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Interview with Malea Emma, ​​child actress in After Yang

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After Yang’s film premiered at the world’s largest and most prestigious film festival, Cannes Film Festival in July 2021, and was screened again at the Sundance Film Festival in January this year.

CANNES, FRANCE – JULY 08: Director Kogonada, Jodie Turner-Smith, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja – Haley Lu Richardson film “After Yang” photocall during the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival on July 08, 2021 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

The following is an introduction to Malea , to readers and viewers in Indonesia. Cinemags represented by Nuty Laraswaty and the following is a summary.

Cinemags : Hi Mala. Can you tell about yourself?

Malea Emma :

Hi, my name is Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja but I’m just called Malea. I live in Los Angeles, USA and I am 10 years old. Now I’m in 5th grade at Mandarin Immersion School in LA so at school I use 2 languages, English and Mandarin.

Male After Yang
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – FEBRUARY 28: (LR) Colin Farrell, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, Sarita Choudhury, and Director Kogonada attends the “After Yang” New York Screening at Village East Cinema on February 28, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Cinemags : What attracted you to the world of film?

Malea Emma :

First of all, I really like singing. In my opinion, singing is similar to acting because we have to be able to become characters in the songs we sing.

So after seeing that I like to sing, my papa and mama submitted me to the agency to start auditioning for acting. At first, it wasn’t directly for film acting, but for advertisements. Just keep on auditioning for acting in TV series and movies.

My first acting job was for a Jeep commercial. After that I’ve starred in many commercials such as Lenovo, Khiel’s, Uber, and others, the most recent one being the commercial for Lay’s that aired at the Super Bowl game last month. As for acting on TV, I’ve guested a few times in the film series Raven’s Home and Coop And Cami’s Ask The World on Disney Channel and Disney Plus as well as in the iCarly series which is currently airing on Paramount Plus.

For feature films, After Yang is the first feature film for me. I really like acting because I can play a variety of characters and the process of making films is very interesting for me. Not to mention that when I’m shooting, I can meet the movie stars I like. It’s really nice to meet movie stars that we could only see on TV or cinema. I can also learn a lot from them.

Cinemags: Can you tell me what are the challenges you feel while acting in films?

Malea Emma :

There aren’t that many challenges in acting. At least how do I get my acting to match what the director wants. For example, for Disney films, the acting must be more energetic, but for films like After Yang, it must be more grounded. Maybe it’s more of a challenge because here it’s difficult for us Asians to be able to act in Hollywood. There are not many roles given to Asians. Hopefully, in the long run, there will be more roles for Asians in this Hollywood film.

after Yang cinemags
Cinemags: Can you tell us about your involvement in After Yang?

Malea Emma :

So initially After Yang’s director, Kogonada, saw the video of me singing National Anthem at the LA Galaxy game which was going viral at the time. Then he contacted my agent to make me audition for the film After Yang. So I went to audition. After the audition, Kogonada wanted to meet me and my family, so we chatted with him. After a while, I got on the phone with Kogonada telling me that I got the role. It’s really nice. After that I was told to meet with Justin Min, who became Yang, so we can talk first. Only then did I go to New York to meet Colin Farrell before shooting.

After Yang cinemags

Cinemags :In After Yang, was there a scene that you really liked?

Mala Emma:

There are 2 scenes that I really like in After Yang. The first, with a dance competition. This is great. We have to learn the dance first and then the shooting must be repeated many times until we are all tired. We even had to shoot for this dance scene for up to 2 days because it was in a different location. That’s great. The second is the last scene where I say good bye to Yang who uses Mandarin and I sing the song Yang taught me. This scene is so sad.

Aktor cilik Indonesia, Malea Emma, membintangi film Hollywood “After Yang”

Cinemas :

Do you have a message for your friends who want to be in movies too?

Malea Emma : My message if you really like acting or singing or whatever, don’t ever give up, don’t give up. You have to keep trying, keep practicing and have patience.

Malea in Cannes Film Festival
Malea in Cannes Film Festival
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