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5 Questions with Director Ryan Wibowo

"I see this hiatus as a good opportunity to make positive changes in the industry."

Ryan Wibowo is a Toronto based writer and director. Originally from Jakarta, Indonesia, Ryan moved to Canada to pursue his passion in filmmaking. Ryan strives to explore every art form along with his southeast asian culture to create a new and original voice in filmmaking.

How do you see the industry in 6 months? Where do you see yourself in 6 months?

RW: I feel that nothing is certain at this point, but the only thing I can be sure of is this: I hope it does not remain as it was. I don't want to see the industry resuming business as usual as if nothing happened. I hope that it has taken this time to answer the questions and fix the problems that it claimed to never have the time and space for. I see this hiatus as a good opportunity to make positive changes in the industry. I hope that it comes back more diverse and equal, more room for new voices, more emphasis on passion and art and less on profit, and more love all around. 

I've taken this time to readjust. In 6 months I'm hoping to work on things that I enjoy and truly believe in. Before all this there was an ulterior motive. Fame and fortune are things we have been taught to strive for, but we forget to be present in the things we do. This time has made me realize that there are things that I genuinely want to say purely because I feel that I need to, not because I want to move myself forward in my career. I think that's more important to me now, because at some point the art got lost in the journey for me. In 6 months I hope to regain that. 

Often positive changes can arise from hardship, What would you like to see come out of 2020?

RW: I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. I believe everything happens for a reason. I would like to see change come out of 2020, it can't all be for nothing. Now that our eyes have been opened to the issues, we can't pretend to not notice. Really terrible things have happened and most of them aren't new. From all the pain and suffering I hope we all can come out with kindness and more understanding. 

What have you been doing to stay creative?

RW: There was definitely a self-induced pressure at the beginning of all this, feeling like I needed to make something, due to all of my new found free time. On the contrary, I couldn't create for the first few months. It wasn’t until I’d given myself space that I started to be creative again. The easiest way back into art was culinary for me during the quarantine. Exploring different cultures and recipes for dinner kept me sane for a while, and trying to remake a lot of my mom's recipes (even to failure most of the time) still filled that void. 

More recently I've started to paint more. I find peace in oil paintings as they take time to create. Then I moved on to writing poetry and songs, played music, and wrote small scripts here and there. I definitely thought I was going to produce more things during this time but now I realize that the space I've given lead to me creating more meaningful things for myself. 

Do you have any upcoming projects?

RW: Porridge had no dialogue other than me cursing at the stove; most of it was narration and music. In fact, I edited the film to a song that I felt suited the film's tone for tempo and then did the soundscape. This process made me realize how much I liked music videos. Since then, I've paired up with a wonderful musician, Marshall Veroni, to create music videos to his amazing songs. Our first one Watercolours came out a couple months ago and we have a lot more planned for his upcoming songs. Other than that, I'm also hoping to produce more short films and longer form projects with my team at Floor Light Films. 

Who is someone who is doing something you love right now and why?

RW: I'm definitely not trying to keep this on theme with the festival but quite honestly, Jon Favreau. Specifically Chef and The Chef Show that followed. It's not really a recent example as the movie came out years ago and the show premiered last year, but I still love them all the same. He just took his love for culinary and made a fantastic film out of it, and to follow it with a show that explores the recipes from the film just really peaks my interest. It's so in line with what I want to do, not limited to food but just exploring other art forms through film. Also seeing the passion he and his mentor Roy Choi has for food always inspires me to create more and learn new things. I've also tried a few of their recipes and they never disappoint, so to create something that people can access, then share and try themselves and have their own experience of it is truly spectacular.

Look out for Ryan Wibowo's "Porridge" this fall at this year's Toronto Food Film Fest. Oct 16-25th, 2020.


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