Jakarta. "Lovely Man" director Teddy Soeriaatmadja's latest film is a teen movie called "Menunggu Pagi," or "Waiting for the Morning to Come," which follows the adventures of a group of Jakarta teens as they head off to the Djakarta Warehouse Project, or DWP, the capital city's biggest rave party.
First held in 2008, DWP is one of Asia’s biggest music festivals.
Superstar DJs who have performed at the DWP include DJ Snake, Calvin Harris, Martin Garrix, David Guetta and Skrillex.
According to the festival’s website, over 20,000 concertgoers from 39 countries attended the rave party in 2016.
The film shows the teenagers' adventures over a course of 12 hours.
It starts with the movie's anti-hero, drug-dealing disc jockey Martin (Mario Lawalata), being caught cheating and then dumped by his girlfriend Sara (Aurelie Moeremans).
Sara runs off to a hipster vinyl shop where she meets Bayu (Arya Saloka). Bayu had said no to his friends' invitation to go to the DWP, but rethinks his decision when he meets Sara.
Meanwhile, Bayu’s friends Rico (Arya Vasco), Kevin (Raka Hutchison) and Adi (Bio One) are already on their way to the festival, but a series of incidents stop them on their tracks.
The adventures of these different characters finally intertwine and all of them have to face the consequences of what they did.
"Going to DWP is like riding a rollercoaster. There are ups and downs. The film must reflect that sensation, so I created three stories that evoke all sorts of feelings. There’s a love story. There’s tension. A car chase. All these stories collide into one," Teddy said at the film's premiere on Monday (08/10).
Producer Adi Sumardjono from IFI Sinema came up with the original idea for the movie, then hired Teddy – lately known for his gritty, realistic style – to write the script and direct it.
Adi had worked with Teddy in his 2005 surrealist drama "Banyu Biru" and said he is one of his favorite directors in the country.
Menunggu Pagi marks Teddy's return from a self-imposed hiatus from filmmaking, during which he mostly shot TV commercials.
Adi wasn’t the only one excited to work with Teddy.
"When I found out Teddy will be the director, I was so excited," actor Arya Vasco said during a media visit to BeritaSatu Media Holdings on Wednesday.
"Lovely Man is one of my favorite films. When I read the script, I loved it immediately, because I’d been to DWP twice and I loved the 12-hour timeline," Arya said.
Both Adi and Teddy said the film – unlike the director's more socially conscious films in the past – is meant to be enjoyed as pure entertainment.
"It's about one night in Jakarta, so we tried to find the most cliché stories. A boy gets dumped by his girlfriend. A DJ wants to stop using drugs. Someone wants to go partying but his friends try to stop him. We collected every cliché Jakarta nightlife story, and we put them in the script," Teddy said.
Rated 17+, the film has a lot of swearing, kissing scenes, violent scenes and scenes involving drug use.
"The conflicts, the dialogues, the dilemmas these characters face, they're real. We're not selling a dream lifestyle, we're showing what’s real. This film also has violence in it, which makes it different from most teen movies," Teddy said.
Most of the film's cast is made up of up-and-coming teen stars including Arya Vasco and Raka Hutchison, who previously starred in Upi’s "My Generation."
Teddy said he had no problems handling teen actors because "they always came ready to work and never dillydallied."
Some of them did need a bit of training, like Raka who spoke Indonesian with an accent that was at first considered not local enough.
Bio One, whose acting career is limited to soap operas and commercials before this movie, had to be given some coaching during filming.
Arya Saloka had one big problem: he had never been to DWP.
In the end though, his performance was one of the most convincing.
"The chemistry between them [the cast] was good. They became each other's support system. They pushed each other to perform better," Teddy said.
The biggest challenge in making Menunggu Pagi was recreating the raucous atmosphere of the real DWP.
IFI Sinema contacted Ismaya Live, DWP's organizer, to get video footages from last year’s festival.
Since the DWP was not on during filming, scenes that are supposed to happen in the rave party were shot at IFI Sinema's studio.
"We had to match our scenes with the real DWP. We used many extras. We tried to match the lighting design, which was not easy technically. But we were well-prepared, we knew what we had to do. The end result was pretty close to the real one," Teddy said.
Adi said they used around 500-800 extras for the DWP scenes.
He also revealed the movie cost around Rp 5-10 billion ($330,000-$650,000) to make.
The film, also starring Putri Marino, Ganindra Bimo and Yayu Unru, starts showing in cinemas today.