Close-up: An Interview with Savira Windyani

INDONESIAN-BORN actor Savira Windyani is one of the stars of upcoming horror Unfriended: Dark Web. A bright young talent now based out of Los Angeles, Savira joins us on Close-up Culture to tell us more about the film and her burgeoning career

Q: The trailer for Unfriended: Dark Web – out August 10 in the UK – looks gripping and very unnerving. What should UK audiences expect from this film?

A: WELL they should expect to cover their laptop or phone camera!

Our writer-director (Stephen Susco) was smart about how he wrote this film. He has done his extensive research and found that absolutely anyone can access your digital cameras despite you not using it. Through wifi, anyone could access anything, really.

The first movie was definitely entertaining but I guess what makes this sequel so terrifying is that it could happen to anyone. The Dark Web is something no one should ever mess with.

Q: Can you tell us about your character and how you got cast for the role?

A: MY character’s name is Lexx. She is a struggling DJ who has got this chic, cool girl vibe going on and is always trying to re-invent herself so she can keep up with what is trendy and new these days to be at the top of her game. She has got no family to support her life decisions so her best friends are pretty much the only family she has got.

How I got this role was pretty standard. I got the audition email from my managers at the time and I sent in a self-tape. I then got called in for a chemistry read probably a couple weeks after.

They actually sent me over a script when I got a callback that was only available for an hour or two. That is to ABSOLUTELY make sure no one else gets it, because the project was top secret, and when I got the email, I was just on my way to work so I had to skim through the entire script in 15 minutes.

Good thing I knew how to read fast or I would be screwed. Because of that, I was able to get a handle of the story better, and my character better, and actually do my homework before going in. That is probably why I felt so confident during the chemistry read. I got a call from my managers at the time, not too long after, informing me I got the role!

Savira as DJ Lexx in Unfriended: Dark Webb

Q: Given that the film plays out over Skype, I imagine this was a rather unusual shoot. Can you share any details or stories?

A: YES, it was unusual because instead of working with a high budget camera, we used a GoPro in our own “rooms”. It was an extremely interesting, and rather enjoyable, experience because we all filmed in one house and this house was enormous! All the rooms we filmed in were in the same house. It was so convenient because whenever we needed to discuss something amongst the cast, we would just all meet up in another room and discuss.

What was enjoyable about filming with a GoPro in a room that is your own is that, I guess, there is less of a pressure to make mistakes because with high budget cameras, it costs way more money. With this, it is not as stressful. I do not think stress is the right word, but it definitely gives you a little more leeway to experiment with new ideas.

What helped even more was how outstanding my cast was. We all did our homework so we were actually ahead of our schedule which gave us even more time to go back to scenes we were not satisfied with.

Q: We are in an age where social media and related technologies have a tight grip over our lives. What kind of impact have they had on your life?

A: I LOVE social media as a marketing platform. It is a great way to get yourself connected with other professionals, and/or noticed at least.

It reaches such a great number of people so I adore it when it is used as a way to inform the world about important situations, or to inspire.

My concern is that I do not like when people obsess over social media and/or technology and whenever it takes over people’s lives – well, some people at least. I have seen it be the cause of relationships failing. Sometimes people do not even know how to socialize anymore without touching their phones. I have also seen too many accidents on the road due to people being on their phones.

Savira on the red carpet at the 48 Film Festival

I guess what I am trying to say is that the moments you spend scrolling on that phone while people you care about are enjoying their time together, you are never going to get back. It really is as fast as when your little brother or sister spends some time with you.

You scroll for hours then you look up and suddenly they are in college and the carefree, unlimited time you had with them is over.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to put down your phone sometimes and just live in the moment!

Q: Correct me if I am wrong, I believe you were born in Indonesia and came to the US a few years back. Can you tell us about your journey to LA and the support you have received along the way?

A: YOU are not wrong at all, I was born in Indonesia. My nationality is Indonesian but I lived in Malaysia for 14 years because my father worked there. I moved to LA in 2014 to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and it was not an easy transition. The 13 hour time difference, the fact that my family is not out here and I was on my own, not to mention that I was 17 at the time. It was scary. But I decided to make that jump and it was the best decision I have ever made in my life so far.

My family has been extremely supportive of me. It was not always like that, but as soon as they saw the work I had put into my performances, as well as the passion, they trusted me enough to make this decision on my own.

Q: What is life like for you now in LA and what are your ambitions? Do you have a dream role or person you aspire to?

A: LIFE is fantastic. I have been focusing a little more on creating my own content because I currently have no representation. Especially when opportunities are not given to you, you have got to make them for yourself. My ambitions are to be able to inspire, motivate and touch the world in their hearts through the shows I put on and the movies I make. What began as game of playing pretend evolved into becoming an act to move people through story telling.

Acting for me is a way of escaping reality to experience a version of my own and it is beautiful. I cry, I laugh, I love. I am motivated, inspired and I empathize. It is an amazing roller coaster ride that goes on inside a theatre filled with a number of strangers that ride that roller coaster with you. It is so crazy. How many careers connect strangers that well in such a short period of time?

On stage, my dream role is to either play Kim or Gigi Van Tranh in a revival of Miss Saigon. Or Velma Kelly in a revival of Chicago. I cannot choose. They are all so wonderful.

In film, I guess I do not really have a dream role. Any character who is intelligent, slightly stubborn, driven, and could put up a fight, mentally and physically.

Q: What is next for you?

A: WHATEVER life throws at me at this point. What is next for me is the adventure. This is only the beginning.

Unfriended: Dark Web is out in UK cinemas 10 August.

Follow Savira on Twitter and Instagram

Title Image by George Simian

Leave a Reply