Rocky (1976): “..I ask film investors, are you ready to lose your money?..”


Photo credits: © 2020 Feargal Agard | HoFA

“Rocky Balboa films inspired me to make movies. It started with the first Rocky (1976) film, directed by John G. Avildsen. It’s about a boxer played by Sylvester Stalone who gets the opportunity to participate in the world heavyweight championship. I find it hard to explain in-depth but it made me feel that I can change people’s lives simply because for me that is the ultimate film that pushed me to make movies. Seeing Rocky Balboa getting to new heights in the film made me feel like I can do anything I want. There is was so much effort placed in the sort of character that he represents. Even though narratively it’s a more standard Hollywood formula the impact was humongous. I have been making films since I was 19 years old and I only aspire to make films that make an impact. I want my films to say something which is why I make films on my own pace. In the Indonesian film industry, they make so many films a year. With some films, they even know the release date before they even developed it, because they treat it like a process line. There can be two reasons for that. First, when filmmakers were making films mostly on celluloid film which is more costly there was a lot more development before they shoot. Now that most filmmakers are filming completely digitally they can skip development. Besides that, there is a small box office for some of the films released in Indonesia. So in order to make more money back within a year, they need to make a lot more films. It’s a fastmoving business. But that’s a path I chose not to follow. Every time I meet new investors who want to invest in a film I ask, are you ready to lose your money?” Because I want them to work with me and not just with the project. But more often it goes the other way around and that causes some talented filmmakers to make films that need more depth. That is why I have a mobile filmmaking lab because I want to support young filmmakers who are technically good, but they are missing proper development. Doing this, I hope to create the same impact that Rocky Balboa films did with me.” – Putrama Tuta

Film director of A Man Called Ahok (2018) Dutch premiere at CinemAsia

Photo and story by Feargal Agard.