Here is a conversation with the creator of Button Ijo: Amir Pohan. He is a filmmaker and founder looking to showcase Indonesian filmmaking talent to the world with this VOD portal. It’s built on Dynamo.
BTBO: What’s your role at Button Ijo? Can you talk a little bit about your background as it relates to film?
AP: I’m the founder/CEO/Director/Head Honcho at ButtonIjo. I am a filmmaker. I studied at New York Film Academy and got my degree from Columbia College Chicago. I am now making films and documentaries in Jakarta, Indonesia. I’ve made some documentaries as a producer, co-director, director and as an editor. Some examples are The Jak, on which I was the co-director and editor, it was shown at the Durban International Film Festival, South Africa in 2004 I believe. It also played in Rotterdam if I’m not mistaken. After that I was the executive producer for another documentary, The Conductors, which won the Best Feature Documentary at The Indonesian Film Festival [FFI] in 2008. These two movies were made under another production company. After I started ButtonIjo I made the documentary Dead Chicken In A Rice Barn, which won the Best feature Documentary award at the Indonesian Film Festival in 2009. this is like the Indonesian Oscars.Now i just finished my first fiction feature film Ennui which will be released in september 2011.
BTBO: What’s the story behind the name?
AP: I originally intended to make buttonijo.com to sell home made t -shirts, hence the “button” in the name, ijo means green in Indonesian slang, so it means “Green Button”. But then I thought, why not sell my films as well…? So now on the site I will sell, not only t-shirts, but also films, music and photos which you can download to buy.
BTBO: How did you decide that there was an audience for VOD in Indonesia?
AP: To be honest I don’t think there is an audience for VOD in Indonesia yet, but at least I am the first one who is offering VOD here. All I have to do is be patient and wait for the internet speed to increase. Internet business wise Indonesia has a very big market, so the opportunity is right there. The reason I decided to make this site is because as an Indonesian filmmaker it is rather difficult to get your movie released in theatres, so this is an alternative for indie filmmakers to have their films distributed if they can’t get their films into the film theatre. Plus it’s cheaper to have your film as a VOD compared to make [sic] DVDs
BTBO: I see you are using Dynamo Player for your site. How did you decide on that player?
AP: I decided on the Dynamo player because it was the only option available for free. Otherwise I would have to custom build the player myself. The one thing I don’t like about this player is that you have to pay before you can see anything. I’d rather have a player where you can see, lets say, 20 to 30 minutes of a program first and then you pay. At least that way people might get hooked on the film and would pay to finish it.
BTBO: What kinds of films are looking to add to your library?
AP: I just finished shooting my first feature fiction film, which i am editing now, and I will add to the library. I also have 2 other documentaries that are almost finished [one is about Dangdut music, the other one about a local musician, Zeke Khaseli] If i can find a way to have people pay to my own PayPal account instead of dynamoplayer’s account I would add other people’s films as well. But for now I can only offer the films that I have made [on buttonijostore.com] on the main website, www.buttonijo.com I will offer not only my own films but other people’s films as well, but just as a digital download. So no VOD on the main buttonijo.com. If you wanna see the streaming videos from the main site it’ll be just a click away.
BTBO: Any closing thoughts?
AP: I just hope that VOD will catch up here in Indonesia so more indie filmmakers can have the opportunity to show their films if they can’t show them in theatres.