Meet the Indonesian Animator Working Behind The Scenes of Hollywood’s Biggest Movies and TV Shows

by Shane Jhastin Picson
Sashya Subono Halse Working on Her Animations
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In recent years, Indonesia has been home to a burgeoning animation industry. With more and more people taking an interest in animation, the country has seen a significant increase in locally produced cartoons, animated educational programs, and the emergence of local animation studios. This is where Indonesian animator Sashya Subono Halse made her start, matching her country’s rise in the world of animation with her own hard work, passion, and dedication to her craft.

The 36-year old mother of three has been working with award-winning New Zealand-based animation and visual effects studio Weta FX, and has been involved with many Hollywood movies and TV shows, serving as a matchmove artist who captures live movements and animates them, and a facial motion animator who transfers real life expressions onto animated characters. And while she’s got the experience and industry recognition to prove her skills, the journey she took to reach where she is now wasn’t always so straightforward.

Sashya Subono Halse Posing in Front of Weta

From Sashya Subono Halse’s Instagram

Sashya developed an early love for film while growing up in New Zealand, a country known for its scenic landscapes as popularized by the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. She also developed an interest in animation, citing Pixar’s Toy Story as an influence and saying she was obsessed with Buzz Lightyear’s design. It was in 2010 when she was 22 years old that she decided to move to Indonesia with her husband, to reconnect with her roots and pursue a film degree. Not long after, she realized that working on the set of a film production just wasn’t for her.

A new realization dawned upon her soon after, and motivated by her experience working on film sets, she realized that she preferred working behind the scenes and in front of a screen. And with that, combining her love for films and animation, Sashya began to learn about animation online while pursuing her film degree. While on her journey, Sashya began small animation projects, which she uploaded online on her own YouTube page and her personal blog.

Once she got her diploma, Sashya then pursued a bachelor’s degree in interactive animation at SAE Indonesia, a creative media university in Jakarta, where she honed her skills in video graphics and special effects. She moved back to New Zealand after eight years, where she began freelancing in animation and enrolled in a one-year master’s programme in character animation at the Victoria University of Wellington. This would eventually open the path to her working with Weta FX.

At present, Sashya has been with Weta FX for four years, working on different renowned projects such as Marvel’s She-Hulk, Hawkeye, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Godzilla x Kong: New Empire, and most recently, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. Her team has even been recognized by the Academy Awards, with Avatar: The Way of Water winning the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 2022.

Sashya joins the likes of other prominent Indonesian animators such as Ronny Gani, Griselda Sastrawinata, Michael Reynold Tagore, and Christiawan Lie in further strengthening Indonesia’s rising presence in the global animation stage.

This just goes to show that no matter where you are in life, there’s always a way to discover your passion and put your all into it.

What passion project would you like to pursue? Share it with us in the comment section below!

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