Cover Story / March 2019

A Multifaceted Career

This versatile actress has successfully drawn on her remarkable talent to portray vastly different characters since the start of her career. She first caught the eye of film lovers with her 2006 debut in “Ekspedisi Madewa” (“Madewa’s Expedition”) starring alongside Tora Sudiro. Since then, more film directors started entrusting her with roles, playing vastly divergent characters.

Marsha has so far starred in 21 films, some of which have gone on to win multiple awards. And while she continues to shine as a serious actress, Marsha has also featured in television commercials for products such as Ponds, Pocari Sweat and Capilan. She has further been involved in producing video clips for famous local music acts such as Project Pop, Gigi, Ada Bank, Java Juice, Naff, Kerispatih and Letto. And as if that is not enough, she has also played in more than 26 television films and a local soap opera.

In 2017, Marsha received a nomination for her role in “Nada Untuk Asa” (“Melody of Hope”), and last year, she bagged a Citra Award for best actress for her leading role in Mouly Surya’s film “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts,” which in a first, won 10 awards in various categories. “For me, the award is motivation to do even better in the future,” she says.

Last year, Marsha also starred as a martial arts expert in “Wiro Sableng 212” (“Drunken Master 212”), produced in cooperation with Fox International Productions, a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox. “As an actress, I want different characters in the movies I play,” she says.

As a film industry veteran, Marsha admits that award-winning movies are often commercial failures. She is therefore happy that “Marlina” had a satisfactory record in terms of sales, despite not being quite as successful as other top films, such as “Dillan 1990,” which attracted more than 6 million views. She says this makes her want to push film industry players to work even harder to improve the commercial aspect of filmmaking.

Marsha was born in Jakarta on Jan. 8, 1979, into a film industry family. In 2012, she married popular Indonesian actor Vino G. Bastian, who has starred in some top-selling films, including “Wiro Sableng 212” and the successful “Warkop DKI Reborn” series. Her sister Sheila Timothy, meanwhile, is a film producer who also worked on “Wiro Sableng 212.”

Marsha is confident that the Indonesian film industry is in an upward trend, based on the rising number of people watching local films. Citing industry sources, she says more than 26 million people flocked to cinemas last year, which was 30 percent more than in 2017.

And at the same time, she also observes a positive spirit among filmmakers to produce more quality films. She says they are also active in different film genres, such as horror, comedy, drama, romance, action and even documentaries. “I produced the documentary film ‘Banda’ in the past and it was quite impressive in terms of the work quality and production,” she adds. The film, which explores Maluku’s Banda Islands, was shown in selected cinemas, attracting a considerable viewership. “It was a breakthrough for an Indonesian documentary film,” she says.

Besides the silver screen, Marsha has also acted in several stage plays, such as “Perempuan-Perempuan Chairil” (“Chairil’s Women”) and “Bumi Manusia” (“This Earth of Mankind”), which was an adaptation of the work by famous Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer. Marsha says she enjoys the theater as it not only provides her with fresh inspiration, it also allows her to learn more about the historical background of the story and gain insight into the original message the author wanted to share with readers. She recently also starred in the musical “Cinta Tak Pernah Sederhana” (“Love Will Never Be Simple”) with top Indonesian actor Reza Rahadian.