MD Collaborates with Lionsgate for Dancing Village: The Curse Begins Movie, Manoj Punjabi: This Is Only the Beginning!

Mar 26, 2024

Watch the first look of Badarawuhi di Desa Penari here.


This is the official trailer of Badarawuhi in Penari Village (Dancing Village: The Curse Begins. Dare to watch?


Jakarta, March 14, 2024—The Press Announcement for the film Badarawuhi in Penari Village (Dancing Village: The Curse Begins) was held at MD Place building, South Jakarta, attended by members of the media, producers, cast, directors, and special guests from Lionsgate. During the event, it was announced that MD Pictures will collaborate with Lionsgate, one of the production and distribution studios based in America, to distribute the film Badarawuhi in Penari Village internationally.


This collaboration marks a significant achievement for MD Pictures, considering that MD Pictures has previously produced the highest-grossing film of all time, KKN in Penari Village—now making the film Badarawuhi in Penari Village go international again after being announced as “the first Southeast Asia movie that is filmed for IMAX.”


Alongside Lionsgate, the film will not only be screened in America, but also in ASEAN countries, Australia, and many more.


Read also: MD Pictures Partners with Lionsgate to Distribute Badarawuhi di Desa Penari (Dancing Village: The Curse Begins)


Lionsgate is the largest film distribution company that has distributed various box office hits. The opportunity for MD Pictures to collaborate with Lionsgate for the distribution of the film Badarawuhi in Penari Village is expected to make new history in the Indonesian film industry and introduce Indonesian culture to the world.


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Additionally, two members of the Lionsgate team, Geobert Abboud (Executive Vice President, Global Distribution) and Adam Sorensen (Vice President, Global Distribution), also participated in the Badarawuhi in Penari Village Press Announcement event via online call.


Their virtual presence shed light on the process of initiating the collaboration with MD Pictures and their keen interest in the film Badarawuhi in Penari Village; a film that vividly portrays Indonesian culture.


Dancing Village: The Curse Begins Will be Distributed by Lionsgate and Will be Aired in Multiple Countries, Manoj Punjabi Claims This Is Only the Beginning

dancing village: the curse begins md pictures


In Indonesia, Badarawuhi in Penari Village (Dancing Village: The Curse Begins) officially premiered in all theaters nationwide on April 10, 2024, coinciding with Eid al-Fitr, while the screening schedule in America and other countries has yet to be officially confirmed. However, Manoj Punjabi, CEO & Founder of MD Entertainment and producer of Badarawuhi in Penari Village, ensured that the Gala Premiere event in America will take place on April 4, 2024.


dancing village: the curse begins md pictures


Manoj Punjabi also kicked off the Badarawuhi in Penari Village Press Announcement event with excitement, expressing his delight about the collaboration with Lionsgate and the distribution of the film both in America and internationally.


Geobert Abboud (Executive Vice President, Global Distribution—Lionsgate Motion Picture Group) stated, “I had the pleasure to get to know Manoj last year and knowing what MD Pictures has been doing in the past. It’s clear that the Indonesian filming industry has been developing and making an impact on the international community.”


Adam Sorensen (Vice President, Global Distribution—Lionsgate Motion Picture Group) added, “We’re thrilled for Lionsgate to be a part of Badarawuhi, with KKN, Manoj, and talented team in creating true phenomenon into a film.”


From these statements, it can be concluded that horror films are popular among audiences in America, so the collaboration with MD Pictures to distribute Badarawuhi in Penari Village (Dancing Village: The Curse Begins) aims not only to attract horror fans in Indonesia but also in America. In other words, Badarawuhi in Penari Village (Dancing Village: The Curse Begins) is going to be among the various Lionsgate horror movies!


Q&A Media regarding the Collaboration between MD Pictures and Lionsgate to Distribute the Film Badarawuhi in Penari Village (Dancing Village: The Curse Begins)

dancing village: the curse begins md pictures


Question 1:

Why did Lionsgate choose to distribute Badarawuhi in Penari Village? Were there other factors influencing this decision, such as Indonesian culture, for example?


Geobert Abboud: “Absolutely. I think we have an amazing film acquisition. We’re always in search of something new that would have an impact. We’re just very impressed by Indonesian film and its culture; we’re also excited.”


Manoj Punjabi: “I really didn’t just want to release the film in America but to get a distribution partner—someone that is very important. This film needs that opportunity so that we can reflect Indonesian films, especially horror films that are easily accepted by others. The strategy is right, and I didn’t want to hold back. Look, we’ve got Lionsgate as a distribution partner, and in America, it’s going to be released in the largest cinema network there. We’re bringing 35 people; directors, cast, crew from MD to showcase this film to American guests. We’re going all out as much as possible. And the screening in America will also be in IMAX, so people can have a better experience. The Gala Premiere Red Carpet will happen in just one day. Then, the film will be released a week after its official release in Indonesia.”


Question 2:

How was the initial process of this collaboration formed?


Manoj Punjabi: “I’ve had a vision for more than ten years, when films worthy of release have global partners. How can we bring the Indonesian flag to America and start this relationship? Hopefully, not just one company, but more to come. Indeed, there were several offers to go to America, but when talking to Lionsgate, I already knew them in 2022, but in 2021 when I talked to Geobert, it was interesting because he has the expertise to search for more specific films. He has some eyes, must find films that have potential. And the Lionsgate brand for me, wow, that’s not wrong. People involved in Lionsgate are also huge, there are over 1,200 employees. So, there is a huge operation there. When we said the film’s director is Kimo Stamboel, they immediately knew, so that’s a plus one. Because in America, who’s behind every work is very important, track record, and so on. When I went there, I showed them a five-minute sequence zero from Badarawuhi in Penari Village, they said they were confident to collaborate.”


Manoj Punjabi also added that he intended to showcase Indonesian culture in relation to the film Badarawuhi in Penari Village, which is rich in Javanese culture—such as gamelan and others. “This film hopefully can be a tool for us to promote. Maybe it’s still very much baby steps, but this is a very important beginning for Indonesia,” said Manoj Punjabi.


Question 3:

How do Kimo Stamboel and the cast feel knowing that the film Badarawuhi in Penari Village will be distributed to America and other countries worldwide?


Kimo Stamboel: “Of course, I’m happy, yes, it’s the first time our film is distributed theatrically to the world in North America. I am proud and tense at the same time about how they will react to seeing the story of Badarawuhi in Penari Village, which is full of our culture and very reflective of its Indonesian essence. Hopefully, this can entertain them and make them aware that Indonesia is rich in such horror stories. And in the future, we can establish further collaborations and have it watched more widely theatrically there because the experience is very different.”


Aulia Sarah: “Very grateful, and I’m also excited. Finally, Indonesian films can go international. Thank God. And from the film Badarawuhi in Penari Village, I can’t wait to go there (America) together to promote this film. Hopefully, this film can entertain not only Indonesian people but also give us the opportunity to entertain people in the US.”


Maudy Effrosina: “Definitely proud, very happy. There’s a lot of excitement and nervousness. Hopefully, Indonesian culture can be more known and accepted there.”


Ardit Erwandha: “Honestly proud, yes, because maybe it’s America now, but next, we can get more countries. But for MD, nothing is impossible, right?”


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Question 4:

How did the collaboration process with Lionsgate begin? Was there a pitching from MD Pictures beforehand? Also, did Manoj Punjabi involve ambassadors or American cultural figures to showcase Indonesian culture?


Manoj Punjabi: “Many people want to break into America, so it’s not as simple as that. It’s like introduction, journey, the belief that MD’s products are not just ordinary. They (Lionsgate) studied all their history, and to get Lionsgate, it’s like a chemistry of fate; it clicked. And in some sessions, I had to be very sure that this film deserves the right exposure. When I talk to Koreans in America, Indonesia is like South Korea ten or twelve years ago. So if we keep promoting films and making good products, then awareness will happen. I would say Goubert believes that he can do it. Ten Lionsgate people watched a five-minute sequence from Badarawuhi in Penari Village, they were excited and ready. I also met the Foreign Minister, Mrs. Retno, asking for help on how we can promote our culture. At least the diaspora in America knows that. We’re currently trying to socialize and as Goubert said, we want the locals too. So we also want to promote it by word of mouth. I am quite optimistic and confident that they can produce it with maximum results.”


Question 5:

How many times have Goubert Abboud and Manoj Punjabi worked with external parties for the international distribution of films?


Goubert Abboud: “Yes, it’s my first time working with an Indonesian filmmaker, but I hope this is gonna be the first of many to come.”


Manoj Punjabi: “This is also the first time collaborating with an American company. This (Lionsgate) is a big company, not just any. It’s not easy to break through with Lionsgate either because I’ve approached them 50 times, but the match was only with Lionsgate. So it’s not easy. This process doesn’t use money, but belief. It’s a slow process but very important, and interestingly, we’re publishing in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, all are still in process too. And in some countries, we’re also screening in IMAX. This is related to which work can generate box office. So, each country adjusts its screening. We want worldwide exposure, that’s why, and the relationship between MD and Lionsgate, this is only the beginning.”


Goubert Abboud: “Some countries like in the Middle East, India, Pakistan, even Hong Kong are in the works. We’re having conversations with Australia and the Netherlands.”


Question 6:

What is Manoj Punjabi’s response to knowing that the film Badarawuhi in Penari Village will compete with the film Siksa Kubur directed by Joko Anwar—having the same release schedule? What is your strategy to ensure Badarawuhi in Penari Village remains popular?


Manoj Punjabi: “I’m never really threatened by competition. Honestly i feel like some competition actually drives us to be more smart and brave in our efforts to ensure this movie reaches its full potential. When KKN hit the theaters in 2022, we weren’t scared of Doctor Strange. what’s truly important is the fact that we have a solid strategy that works for us. I know that Lebaran is a golden date and it seems that there are no Western movies that will be airing at the same time. Quite frankly, I don’t believe indonesia has enough screens to also accommodate a Western movie. I’m actually quite happy to see that Indonesian exhibitors are releasing two top Indonesian movies during this time period. If both movies do good, I don’t see anything bad about that. My strategy is also to bring it to the United States, the Global stage—so it’s not really competition. This has been my vision for a while. Since the very start, I’ve read the script, and exclaimed to Lionsgate that if this film isn’t ‘good’ then I wouldn’t be airing it. But thank God because of our director, Kimo Stamboel, has made me calm. I am ready to produce this film to ensure that Indonesian films become a priority in its own country—not Western films. I want both films to be successful.”


dancing village: the curse begins md pictures


Question 7:

Are there any differences in the character of Badarawuhi between the film KKN in Penari Village and Badarawuhi in Penari Village?


Aulia Sarah: “There are very significant differences. Here, the character of Badarawuhi is more upgraded, stronger. Because if people observe from the trailer, Badarawuhi looks different from KKN in Penari Village. Here, she is not just a beautiful dancer, but there is a terrifying side, even darker. And I am quite confident that the audience will like the character of Badarawuhi here.”


Seen from the promotional aspect, MD Pictures is very aggressive in trying to introduce Indonesian culture and original works to the world. One of the bridges that has been built is establishing international film distribution connections with Lionsgate.


Moreover, looking at the story elements, this film is very suitable for horror enthusiasts as well because it is closely related to Indonesian culture, especially Javanese. Even compared to the film KKN in Penari Village, the actress portraying Badarawuhi in Badarawuhi in Penari Village, Aulia Sarah, stated that her character is depicted as darker and more terrifying.


dancing village: the curse begins md pictures


Badarawuhi in Penari Village is ready to premiere during Eid 2024 in all cinemas in Indonesia! Watch this film with your loved ones. Not only that, thanks to the collaboration with Lionsgate, this film will also be screened in America and other countries worldwide after its official release in Indonesia.


Moreover, listen to the original soundtrack of Badarawuhi in Penari Village, ‘Dawuh’ sung by Madukina and Matoha Mino on all digital streaming platforms. And don’t forget to follow MD Pictures’ social media accounts to stay updated on the latest news about MD’s newest films!


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