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Riri Riza, Mira Lesmana share experiences filming ‘Bebas’

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, September 21, 2019  /  01:11 pm
Riri Riza, Mira Lesmana share experiences filming ‘Bebas’

'Bebas' director Riri Riza (left) and producer Mira Lesmana (right) speak with host Shafira Umm at Playfest 2019 on Aug. 24 in Central Jakarta. (JP/Narabeto Korohama)

Director Riri Riza and producer Mira Lesmana have shared their experiences working on new film Bebas.

Scheduled to hit cinemas on Oct. 3, Bebas is adapted from South Korean box office smash comedy-drama Sunny that was released in 2011. Bebas narrates the story of six teenage friends in Jakarta who are separated for 23 years but later reunite for certain reasons.

The project began when Riri and Mira were invited to attend the 2017 Busan International Film Festival’s Asian Project Market (APM). At that time, they were approached by CJ Entertainment to adapt Sunny, according to

“Long story short, we watched Sunny and there’s a part of the film that actually relates to us as Indonesians,” said Riri recently at Playfest 2019 in Central Jakarta. “When we remake a film, we certainly want it to be different. Sunny has a lot of fans. We wanted to remake it to be a film that speaks about who we are and our generation – about Indonesian culture in a certain period of time.”

Riri continued that they had to rewrite the script and that while the script development process usually took about six to 18 months, with Bebas they already had the “backbone” and concept of the characters from the previous film and script, and hence they only needed to make adjustments for the adaptation to give it an Indonesian perspective.

Mira, who adapted the script alongside Gina S. Noer, said Sunny had a great structure. “The moments created in each scene are very well-thought out. […] The challenge was to make them more Indonesian. So we decided to set the film in 1995, 1996 and 2019,” Mira said. “The 90s generation has a unique style – they’re very loud and direct, compared to the current generation that’s loud on social media. […] Indonesian music was on the rise and there was social anxiety leading up to 1998.”

Read also: 'Bebas' first Indonesian film shot in MRT train

Bebas features a cast of 15 actors, including Marsha Timothy, Indy Barends, Susan Bachtiar, Sheryl Sheinafia, Baim Wong and Widi Mulia.

Meanwhile, Riri said he was glad to be able to find suitable filming locations around Jakarta, such as a mall in the Pasar Baru area that strongly emanated 90s vibes with its salons, small canteens and kiosks.

Prior to the film’s release, a music event will be held on Sept. 27 at Livespace Jakarta, South Jakarta, to highlight music from the 90s. Dubbed Konser Bebas “Pesta 90an”the event will feature Iwa K, Andra and the Backbone, NTRL, Project Pop and also Bebas cast members Sheryl Sheinafia and Maizura. Tickets are available to purchase at with prices starting from Rp 160,000 (US$ 11.34) for early bird sales. (mut)

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