representations of Indonesia for the global market," Angga said.