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Busan: Director Kamila Andini on Balancing Motherhood and Filmmaking

When director Kamila Andini showcased her debut feature, “The Mirror Never Lies,” in Busan in 2011, she already mentioned that her second feature would be a story about children and nature. That story, “The Seen and Unseen, which screens in Busan’s A Window on Asian Cinema, took her six years to make. The filmmaker says that many things have changed in the meantime.

What took you so long to come back with a second full-length feature?

After “The Mirror,” I got married, had two kids and have been raising them. I wish I could find a better reason, but I think every woman-mother filmmaker must know how these things take time. Meanwhile, I managed to release two short films during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It was a “practice” to handle both roles in my life: mother and filmmaker.

How do you feel about coming back to Busan with a new feature film?

Mixed feelings. Of course it feels like going back home and I am excited to be back with a new feature; but at the same time, I am also attending the BIFF in memoriam of a person in Busan who has motivated me through the years to finish this film — the late Kim Ji-seok. That I cannot present this film to him is saddening, but I know for sure that he will always be there in spirit.

Unseen” was workshopped and funded by project markets and grants, and it ended up as a four-nation co-production. Where did this international, yet independent, journey take you?

With “Unseen” I wanted to celebrate independent filmmaking. I wanted freedom to produce, to tell a story, and to explore the idea visually. Also, this four-nation co-production was a new experience. It helped me understand how the international circuit works, and how cinematic diversity can be achieved by partnering; something that is difficult to pursue in Indonesia.

Do you have new projects under way?

Yes, I am currently developing a story about teen marriage in Indonesia. We are still looking for partners to join us, but I hope the process won’t be as long as the previous one.

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