Interview with Filmmaker Joan Dwiartanto (CRYING ON THE ISLAND THEY OWN)

CRYING ON THE ISLAND THEY OWN was the winner of BEST FILM at the March 2022 Dance Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

The location of the first scene in the film was actually a huge part of what inspired the film. I was in that area helping Holden, one of the cast members, film a small dance film for him at a location in Far Rockaway. We walked past this field and there was just an idea in my head for an interesting visual. I thought it would be cool to have a really rich, extravagant looking dinner table set up in the middle of the field. And from there sparked the idea of how it could represent a wealthy bubble of people so far removed from the outside world and reality outside of their wealth.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

I had the idea to really make this happen literally on New Years day of 2021. And started conceptualising and figuring out who I felt comfortable working with to make this happen. And then the real final edit of the film was done February 5, 2022. So it was a little more than a year in the making.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Presentational and hungry.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

As with any film there were a lot of obstacles, with time and money. But thinking back, I definitely think that the biggest obstacle was finding the right pacing for the film in editing. I was sitting there editing it alone in my room in quarantine driving myself crazy.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I was honestly just really happy and relieved that the concept of the film read. Its always a thing with dance is that a lot of the time what you see and what you get from seeing movement can be so different

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I realized about 2 years ago, when I was still just playing around with my phone camera and iMovie that I felt a lot of freedom and comfort in making dance for film. So I just wanted to keep learning and exploring what dance film was for me.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

I think I have consciously watched Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki the most. I have watched almost all of his works during his time at Studio Ghibli but it always comes back to Spirited Away. It is no wonder that its one of his most popular works.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Honestly, my experience so far has been amazing. I really appreciate the feedback video, it feels really surreal to know that people I have never met watched and liked something I made. It would be really great thought, if I could actually communicate or talk with some of them. I’d love to talk to more industry people and learn more about the industry and filmmaking in general.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

FilmFreeway is honestly so convenient. I enjoyed how easy it was to submit to multiple festivals, and for me to look for festivals too.

10. What is your favorite meal?

I love Japanese food, so I would say Pork Katsudon. Its a deep fried panko crusted pork cutlet usually served with rice and some cabbage. But honestly it hits the spot every time. You add some miso soup and a creamy sesame salad, its a perfectly balanced comfort meal.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

I do know I graduate, and I know I want to keep making films. But I still have to figure out the how. Ideally after I graduate, I am able to dance professionally and keep making films on the side.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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