Celebratory Roundtable on Southeast Asian Cinema featuring Sheron Dayoc, Sonny Calvento, Annisa Adjam, Andrea Nirmala Widjajanto, Donsaron Kovitvanitcha, Jeremy Chua, Jun Robles Lana, Wregas Bhanuteja and moderated by Elizabeth Wijaya.
Hosted by the Asian Institute, Southeast Asia Seminar Series and cosponsored by Cinema Studies Institute and Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies.
About the Speakers:
ANNISA ADJAM is a film producer and CEO of SINEMA 5, an Indonesian independent creative company that elevates genre elements in filmmaking to champion authentic voices on important issues. She is also the chairperson of Inteamates, an Indonesian creative storyteller community for social impact that highlights minority perspectives to enact change. Both entities are established in Jakarta from 2019 and previously produced "SAWO MATANG," Andrea Nirmala's latest short film with Pidgin Production. Annisa is an alumna of Kyoto Filmmakers Lab Masters, BIFAN NAFF Fantastic Film School South Korea, Objectifs's Short Film Incubator Singapore, IF/Then SEA Lab by Tribeca, and Full Circle's Creative Producer Lab Philippines who earned a master's degree in Filmmaking from Kingston University London. Her upcoming feature debut under SINEMA 5 "A Ballad of Long Hair'' won Most Promising Project from SGIFF's Silver Screen Awards 2022.
ANDREA NIRMALA WIDJAJANTO is an Indonesian writer and director who splits her time between Toronto and Jakarta. Her works utilize genre films as a medium to dissect sociopolitical, cultural, and environmental grievances through a female gaze. Her first short, Srikandi is a fantasy drama that premiered at the 46th Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival: Asia, and the 40th Vancouver International Film Festival amongst other international festivals. Following her debut, she wrote and directed Bawang Merah Bawang Putih, a body horror food film produced as a 2022 Get Reel Filmmakers Scholarship recipient and premiered at Sundance Asia 2022. More recently, she completed Sawo Matang, a political futurism short as one of the 2021 NFFTY Pitch Competition winners and premiering at the 48th Toronto International Film Festival. Other than fiction, she co-directed a short documentary called Brown Enough, now available in TELUS Optik. She is an alumna of the 2020 Experimental Forest Writing is Rewriting Workshop, 2021 VIFF Catalyst Mentorship Program, 2023 BIFAN NAFF Fantastic Film School, and the 2023 Objectifs Short Film Incubator. In 2022, she co-founded Pidgin Productions in commitment to bridging gaps through our shared pidgin of art and cinema. Andrea is currently in development for her first feature film among other shorts.
SONNY CALVENTO is a writer, director, and producer from the Philippines. His first short film, “Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss” is the first Filipino short film programmed in the Sundance Film Festival. He is a recipient of Philippine Daily Inquirer’s IndieBravo Awards, The National Commission for Culture and the Arts' Ani ng Dangal (Harvest of Honor Award) and a special citation from the Film Development Council of the Philippines. For 10 years, he worked as a scriptwriter for ABS-CBN Corporation, the biggest multimedia conglomerate in the country. The company was recently shuttered by the government. Now, he devotes his time to filmmaking and directing/producing for advertisements.
DONSARON KOVITVANITCHA is very active within Thailand's indepdenent film scene. He works as a film writer, critic, and journalist for magazines and newspaper in Thailand. He also works as programmer for film festivals in Thailand. In 2017 and 2018, he was advisor to CinemAsia Film Festival, Amsterdam. In 2019 and 2020, he was advisor to Cinema du Reel International Documentary Film Festival. From 2020 to present, he is the preselector of short films for Busan International Film Festival 2020. In 2022, he becomes festival director of World Film Festival of Bangkok. Donsaron is also an independent film producer, focusing on producing films from new talented Thai film director such as Nontawat Numbenchapol’s Boundary (2013), Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit's The Master (2015) and Die Tomorrow (2017), Anucha Boonyawatana’s The Blue Hour (2015) and Malila: The Farewell Flower (2017), Wattanapume Laisuwanchai’s Phantom of Illumination (2018). In 2022, the film Arnold is a Model Student (first feature film by Sorayos Prapapan) which he produced is in Filmmakers of the Present competition at Locarno Film Festival
JEREMY CHUA is a Singaporean film producer and screenwriter. Since 2014, he founded Singapore-based independent film label Potocol as a creative house for distinctive Asian auteurs to produce films, videos, installations and artwork. His work include Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell by Pham Thien An (Cannes Camera d’Or 2023), Tomorrow is a Long Time by Jow Zhi Wei (Berlinale 2023), Last Shadow at First Light by Nicole Midori Woodford (San Sebastian 2023), Autobiography by Makbul Mubarak (FIPRESCI Venice 2022), Glorious Ashes by Bui Thac Chuyen (Nantes Golden Balloon 2022), Rehana Maryam Noor by Abdullah Mohammad Saad (Cannes UCR 2021), A Family Tour by Ying Liang (Opening Film International Competition Locarno 2018), A Yellow Bird by K. Rajagopal (Cannes Critics' Week 2016) and A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery by Lav Diaz (Silver Bear Berlinale 2016). He is an alumnus of EAVE Ties That Bind 2013, Produire au sud 2015, Berlinale Talents 2017, SEAFIC 2017 and Torino Film Lab 2018. He is also a programmer at Pingyao International Film Festival under Jia Zhangke and Marco Mueller since 2017.
JUN ROBLES LANA is the youngest Filipino to be inducted in the Palanca Literary Awards’ (Philippine’s Pulitzer Prize) Hall of Fame. In 2019 he won the Best Director Award at the Tallinn International Film Festival for Kalel, 15. Four years later, his film About Us But Not About Us won Best Film at the inaugural Critics’ Pick section of the same festival. His many directorial credits include the multi-awarded films Bwakaw, Barber’s Tales, Shadow Behind The Moon, Die Beautiful, and Big Night. His most recent film Your Mother’s Son is set to have its world premiere at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival.
SHERON DAYOC is a director/producer who shifts from Fiction/non fiction storytelling to TV Commercial directing. His notable films are HALAW/Ways of the Sea (NETPAC Jury -2011 Berlinale, NETPAC Award – APSA 2011, Cinemalaya 2010 Best film), The Crescent Rising (Best Documentary – Busan IFF 2016, Best Documentary - Gawad Urian 2015) and Women of the Weeping River, which won numerous local and international awards. As for Advertising, his most notable work includes 2018 VICKS’ “Touch of Care” of Publicis One Singapore, that ranked as one of the top 5 adverts globally for 2018 by Campaignasia.com. The same ad won awards in Spikes Asia and Kidlat awards (Philippine Advertising Awards) and Araw Value Awards.
WREGAS BHANUTEJA is an Indonisian film director and screenwriter. He studied film directing at the Jakarta Institute of Arts where he made his first short film, Senyawa. His second short, Lembusura, was selected in the Berlinale Shorts Competition in 2015. He then went on to work in a production house as a feature film assistant director. Alongside this, he carried on making short films. His latest, Prenjak, was selected at the 55th Semaine de la Critique where it won the Leica Cine Discovery Prize.