A Journey into the Past and the Future – Arifin Putra talks about his journey into showbiz, his thoughts about the industry and his upcoming projects with DAMAN’s Riga Ramadhan
This year alone, German – born actor Arifin Putra is headlining three major motion picture titles. He’s also scheduled to appear in at least one more that doesn’t have an official release date yet, which means that not long from now he’ll have more than 12 credited roles to his name. “In the second half of 2019, I have two movies that will be playing in theaters,” he happily explains, opening the conversation. “One of them is titled ‘Twivortiare.’ This movie tells the story about a couple who were already married, got divorced and then will re-marry again. But there’s a twist that I don’t want to spoil. Meanwhile, for the second one, I still can’t tell you much about it. One thing that I can tell that it was from a novel by Tere Liye called ‘Rembulan Tenggelam di Wajahmu.’ It’s about a man’s journey, religiously speaking.”
Speaking about journeys, looking back to the start, Arifin Putra was born Putra Arifin Scheunemann in Mainz, Germany, before moving to Indonesia at the tender age of three. His father, Axel Werner Andreas Scheunemann, was a gardener turned exporter of dried flowers and landscaping expert in Jakarta. His mother, Joyce Sunandar, was a housewife turned catering business entrepreneur.
As stated in his own personal website, from a very young age Putra already showed signs of interest in the acting world, playing out scenes from movies he had seen on television and putting on shows for his mother and sister. But his parents’ divorce took a toll on young Putra and turned him into a shy and reclusive person. He continued to love acting and played in a number of plays at the German International School he attended in Indonesia. His sister Sari played a big role in bringing Putra’s charm and happier personality back on track, just in time for a cover boy competition held by a well-known teen magazine in 2000 and a music program host competition famously known as MTV VJ Hunt, back around 2003.
His big break came in 2004 through a national TV series dubbed “Kisah Kasih di Sekolah” (High School Love Story). His sudden fame motivated him to enroll in a professional acting class at Sakti Aktor Studio. He honed his skills for one and a half years, performing plays primarily in English, while acting in Bahasa indonesia on screen. Long story short, after a seven-year TV career, young Putra had his film debut in a romantic comedy called “Lost in Love.” In his second movie, “Macabre,” Putra played the role of Adam, a psychopathic cold-blooded killer and cannibal. He caught the attention of avid moviegoers and film critics. He was awarded with several prestigious nominations and awards for the role.
A choosy actor when it comes to movies, Putra always wants to challenge himself and step out of his comfort zone with every role he takes on. His movie “The Raid 2: Berandal” is proof of that. He was first offered the role back in 2009, but due to financing issues the movie was delayed and he had to wait until 2012 for the movie to start production and finally make its way to cinemas in 2014. His role as Uco, an overambitious son of Jakarta’s most notorious mob boss has caught the attention of movie fans and critics alike.
In short, Putra won the Indonesian Movie Awards and Piala Maya Awards in the category of Best Supporting Role, respectively, for his portrayal of Uco. Since then Putra has played in various movies like “Negeri van Oranje,” “Sabtu Bersama Bapak,” and “The Professionals.” He also collaborated with HBO Asia on its first original TV Series dubbed “Halfworlds.”
After all of these different roles, it would, of course, be quite interesting to see what kind of roles that he would like take on next if the opportunity should arise. “I want to be an astronaut. That’s my dream role,” says Putra with a chuckle. “I was blown away by the universe. If I have the chance to do it, that would be awesome. Even though it’s just a role, still, I will be able to say that I’m the first Indonesian astronaut ever.”
Changes in the local film industry is another issue that has pulled his attention, as he acknowledges that right now, the industry has transformed quite a bit. “Several years ago, I think from 2000 until 2016, our movie industry is still a ‘home industry.’ Where there’s this producer from a certain production house, then he or she has to look for stories, and then search for a director, find an investor, shoot, and then distribute the movie when it’s finished. Five jobs handled by one person, a one-man army if I can say,” Putra passionately explains. “But after that, there’s a new trend. Our ‘home industry’ is slowly changing into a Hollywood-kind of business. This means that the one-man army that I stated earlier is gone. Now, the movie studio assigns a production house to find a new story, or director
and so on. If they like it, they will say ‘Ok, we will invest, but at a certain quality.’ After that, they’re the ones that will handle the post-production, distribution process, and promotion. To top it off, they also already have a formula to sell their movies. in short, our industry is getting better and better.”
“Regeneration is also an important thing for our industry” he enthuses. “I hope that for our local movie industry, moving forward, there will be new filmmakers with new stories, new directors, writers and line producers as well. Because, as it currently stands, we are still kind of lacking in the regeneration part, and also we have to create a standard about this too.”
As the interview approaches its end and the questions turned towards more personal matters, the actor appeared very excited when I started asking him about his works outside the movie industry. “well, right now, I’m going to college, studying about business management,” he passionately elaborates. “This is just a promise to myself that I made a couple of years ago, that I have to go to college and finish my studies. This is for my future.”
Slipping out of his shorts and cozy sandals into a suit for the photoshoot, the talented actor is more than ready for the next part of his life. Once the photoshoot was done, Putra casually adds: “Aside to that, I’ll also take a project with the WWF as a Forest Warrior. But that’s all I can say right now since it’s not official yet. I will tell you more later when we meet again.”
From overcoming his shyness, studying business management for the first time to the spirit that guided him into becoming a Forest Warrior, there is nothing the award-winning Indonesian actor won’t do in order to improve for his future. All in all, it is certainly clear that we’re still far away from seeing the final chapters of Putra’s career in this country.
Photography Andre Wiredja
Styling Anindya Devy
Styling Assistant Jerdi Anarchi
Location Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Jakarta, Hermes
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