While Awi Suryadi probably isn’t a name that North American horror fans immediately recognize, it’s a name that you should remember. Suryadi impressed with his debut horror film, BADOET [Reivew], and now he’s preparing to release his highly-anticipated follow up, DANUR, in Indonesian cinemas later this month.

Given Suryadi’s eye for beautifully composed cinema and his ability to achieve his trademark aesthetic on a fairly limited budget, we’re expecting big things not only from DANUR, but from his future career in the genre space as a whole (and we know a thing or two about calling early standouts).

We were lucky enough to catch up with Awi earlier this week to talk about DANUR: I Can See Ghosts. Here’s what he had to say:





The trailer for your first film, Badoet, has received over a million views on Youtube. For those that have seen that film, what sort of similarities are there between it and DANUR?

They are quite different actually. The story is more family-oriented with Danur, and I made a conscious decision to give Danur a more traditional horror take. Similarities with Badoet I’d say both are claustrophobic that they have minimum locations, and children once again are the victims.

Do you prefer to make films that stay in the supernatural realm as opposed to a more visceral take on reality?

It’s not a personal preference. It just so happens local audience here are more attracted to supernatural realm.

In Badoet, you were able to cast Christoffer Nelwan in one of your leading roles, and that seemed to get a lot of people outside of the “horror bubble” interested. This time you cast Prilly Latuconsina as your lead actress. How did you and Prilly become acquainted and when did you know she was the right one for DANUR?

Prilly and I were introduced by the studio. She is a huge tv star and therefore she was one of the very few names that the studio had picked for me to choose as the lead. We talked maybe for about an hour, and I could tell that she is a smart and serious actor; more so than what some people might give her credit for. And having an indigo cousin, the whole idea of having supernatural abilities is not foreign to her. Plus she’s a horror fan herself. I can’t wait for people to see her as Risa in Danur, I think people will be surprised.





DANUR is based on the novel "Gerbang Dialog Danur". Is this a novel that you read and wanted to adapt or was it pitched to you by someone else?

The studio had already acquired the rights of the novel when they got me involved. I was sent the novel before anything else, and I finished reading it in a day. There's no way I would say no to telling a true story of a girl's friendship with five ghosts. 

Speaking of DANUR... what's up with that name? I hear it roughly translates to "corpse juice", and that's awesome... but super gross. Does that translation come into play in the movie itself?

Yes. As told in the novel, the smell of Danur is what Risa detects whenever she sees ghosts.

Many people, myself included, feel like you have an eye that far exceeds your experience in genre film. How important of a role do you feel proper cinematography plays in horror films?

Cinematography (including camera tricks), I feel has the biggest importance in horror films compared to other genres. That's why I spend more time with my cinematographers in horror films compared to my other projects. The shots are more carefully planned and more precise.

What kind of scares can we expect in DANUR and what rating do you expect the film to have when it hits theaters later this month?

Expect all the kinds of scares that you like in a horror film! Even Shareefa Danish was scared to look at herself in the mirror whenever she was in full make-up. As for rating, we haven't submitted to the censor board yet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I don't have to cut anything.





You've been working a bit in the TV space as well. Do you prefer one production process over the other?

Unfortunately, I feel there are too many restrictions in the TV space here. I don't mind the different process. In any production, there's always something new that I learn. But if I had to pick one, I'd pick film projects any time. 

What are the odds that horror fans in North America can enjoy DANUR for themselves in 2017?

I can only say that the studio is currently waiting to hear from a distribution company in the US. Keeping my fingers crossed!

What's next for you?

Next is a biopic on one of the most important figure in child education here in Indonesia. No jump scares here.

You bounce around a lot between genres, which is uncommon for most people that make horror films. Do you feel that gives you an advantage? Do you prefer doing one genre over another?

I do feel that gives me an advantage. Any filmmaking process is a learning experience for me. Any time spent (preferably paid time haha) on a movie set, shooting a movie regardless what genre it is, is an opportunity to broaden my skills as a storyteller.

I do prefer the horror genre over another at the moment. Maybe because it's more universal compared to other genres.

Thanks, Awi! Lastly, I think you have a brand new poster for DANUR to share with us, so let's see it!

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