With back to back releases and international film festival appearances, it’s hard to miss Kamila Andini. Since her critically acclaimed feature debut in 2009, the Indonesian filmmaker has made a name for herself. Last year, her film Yuni premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to praises, with the coming-of-age flick topping year-end lists of best films.
Now, Andini welcomes a new milestone in her career—her fourth feature became the first Indonesian film in 10 years to be selected for the main competition of the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival. With her delicate touch and women-centric films that reflect her and her roots, it’s no surprise Andini is making waves internationally.
At the Berlinale, Nana (Before, Now & Then) took home the Silver Bear for Best Supporting Actress for Laura Basuki. The film is gaining attention for its Wong Kar-wai-like visual mixed with the suspense seen in Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden and the quiet subtleness reminiscent of Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s work—all male directors but Andini created something uniquely her own.
Following the conclusion of the 72nd Berlinale, Tatler caught up with the director to talk about the creative direction of her new film and what filmmaking means to her.
Can you tell us about your experience attending this year’s edition of the Berlin Film Festival?
This is actually my fifth [time at] Berlinale. My first Berlinale was when my father’s film, Blue Generation screened in the Forum in 2009. My second experience was when my first feature competed at the Berlinale Generation KPlus. Then, my third time was with my second competing feature which won the Grand Prix in Berlinale Generation Kplus.
My fourth stint is being the jury for the Generation competition where they also screened my short film in the Indigenous program. This year is my first main competition experience. After all this time, I’ve [only] been watching competition movies. It’s a milestone for me as a creator and it’s also a milestone for Indonesia’s film industry as the last film in the main competition was 10 years ago.
When you found out that Nana (Before, Now & Then) was selected for the competition, what was your reaction?
Speechless, of course! It’s a big milestone for me as a creator. It has also been a long journey for my dream to be here [in Berlinale].
Nana (Before, Now & Then) was inspired by the life of Raden Nana Sunani, a woman who lived in the 1960s West Java and based on the novel by Ahda Imran who also serves as your co-screenwriter. Why did you choose to adapt the novel and Nana’s life to the big screen?
Raden Nana Sunani is not a big name [in Indonesia], [she’s] not the national hero, she’s just a woman. But that’s what interests me the most. I believe every peron’s life and story matter. Each of us influences others in many different ways. What happened to Nana happened to many women in Indonesia. This is why it’s important [to adapt her story], not because she’s different but because we share the same things.
Moreover, Nana is a Sundanese woman and Sunda is my cultural heritage. I [can] hear my grandma’s story through hers. I want Nana to influence us just like my grandmother, my mother, my sister and any other woman around us have. I want the audience to also love her like they love the women in their family, [those] who do [both] good and wrong as a human but we love them [just] the way they are.