Buffalo Boys (2018 film)

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Buffalo Boys
Buffalo Boys (2018 film).jpg
Film poster
Directed byMike Wiluan
Screenplay by
  • Rayya Makarim
  • Raymond Lee
Story byMike Wiluan
CinematographyJohn Radel
Edited bySean Albertson
  • Infinite Frameworks
  • Zhao Wei Films
Distributed by
Release date
  • 14 July 2018 (Montreal)
  • 19 July 2018 (Indonesia)
BudgetRp 30 billion (US$2.2 million)[1]

Buffalo Boys is a 2018 Indonesian–Singaporean martial arts western film that premiered at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal on 14 July 2018.[2] It was released in Indonesia on 19 July 2018. It was selected by Singapore as its entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards, but it was not nominated.[3]


Buffalo Boys opens in the American West. Its two protagonists, a pair of brothers named Jamar (Ario Bayu) and Suwo (Yoshi Sudarso), have just finished working with their uncle on the Transcontinental Railroad. While riding a train on their journey back to Indonesia, the pair fight against a band of white gangsters—foreshadowing what’s to come. Upon arriving in Indonesia, Jamar and Suwo get caught up in the struggles of a Javanese village against an evil Dutch administrator named Captain Van Trach. Together, the brothers must fight Van Trach and his henchmen to free native Indonesians from colonial oppression.



Director Mike Wiluan told Medcom.id, in an interview that was published shortly before the film's premiere, he had been frustrated with colonial-themed Indonesian films being political dramas, likening it to a classroom, stating "We sit in the cinema for an hour or two not to jump into class or study again", and wanted to explore a more creative route. He came up with the idea of a cowboy western set in colonial Java first in 2014, three years before production on the film, with actor Ario Bayu being among the first to be informed of his plans. The total number of actors and crew involved with the film numbered 220 to 230 people.[5]


On 3 July 2017, actor Tio Pakusadewo first revealed details of the film to Kompas and announced that he was set to appear in it alongside the likes of Ario Bayu, Pevita Pearce, Happy Salma, Donny Damara and El Manik. Principal photography was scheduled for 20 August 2017.[6]

The initial script for the film was roughly 150 pages before being condensed to 100 pages.[7] The rehearsals and pre-production took about three months.[5]

Pevita Pearce stated she underwent archery training for two months. During rehearsals she trained with stuntmen from France and Thailand, and stated that riding the buffalo was a "very big challenge" for her, describing them as "wild" and harder to control than horses.[8]

Yoshi Sudarso stated that he was the last to join the cast, and had difficulty learning Indonesian, having moved to the United States at age nine where he lived for 20 years and so wasn't as fluent in the language. He spent a month learning Indonesian, but stated that costars Pevita Pearce, Hannah Al Rashid and others were helpful.[9] Sudarso also revealed he was offered a lucrative eight-year Hollywood contract as a stuntman and had to choose between doing the film or accepting the contract. After reading the script and speaking to the director, he made the decision to work on Buffalo Boys because his "heart and mind was in acting, not stunts anymore."[10] Speaking to NBC News later in the month, Sudarso stated "Westerns are such a big part of American culture, but as Asian Americans, we never see ourselves in them."[11]


The film was shot on location in Yogyakarta, Java and in a studio in Batam, Riau Islands. In Yogyakarta, the production rented land in the Watu Murah area of Nanggulan, Kulon Progo. Scenes were typically shot between 3 AM and 6 PM.[1] Filming took place across 40 days.

According to Wiluan, they had initially thought riding a buffalo would be easy similar to riding a horse. However, they found it to be one of the most difficult tasks.[12]


A teaser trailer for the film was released on 16 March 2018.[13] The full-length trailer was released on 20 April.[14] On 2 May, the line up for the 28th Fantasia International Film Festival was released which included a world premiere for the film slated for 14 July 2018 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b https://beritagar.id/artikel/seni-hiburan/film-buffalo-boys-jadi-proyek-ambisius-mike-wiluan
  2. ^ "'Buffalo Boys' to have world premiere in Canada". The Jakarta Post. 14 June 2018. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  3. ^ Frater, Patrick (4 September 2018). "'Buffalo Boys' Selected by Singapore for Foreign-Language Oscar Campaign". Variety. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  4. ^ ""Buffalo Boys" Is the Perfect Western for a Post "Crazy Rich Asians" World". Cinema Escapist. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Mike Wiluan soal Buffalo Boys: Bioskop Bukan Kelas Sejarah". Medcom.id. 13 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Tio Pakusadewo hingga Pevita Pearce Siap Berlaga di Buffalo Boys". Kompas. 3 July 2017.
  7. ^ "NYAFF '18: Reinventing The Western With BUFFALO BOYS: Mike Wiluan, Ario Bayu, and Rayya Markim". 13 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Dari Naik Kerbau Hingga Memanah, Pevita Pearce Totalitas di Film Buffalo Boys". MerahPutih.com. 15 March 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Kembali ke Tanah Air, Yoshi Sudarso Kesulitan Berbahasa Indonesia". Warta Kota. 17 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Demi Buffalo Boys, Yoshi Sudarso Tolak Tawaran Stunt di Hollywood". MetroTVNews.com.
  11. ^ "To play an Asian-American cowboy, actor Yoshi Sudarso needed to go to Indonesia". NBC News. 28 July 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Tantangan Terberat Ario Bayu Bintangi Film Buffalo Boys". MetroTVNews.com. 15 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Indonesian Western BUFFALO BOYS Teaser Promises Slick, Crowd Pleasing Fun".
  14. ^ "'Buffalo Boys' praised for action-packed first trailer". The Jakarta Post.
  15. ^ "Joe Dante, David Robert Mitchell Pics Among Fantasia Fest Lineup". The Hollywood Reporter. 2 May 2018. Retrieved 13 July 2018.

External links[edit]