'Battle of Surabaya' the movie

Published: Jakarta Post, Sun, November 10 2013, 11:50 AM 

The Battle of Surabaya back in 1945 has inspired the MSV production house to produce a 2D animated movie that follows the adventure of a 13-year-old shoe shiner, Musa, who sacrifices everything to help the freedom fighters.

In the movie, titled Battle of Surabaya, Musa serves as a courier, assigned to deliver secret messages on tactics and strategy during the battle, which broke out on Nov. 10, 1945. Along the way, the boy has to overcome many problems and ordeals to complete his missions.

“Physically, he is just a teenager, but he is a hero at heart,” says Mohammad Suyanto, the film’s producer and one of the scriptwriters.

He said the animated movie carried the message of peace and humanism as evident in its tagline: “There is no glory in war.”

“War only brings loss and suffering, no matter what. So, a true victory is when we are able to defeat our own ego and fears,” Suyanto said.

Being an Indonesian, he is personally proud of the heroic actions by the freedom fighters in defending Indonesian independence.

The Battle of Surabaya was a great shock to Dutch and Allied forces, so much so that they opted for diplomacy rather than facing more guerrilla war, he added.

“Our fighters were not professional soldiers. They were only young people who loved their nation. But they had to fight the Allies — the winners of the World War II; and they were not afraid,” says Suyanto.

The script for the film was written in November last year and the production began early this year. The film is set for an April 2014 premiere.

One of the film’s scriptwriters, Aryanto, reveals that the film’s storyline touches on the inner conflict and psychological journey faced by the leading character, including how he grows up during those difficult times.

Although the film is developed with a Hollywood twist, he said it still had strong local values.

“We also did research to maintain its accuracy. We visited historical sites in Surabaya and interviewed veterans and eye witnesses,” Aryanto says.

The film’s trailer has even won several awards, such as the INAICA 2012 award given by the Communications and Information Ministry for creative and innovative information technology.

Currently, it is part of the International Movie Trailer Festival 2013, an online festival held by the IndieFilmConnect, LLC in California which aims to connect indie filmmakers with their fans.

Suyanto said the voting for the People’s Choice Award will end on Dec. 20 this year.

“So far, we’ve already garnered most of the votes in the animation category. We still have to wait for the result, but we are optimistic,” he says.

Overall, Aryanto said the film aimed to convey a message of peace, humanity and heroism to people through Musa’s inner journey.

“We want to show that each individual has a chance to grow up in their own way to be a better person,” he says. “That every person has the chance to become a hero.” 

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