January 2012


Cultural Glitch: Hiza Ro, Animation Community Captain

Blender is a local online community dedicated to documenting the ever-increasing number of talents in the local animation scene. We spoke to co-founder Hiza Ro, a dedicated animation buff who is also known as “Captain Blender,” about the trials and challenges faced by animators in Indonesia. 

How far has the culture of animation developed in Indonesia?

The culture of animation in Indonesia is, I think, getting better and experiencing significant growth. Modern [animation] hardware and software are also resulting in increasingly sophisticated animations. Although the influence of Japanese and American animation is still prevalent, I'm certain that one day characteristically Indonesia animation will be created. And yes, it will be a long process that requires the support of the government.

How are our local animators faring globally?

Our local animators and many others from Southeast Asia are now inviting the interest of many international animation studios. There is just an abundance of talents, who gather as online communities, producing healthy competition and quality work.

Who and what are some of our standout animators and animations? 

The answer to that would be subjective. In general, there are a lot of talented animators in Indonesia, but their performances still have a lot to do with their team. These last five years, the best work seems to have come out of the television advertising field, although there are also a few short- and long-form animated films starting to crop up.

Are there certain uniquely Indonesian traits that you’ve seen pop up in local animations?

In general, Indonesia's cultural diversity is very influential in the creation of the characters and stories. Although it has yet to settle on any specific form, slowly but surely Indonesian animators are getting richer in their variable stories and design.

What are the challenges faced by local animators?

There is still a lack of quality education regarding the professional production process. Animation is part of the [entertainment] industry, and we need to learn about competing, especially globally. There is still a struggle in the production, legal, promotional and marketing side of the industry, which has not been explored properly. Many of our animators are working as freelancers for various overseas companies, because in our own country, animators are still regarded as ‘cheap’ in value.

What kind of things can we achieve through animation, if it is taken more seriously?

A lot can be achieved if the industry is taken seriously. Some of the more serious animation studios here, in fact, have worked on a variety of local and internationally produced series. In the future, I think we can expect an improvement in the field of television commercials, visual architecture and games.