Nia Dinata was born on March 4, 1970 in Jakarta, Indonesia. She graduated from a Mass Communication major at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. She then took special programs on film production at New York University.
After returning from the USA in 1995, Nia works in various projects, mostly for television. In 1998 she won an award in The Indonesian Film for TV Festival for Best Picture and Best Drama for a 90 minutes television drama titled Mencari Pelangi (or In Search for the Rainbow). Since then, Nia has directed various TV programs, TV commercials and music videos.
Her first feature film debut was a semi colosal epic titled Ca-bau-kan (or The Courtesan) which was produced in 2001. Ca-bau-kan is a film based on the novel by an Indonesian prominent writer, Remy Sylado. Ca-bau-kan is the first movie that revolves around the Chinese community in Indonesia after the Indonesian reform era.
For Ca-bau-kan, Nia won an award for Best Promising New Director in Asia Pacific Film Festival, Seoul, Korea in 2002. The film also won Best Art Director in the same festival. In 2003, Ca-bau-kan was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Art & Science (AMPAS) to be screened for a candidate of Foreign Film nomination.
In April 2002, together with Afi Shamara, they produced their second feature film titled Biola Tak Berdawai (or The Stringless Violin). This film is a debut for independent Indonesian woman director, Sekar Ayu Asmara.
In 2003, Nia directed Arisan! (or The Gathering), a satirical comedy with a screenplay written by Nia herself and Joko Anwar. Arisan! receives countless raved worldwide reviews for its boldness in portraying gay characters in Indonesia (the largest Muslim country) and has won audiencesf heart for its heartwarming sincerity. The film won numerous awards in film festivals in Indonesia. In the Cinemasia Film Festival in Amsterdam 2004, Arisan! won Best Film and Most Popular Film. In Asian American International Film Festival in New York 2004, the film is nominated for the Annual Emerging Director Award. In MTV Indonesian Movie Awards in 2004, the film won Best Picture, Best Director and Most Favorite Supporting Actor. In the Indonesian Film Festival (FFI) in 2004, the film won Best Film, Best Editing, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor.
In May 2004, for the 20th anniversary of Fonds Sud Cinéma, together with the French Foreign Affairs Minister and festival de Cannes; Nia was invited to join the Cannes Young Directors Program. In June 2004 Nia was selected as one of the juries for the French Film Festival in Indonesia.
Niafs upcoming projects:
- She will act as the producer for a feature film titled Janji Joni (or Jonifs Promise). Principle photography will start in January 2005 and the movie is planned to be released in April 2005. This will be the debut for Joko Anwar (co-writer of Arisan!) as a director.
- Nia has finished writing the script for Berbagi Suami (or Love for Share or Partage ton mari), the third feature film that she will direct in 2005. This movie is a satirical drama about polygamy in modern Indonesia.
- In the planning stage to develop a film foundation in order to assist Indonesian film makers