Jakarta. Before its official cinema release on Jan. 3, "Keluarga Cemara" ("Cemara’s Family"), a remake of the '90s sentimental television drama of the same title, will be premiered at the 13th Jogja-Netpac Asian Film Festival on Nov. 27-Dec. 4.
The movie will compete in the Indonesian Screen Awards (ISA) category at the festival along with seven other feature films, including Teddy Soeriaatmadja's "Menunggu Pagi," Edwin’s "Aruna dan Lidahnya" and Djenar Maesa Ayu and Kan Lume's "If This Is My Story."
Produced by Visinema Pictures, Keluarga Cemara is the first feature for Yandy Laurens, whose short film "Wan An" won Best Short Film at the 2012 Indonesian Film Festival (FFI).
Keluarga Cemara is both a remake and a prequel of the 1990s tearjerker series, featuring a completely new cast.
The original TV series showed an ideal family living a contented life despite abject poverty, whereas the film tells the story of how they go from riches to rags.
Abah ("father," played by Ringgo Agus Rahman) goes bankrupt because of a dodgy business deal.
He, Emak ("mother," played by Nirina Zubir) and their two daughters (there were three in the original TV series) – Euis (Adhisty Zara from idol group JKT48) and Cemara/Ara (Widuri Putri Sasono) – are forced to move out of Jakarta into an old house in a remote village Abah inherited from his father.
Falling into sudden penury and being forced to live modestly without much preparation cause friction in the family but in the end they learn to survive and stick together.
JAFF director Ifa Isfansyah said after the film’s press screening at Plaza Indonesia XXI in Central Jakarta on Tuesday (13/11) that the festival "always gives room for new talents in Indonesia."
Also, in the past 13 years, according to Ifa, family has been one of the main themes in Asian cinema.
"Keluarga Cemara represents Indonesian values such as harmony and a strong family bond, which also appear in many Asian movies," Ifa said.
Anggia Kharisma, one of the film's producers, said she was proud that Keluarga Cemara has been selected to compete in JAFF.
"We feel honored, flattered and slightly overwhelmed," she said.
Co-scriptwriter and co-producer Gina S. Noer said Keluarga Cemara is one of the longest-running family sagas and intellectual property in Indonesia.
It started as a series of short stories written by writer and journalist Arswendo Atmowiloto 44 years ago. It was adapted for television in 1996.
Production house Visinema Pictures reportedly has plans to turn Keluarga Cemara into a franchise, just like it did with Dee Lestari's "Filosofi Kopi."
That started with a loose film adaptation of Dee's short story, then grew into a movie franchise, a web series and even a real coffee shop.
Gramedia Pustaka Utama has already re-released the Keluarga Cemara stories in several volumes.
Two children’s storybooks told from Ara's point of view will be released soon, followed by a tie-in novel and an activity book.
A children’s poetry book will be published on Nov. 19.
“Later on we'll definitely do a web series. We also have plans to create a theme park where visitors can experience living as Cemara's family. Arswendo has already given us his permission. There will be other projects as well. We want this franchise to last well into the 2020s," Anggia said.
Dates have not been announced for the JAFF screenings of Keluarga Cemara. Tickets will go on sale on Nov. 21 on JAFF's official website.