40 Days in Europe is not a documentary film. It is a feature film based on a true story about a group of young Indonesian musicians who faced an impossible journey when landed in Europe. The film is adapted from a memoir with the same title by Maulana M. Syuhada.
When a teen conductor of a secondary school angklung group found his team in financial crisis and on the verge of division during a 40 day-cultural mission in Europe, he had to remove his ego and show his leadership or the team would fall apart.
The idea to make this film appeared when I met an old friend, Adi Panuntun, in London in spring 2009. Adi who was at that time pursuing a master degree in Northumbria University was preparing the promotion of his first film, "cin(T)a", where he was the producer. He told me that he was very impressed with the book, “40 Days in Europe”, and offered me to make it into film. I was very excited and immediately agreed. Since the book was published in 2007, many readers have been suggesting me to make it into film because the story is so inspiring.
I like working with Adi, not only because he is a hardworking guy, but also he is a young man with a future vision. His ideas are always fresh, full of creativity and innovation. Cin(T)a gained a huge success and became the first low budget film that broke into Blitzmegaplex and stayed on the screen for six weeks, an achievement that has never been matched by any Indonesian indie film. It won the best screenplay in Indonesian Film Festival (FFI 2009), an Indonesian version for Academy Award, and Audience Award at Jakarta International Film Festival (JiFFest 2009). Just recently, Adi with his company, Sembilan Matahari, won a prestigious international lighting festival in Moscow (Circle of Light 2014) seeing off 29 participants from around the world, including some favorite countries like Italy, Mexico, Germany, United States, and the host, Russia.
However, because I wanted to get involved full time in the production and creativity process of the film, the project was on hold till I returned to Indonesia. In autumn 2013, Adi introduced me to Sony Budi Sasono, a young talented filmmaker who is also the co-founder of Sembilan Matahari. Mochamad Achir (currently SCTV news anchor) who also did the journey ten years ago, joined the team and completed the board of producers. The project finally kicked off in mid October 2013 and we held many interesting marathon-discussions since. Sometimes we fell asleep on the floor because the discussion lasted till very early in the morning. I couldn’t find any better combination of young people than this team, very solid, visionary and full of fun!
We hope this film is not only promoting angklung and Indonesian culture, but more than that, this film should inspire many people, especially young generations, about leadership and entrepreneurship. In this film, the philosophy of angklung and bamboo will be delivered through the interaction between the characters. We will show the audience that angklung is not only a musical instrument, but also a philosophy of life. Through angklung, we learn a lot of local wisdom such as the values of leadership, togetherness, unity, solidarity, resilience, and many others.
The other strengths of this film are the folkloric and youth festivals in Europe and the interactions between the group and the local culture. This film will show the greatness and festivity of the festivals in Scotland, Czech Rep. and Poland, where the group performed music and dance along with the groups from many different countries. In this film, we will also raise a sub-theme about the friendship between two nations, that is, when the group stayed with the French families in Vert-le-Petit, a small town in the suburb of Paris. Communication and cultural gap will become a flavour of this friendship theme.
When we are talking about Europe, we are not exposing mainstream European landmarks like the Eiffel tower, the Louvre Museum, or the Big Ben, which have been exposed pretty often in the other films, but we will capture Europe from a different angle, such as the traditional country side life of French families in Vert-le-Petit, the beauty of Victorian era granite buildings in Aberdeen, and the beautiful landscape of Mount Tatras in Zakopane along with its traditional highland culture.
Hence, this film will not only become a very important part of a diplomatic process promoting Indonesian culture, but also it will promote the message of friendship between nations. If this film succeeds in the international level, it will not only lift Bandung, West Java and Indonesia, but also the festivals and the cities that are part of this film. However, above all, this film should be able to inspire young generations about the power of belief, struggle, and surrender, and make them believe that nothing is impossible!
Maulana M. Syuhada
Team leader, board of producers
Maulana M. Syuhada holds a PhD degree in Management Science from Lancaster University, UK. His passion in arts, music, and culture, has led him to engage in many activities that promote Indonesian arts and culture. He co-founded some traditional music groups, such as Angklung Hamburg Orchestra (2002), Sabilulungan (2003), Lancaster Angklung Orchestra (2009), and Angklung Manchester (2012). He is the author of "40 Days in Europe" (2007), a memoir about his experience leading an angklung group (KPA 3) in a seemingly "impossible journey" across Europe for 40 days. The group won 1st place for group of musician category and audience award in 2004 Highland Folklore Festival in Zakopane, Poland, and Best Group of the festival and 1st prize in audience competition in 50th International Folklore Festival in Cerveny Kostelec, Czech Republic. This film is adapted from his book. Maulana received his BEng in Industrial Engineering from Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) and MSc in International Production Management from Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH), Germany.
Adi Panuntun is an entrepreneur and designer that has won numerous international awards, the founder and creative head of Sembilan Matahari. He is known as the pioneer of video mapping in Indonesia after Fatahillah video mapping show in 2010. He received his BA from Faculty of Arts and Design, ITB and MA from Northumbria University, Newscastle, UK. Upon his return from the UK, he has been developing a new approach of filmmaking by integrating technology-art through an emotionally engaging experience. One of his video mapping art installations, “Constellation Neverland”, was selected and exhibited in various renowned international festivals. He won the first prize in international festival in Japan (Zushi Media Art Festival 2012) and Russia (Circle of Light 2014)
Mochamad Achir is a news anchor and producer of LIPUTAN 6 SCTV, a leading daily news programme in Indonesia. He has been working with SCTV for ten years since he won runner up at National News Presenter Competition in 2004. He then held a post as SCTV political correspondent at presidential palace for five years where he travelled to many countries covering some important events such as OIC, APEC and G20 summit, to name a few. Besides daily news, he also produces some other SCTV news programmes, including talk show "Indonesia Baru bersama Slank", 2014 National Election coverage, travelling programme "Ngubek-ngubek", and many others. Story telling has been his passion since he was at university where he produced his first documentary film, "Gerbang yang Hilang". Achir holds a BA in International Relations from Padjadjaran University and a BSc in Mathematics from ITB.
Sony Budi Sasono is known as a filmmaker who started his career in 2007 making documentary, corporate videos, and shorts as he established Sembilan Matahari together with his brother Adi Panuntun. His debut in feature film was "cin(T)a" (2009) as producer and cinematographer. He produced, wrote, and directed a documentary of video mapping shows performed by Sembilan Matahari, "Blending The Boundaries" in 2013. His professional work as cinematographer continued in 2013 for "Selamat Pagi, Malam", produced by Kepompong Gendut. He is also the creator of Naaradewa (2014), a fantasy story for video mapping show on Gedung Sate facade, making it a new genre in video mapping. Sony received his BSc from Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, ITB. His passion in film has brought him to explore the film industry with the spirit of entrepreneurship. In 2014, he established S/VFX, a visual effect studio based in Bandung. This film is his feature film directional debut.
Dini A. Murdeani was an active member of Students Film League during her undergraduate study in ITB. After finishing her Master Degree in Business Administration, she followed her passion in film and joined the team of cin(T)a as promotion manager in 2009. The film was a success. She is now the producer for Sony Budi Sasono, her husband.
Sembilan Matahari is a cross-disciplined studio founded back in 2007. Based in Bandung, the capital city of West Java, where many creative industry enthusiasts have successfully arise from Indonesia. Different from other studios, Sembilan Matahari does not only serve as production house. The team of Sembilan Matahari consists of animators, VFX artists, architect, programmers, scientist, engineers, musicians, sound designer, illustrators, graphic and user interface designers, writer, art director, and filmmakers. Its focus and main interest lay on cross disciplines designs, film, and creative coding expertise. Sembilan Matahari collaborates with amazing talents around the globe coming from various backgrounds to create bold, innovative, experiential, and inspiring works that made up not only the commercial portfolio but also our international award-winning portfolio. Recently, Sembilan Matahari's work on video mapping won the first prize in Zushi Media Art Festival (Japan, 2012) and Circle of Light Festival (Moscow, 2014).
The filming process will take place in seven countries, Indonesia, Germany, Belgium, France, Scotland, Czech Rep., and Poland. The production cost of this film is around USD 850,000 (Rp. 10 milyar). We expect 10% of it is funded by this crowdfunding, and the rest 90% by investors and sponsors. Ideally, this film is 100% funded by crowdfunding. However, we are trying to set a realistic target. For your information, Indiegogo will cut 9% of the fund if we don't reach the target (instead of of 4%). The biggest “crowd funded” Indonesian film is Atambua 39' Celcius (Mira Lesmana and Riri Riza) raising up to 26,000 USD (Rp 312 juta). So, don't stop your support even though we've reached the 10% target. The more money we get from crowdfunding, the less burden for us to seek investors and sponsors.
The idea to put this project at Indiegogo is not only to get fund from people, but also to make the public aware about our project, so they can help to connect us with some investors (government/companies/individuals) who find this film is important (to promote Indonesian culture and inspire young generations) and are willing to invest their money. So, we also need your help to share this link to some potential sponsors and investors.
We are aware that USD 850,000 is a huge amount of money. However, the journey ten years ago makes us believe that nothing is impossible, and that is exactly the message that we want to spread through this film. So, the filmmaking process itself is a challenge for us to prove the film premise, “Nothing is impossible”. However, we can't work alone, so your help is vital for us!
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