Mira Lesmana

Film Producer

Born in 1964 in Jakarta, Indonesia, MIRA LESMANA was the first person who graduated from Jakarta Arts Institute with a degree in Film Producing.  With three fellow filmmakers, Riri Riza, Nan Achnas and Rizal Mantovani, she co-wrote, co-directed and co-produced the anthology film Kuldesak, which became a landmark in Indonesian cinema when it was released in 1998.  At the time, the Indonesian film industry was undergoing a crisis with dwindling movie productions and the New Order regime stifling creativity throughout the nation.  Kuldesak, three years in production and created in guerilla-style filmmaking unfashionable in that era, was a breakthrough, inspiring many young Indonesian filmmakers that the Indonesian cinema could still thrive even under the most suffocating conditions.

With her film company, Miles Productions – later known as Miles Films – Lesmana continued to make her mark by producing two box-office phenomenons, Sherina’sAdventure (2000) and What’s With Love? (2002), which proved that local films, when made really well, could compete and get more audience then Hollywood and imported movies.

Despite her obvious knack for making commercially successful films, Lesmana also spends some of her energy producing smaller, arthouse fare such as Eliana Eliana, 3 Days to Forever and Atambua 39 Celsius. Those 3 films, along with the historical epic Gie, were all produced by her and directed by her constant collaborator, Riri Riza, and have earned numerous international awards and accolades.

The Lesmana-Riza teamwork has recently sustained their reputation as local box-office conquerors with their adaptation of the acclaimed novel The Rainbow Troops (2008). The film was seen by a record-breaking 4,5 million people in less than 4 months after its release, making it one of the most commercially successful Indonesian films of all time.  It was also selected to be screened in the Panorama section of Berlinale 2009.

Most recently, the two collaborators proved their mettle once again in these times of plummeting ticket sales for Indonesian movies.  What’s with Love 2 (2016), released 14 years after the original movie, has easily accumulated 3,6 million audience members to date. Their latest film together is Emma’ (Mother), a feature film shot mainly in Makassar, Sengkang and Pare – pare (South Sulawesi), which has been screened in Vancouver, Busan, Tokyo, Vesoul, Melbourne and Iran. Athirah, the original title of the film, win 6 Awards from the Indonesian Film Festival 2016, including Best Film.

Although she has had a number of box-office hits under her belt, Lesmana stays away from the typical mainstream industry operations. With Miles Films, she dedicates her full time and energy into every single film she makes, resulting in only 1 or 2 films produced by the company every other year.  By keeping this work approach, she is able to maintain her standards and her signature quality on screen, for every movie that comes out of her endeavor is a labor of love.