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UGM sci-fi movie nominated for Best Film at US festival

Sri Wahyuni

The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta  /  Tue, December 12, 2017  /  12:38 pm
UGM sci-fi movie nominated for Best Film at US festival

Principal photography for 'Tengkorak' started in early October 2014, and the final scene was shot only a few weeks ago. (Shutterstock/-)

Tengkorak (Skull), a science fiction movie produced by Gadjah Mada University (UGM)’s vocational school, has been nominated for the Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror feature award at the 2018 Cinequest Film and VR Festival, to be held in San Jose, Silicon Valley, California, in March next year.

The announcement was made on Monday by the school’s dean, Wikan Sakarinto, who is also the producer of Tengkorak, and the film's director, scriptwriter and actor, Yusron Fuadi.

Wikan said he received the news three days prior, informing him that Tengkorak had passed the festival’s official selection phase and thus was invited to hold a world premiere at the 2018 Cinequest along with several other selected movies from across the globe.

“It’s really a source of pride for us, especially because according to USA Today, Cinequest is the best film festival in the US,” Wikan told journalists at UGM on Monday.

He said that some of the world’s greatest film stars had received best actor awards from the festival, including Jacky Chan and Harrison Ford.

Thousands of people, he said, are expected to come to the festival, which will also be attended by world-class figures in the film industry.

Read also: UGM delighted to be Asia's 85th best

“What makes us proud and grateful is that we started making this film from zero, from scratch,” said Wikan, adding that the movie was funded by the crew’s own salaries as civil servants, which was why it took more than three years to finish.

The film’s director, Yusron, said principal photography for Tengkorak started in early October 2014, and the final scene was shot only a few weeks ago.

He said the film’s crew members were mostly lecturers and students of the school’s computer and information system diploma study program. The animation and visual effects were also conducted in-house by both the students and lecturers. 

“[Everything] was done here [at UGM],” Yusron said.

Filming took place mostly across Yogyakarta four regencies, including on the peak of Mount Merapi, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, located in Sleman regency.

Other locations included Mount Bromo in East Java and Singapore.

Read also: Indonesian movie project wins three awards at Southeast Asian Film Financing

Also playing as actors in the film are UGM rector Panut Mulyono, who plays as himself, a number of deans and professors of the university, local actors and actresses from Yogyakarta and Central Java, as well as the people of Gunungkidul and Bantul regencies in Yogyakarta.

“This may be the first Indonesian film officially claimed by its producer as science fiction, a genre that is very rarely produced in the country,” Yusron said.

The film, according to Wikan, tells about the discovery of a giant skull measuring 2 kilometers in height, following a major earthquake in Yogyakarta in 2006 that flattens a hill, where the skull is discovered.

The story goes from 2006 to 2020, describing the global chaos and conflict caused by the discovery. A UGM student accidentally stumbles across the secrets of the skull, making her the target of a manhunt by various parties of different interests.

The film previously won a special award at the 2017 Jogja Asian Film Festival.

“As the world premiere will be held at the 2018 Cinequest in March, hopefully Indonesian audiences will be able to enjoy Tengkorak afterwards,” Wikan said. (kes)