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Bye 2020 & Cheers to a healthy New Year

Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak and Stevie Emilia

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, January 2, 2021  /  12:12 pm
Bye 2020 & Cheers to a healthy New Year

Several leading figures from the arts and entertainment industries share what they think of 2020 and their hopes for 2021. (JP/Various sources)

2020 has not been easy for anyone, and the pandemic has affected each and every one of us, both personally and professionally.

Here are some thoughts on the past year from several leading figures from the arts and entertainment industries, as well as their hopes for 2021.

Shanty HarmaynShanty Harmayn (Courtesy Chief Executive BASE Entertainment/-)


Producer of award-winning films Perempuan Tanah Jahanam (Impetigore) and Sang Penari (The Dancer)

2020 has been a very challenging year, especially for film people. We were running at high speed and the sudden break left us in delirium, thinking hard about where we were and where our destination was.

BASE Entertainment had to postpone the April release of Guru-Guru Gokil (Crazy Awesome Teachers) in theaters, but we managed to create an audio series of the film [for] screening on Netflix.

We were supposed to start the production of Akhirat: A Love Story (The Hereafter: A Love Story) that month, but it had to be delayed. Nearly all of our projects had to be rescheduled.

One thing I’m grateful about is the camaraderie of our peers and fellow filmmakers who shared information and knowledge, extending [their] help in finding a solution and brainstorming ways on how the industry can go on.

It’s all about being generous, and I found the year 2020 [to be] a year of humility with extremely humbling experiences. We were forced to refocus and I’m not talking about work, but more about prioritizing taking care of the people around you.

I’m optimistic about 2021. Things may not return to what they used to be next year, because it will take time. To achieve that needs contributions from all stakeholders and the courage to rebuild the industry.

Indonesia is still the most exciting film market today, the indicator of which we can see from the [mushrooming] streaming platforms with the rising number of users.

The demand for Indonesian films is still there, so us returning to [movie] theaters as the central pillar of our industry is a must. Streaming platforms only complement when theaters are not [open].

We already have a busy schedule at the start of the year and just released Quarantine Tales, an omnibus of five directors – Ifa Isfansyah, Dian Sastrowardoyo, Jason Iskandar, Aco Tanri and Sidharta Tata – on the Bioskop Online platform on Dec. 18. It’s a note from the directors about the pandemic that we think is appropriate for closing the year.

Rangga Riantiarno

Rangga Riantiarno (Courtesy of Image Dynamics/-)


Teater Koma director and actor

It’s been a heartrending year. There has been so much loss, and for performing artists who depend on performing live before an audience, the pandemic has been hurtful. But it also posed a challenge for Teater Koma to find the right way and format to spread our work, which would not have happened if not for the pandemic.

We usually stage two [major] productions every year. Sampek Engtay was supposed to be staged in March with all tickets sold out, but then [it was] rescheduled to August and then to January 2021. The other play, which was to involve 40 to 50 actors, was set for November, but had to be postponed. The uncertainty makes planning difficult.

Another problem for us artists and performing arts enthusiasts is the [unavailability] of the Graha Bhakti Budaya at Taman Ismail Marzuki, one of Teater Koma’s main stages, which is still being renovated. Aside from the city-run Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, the rental fee of other alternatives is not within our budget.

Teater Koma then initiated #DigitalisasiKoma (Koma goes digital) by posting our past and new productions on our social media [accounts].

To be honest, we aren’t sure if we can keep to [our] January plans. The fact that [many theatergoers] have yet to be refunded their tickets since the first postponement has affected me very much. The most viable plan is to add more days or more shows to accommodate our patrons, the live audience.

For this year, we have prepared four plays, each to be presented in a different style. We are going to use a continuous shot [long take] for one, and some inserts from mobile phone screens for another. But the “black men” – our stage crew who work on the set when the lights dim between acts – will still appear in all of them.

We’re still discussing continuing the digitalization project, perhaps [with] more varied music videos or monologues, while enhancing collaboration with different communities and raising public awareness about our social media [accounts].

Yovie Widianto

Yovie Widianto (Courtesy of Yovie Widianto/Creathink Publicist)


Musician, composer and producer

The entertainment industry was the most hit by the global pandemic, but it shouldn’t [dampen] our creativity. I believe music at least has the power to heal millions of people stuck at home amid the uncertainty of tomorrow. That is the reason I am using my time at home to create music with my son, Arsy Widianto.

The song we produced during the lockdown, "Terlanjur Mencinta" (I Love You Already), which was made into three [covers] by Tiara Andini, Lyodra and Ziva Magnolya, earned me the Best Pop Songwriter at the Anugerah Musik Indonesia (AMI) Awards in 2020.

Earlier, I was [dubbed] the songwriter with the most streamed songs on Spotify, over 500 million times in its worldwide service.

And just recently, I received the Best Composer of The Year title at the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) in Seoul, which awarded Best Producer to Pdogg, the producer of South Korean boyband BTS, and Best Hip-hop & Urban Music Award to rapper Zico.

All of the achievements only proves our dedication to our art and profession, and staying in our lane and continuing to work can protect [the music industry] from the deadliest threat nowadays, the pandemic.

I’m keen to see what 2021 has in store for us. I wish that the nation stays strong and healthy in the coming year, and for people to work hard to [overcome] this troubled time without neglecting their health. I really hope all Indonesian musicians can resume work and enhance their creativity to craft their best music for all of us to enjoy.

Didiet Maulana

Didiet Maulana (Courtesy of IKAT Indonesia/-)


Fashion designer

It is a year of collaboration between desperation and optimism. Seriously. So many projects – projects that are personal and as the creative director and founder of IKAT Indonesia – that have been stopped due to the pandemic.

But since we have all the time in the world to do whatever, we used it to learn about people’s new behavior and lifestyle and their demand for fashion products for us to make plans for the coming years.

It’s like a turning point for all of us, making us push the restart button and repurpose our lives. If in the past we always used time as an excuse for not realizing our aspirations, 2020 forced us to [get in] the driver’s seat and take control of our lives.

And it was [also] the year of acceleration, as we were forced to switch to digital platforms or perish.

I graduated from business school just before the pandemic and was chosen as a mentor for an entrepreneurship incubation program [in 2020]. Since then, I have already [gathered together] over 5,000 micro and medium businesses in the network I set up for them.

As I contemplated the future, I realized that I could be the bridge connecting micro and medium businesses to the more than 400,000 followers on my social media accounts. That’s why I recently launched my own digital platform [for integrating] my social media accounts to help small businesses to grow.

All this self-realization has been an amazing process.

I have high hopes for 2021. I’d say we will still have difficult times [in the next] two to three years, but this also means that we have enough time to reorganize and to make plans. Take precautions, but have some [faith] that there will be new opportunities and possibilities ahead.

If all the information about the pandemic was seen as working against us now, in the future that information will serve as the underlying data for us to plan our next steps.

Feby Indirani

Feby Indirani (Courtesy of Feby Indirani/-)


Author of the newly published Memburu Muhammad (Hunting for Muhammad), the second book of the Islamisme Magis (Magical Islamism) trilogy

For me, 2020 was the year to acknowledge grief, personally and collectively, and learning to embrace it while trying to manage it. I lost a cousin and four friends, and I guess most people I know have lost one or more people in their lives, and it was devastating. […]

We’d rather deny and hide our grief than sit [down] with it and listen to what it has to say. The year 2020 pushed us to look at grief in the eye. […]

At the beginning of 2020, I called it “the year of motion”, in the sense that I would move a lot physically around cities and countries, which ironically turned out to be exactly the opposite.

First, I worked on a book about art in prison […] that [originally] required me to visit several prisons in several cities. Instead, I interviewed the inmates on Zoom, which was not easy, especially when the inmate is a foreigner, only speaks Mandarin with [minimal] translation, which made me want to scream and laugh [at the same time].

Second, I should have done my research for the third book from the Islamisme Magis trilogy in Berlin around April or May. But it had to be delayed until I don’t know when.

Third, I should have attended my graduation ceremony at University College London in June, but that was also cancelled. We had an online ceremony [that] was totally off. […]

I guess I’m [bracing] myself that 2021 is going to be an extension of 2020, and that’s all right, that should be all right.

We have witnessed how undoubtedly hard 2020 was, yet we were still able to learn insightful lessons, make new acquaintances, create opportunities and be thankful for the ordinary miracles. So 2021 will be very much like that, too.

I hope to be able to do my research in Berlin. I also want to publish a collection of essays, and if I have [the] guts, a poetry collection for the very first time.

When this pandemic is over, the first thing I really want to do is hug my friends for real, finally!

Ari Bayuaji

Ari Bayuaji (Courtesy of Ari Bayuaji/-)


Montreal-based artist who also has a workshop in Bali

The year 2020 has been a very challenging one. I have stayed in Bali the whole year, something I had never done since I moved to Canada in 2005.

I arrived in Bali in September 2019, as I was invited to join the Art Bali international exhibition from November 2019 until January 2020. I supposed to go back to Montreal in March, but that’s exactly when all the travel restrictions were imposed and the borders closed. My flight was canceled.

I am witnessing how the pandemic has hurt Bali’s tourism, and with family and friends, we have been working together to help others as much as we can.

Professionally, the situation in 2020 really made me work in a much different way compared to when I worked in Montreal. I used to work in my big artist’s studio, but not in Bali. Here, nature is my studio, as my recent project makes me work in mangrove [forests] or at my collaborator’s house or weaving workshop.

I always believe that every cloud has a silver lining. Some work plans were canceled but some new good things are happening.

In November, I was invited as a guest speaker of a symposium as part of the 13th Bali Democracy Forum, hosted by the Foreign Affairs Ministry. There, I presented my art project, “Weaving The Ocean”, [and] its impact on the macroeconomic recovery movement and the environment.

The ministry showed interest in supporting the project and promoting it to a wider audience. It helped me produce the short documentary film, Weaving The Ocean, which was launched on Dec. 10 alongside the first solo exhibition of the project.

I really hope 2021 will be a much healthier year for all, [both] physically and mentally. When this pandemic is over, I would love to go back home to Montreal.

We have gone through so much in 2020. This pandemic has also taught me the importance of looking out for each other. I hope we continue to do so when we are back to “normal”. To put it simply, we got lemons in 2020. Let’s make lemonade in 2021!

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