Jakarta International Film Festival
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (January 2011)|
The number of Indonesian films shown at the festival had grown from four in 1999 to around 100 by 2009. Since 2006, JIFFEST has hosted an Indonesian Feature Film Competition with foreign film professionals acting as juries. JIFFEST's script development competition and workshop winners include Wahyu Aditya (2004), World Champion International Young Creative Entrepreneur of the Year (2007); Tumpal Tampubolon (2005), Asian Young Filmmakers Fellow Korea (2008); Salman Aristo (2006), writer of Ayat-Ayat Cinta (2007), Laskar Pelangi (2008), and Garuda di Dadaku (2009); Yuli Andari Merdekaningtyas (2006), and director of Suster Apung, winner of Eagle Awards Metro TV (2006).
The festival is presently on a shaky financial footing and is hoping to continue by switching its funding source from foreign donors to government grants and private donations.
- 1 Festival highlights
- 1.1 1999: The birth of the International Film Festival in Jakarta
- 1.2 2000: JIFFEST in the New Millennium
- 1.3 2001: Questioning Indonesian identity through film
- 1.4 2002: A celebration of cultural diversity
- 1.5 2003: understanding change
- 1.6 2004: Spirit of youth
- 1.7 2005: Special section for documentaries
- 1.8 2006: The lollipop year
- 1.9 2007: The colorful horse
- 1.10 2008: One decade of JIFFEST
- 1.11 2009: The eleventh JIFFEST
- 1.12 2010: And JIFFEST for all
- 1.13 2013: New Chapter
- 2 References
- 3 External links
1999: The birth of the International Film Festival in Jakarta
Shanty Harmayn and Natacha Devillers, working together at Salto Films at the time, founded the Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFFEST) in November 1999. The Singapore Film Festival (SIFF) was already 12 years old, while the Pusan International Film Festival in Korea was in its third year. Thailand and the Philippines had also launched their own international film festivals: Bangkok International Film Festival (September 1998) and Cinemanila (July 1999). Over the course of eight days, 20–28 November 1999), JIFFEST featured 65 films from various countries, including Indonesia. Shanty Harmayn and Natacha Devillers wrote in their foreword: "Dear audience, you are the future of Jakarta International Film Festival and the key to the resurrection of the national film industry, because good filmmakers can only come from a good audience." JIFFEST records show that 18,000 viewers came and saw selected films from 25 countries. At the end of the festival, Jalan Raya Pos, a Dutch-produced documentary on Indonesia directed by Bernie IJdis, was chosen as the crowd favorite.
2000: JIFFEST in the New Millennium
In its second year (3–12 November 2000), 104 titles from 31 countries were screened. That year, JIFFEST premiered three feature films by young Indonesian filmmakers: Pachinko (director: Harry Dagoe Suharyadi); Culik (director: Teddy Soeriaatmadja); and Sebuah Pertanyaan untuk Cinta (director: Enison Sinaro). JIFFEST featured a segment called "Indonesia Through Foreign Lenses".
JIFFEST attracted 32,000 viewers. The Year of Living Dangerously, a film by Australian director Peter Weir and about the fall of President Sukarno, became the crowd's choice. Two films from Iran, Leila (about a fertile wife, by director Dariush Mehrjui) and The Blackboard (about a teacher's struggle, by director Samira Makmalbaf) also made the crowd's top list.
2001: Questioning Indonesian identity through film
In 2001, JIFFEST (26 October – 10 November) featured 103 titles from 32 countries. The theme was "Indonesian Identity through Film: Past and Present". The ticket prices increased from Rp 7,500 to Rp 12,500. JIFFEST presented the segment "Issues in Islamic Contemporary Society" and only premiered one Indonesian film, Viva Indonesia (a collaboration from Nana Mulyana, Lianto Luseno, Ravi Bharwani, and Aryo Danusiri).
Among JIFFESTs guests was Iranian director Jafar Panahi, who screened The Circle, a film about a vicious circle faced by three women after they are released from jail. Topping the list of viewer's choices Me, You, Them (director: Andruscha Waddington, Brazil), a comedy-drama about a woman and her desperate love adventures. Viewers also chose The Circle, Amélie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, France), and Dancer in the Dark (Lars von Trier, Denmark). Viewers count for the year was over 43,000.
2002: A celebration of cultural diversity
In its fourth year (24 October – 3 November), JIFFEST offered 120 titles from 29 countries. A dialogue forum between filmmakers and viewers titled "Meet the Filmmaker" was held in Goethe Haus. The documentary War Photographer, by Christian Frei (Switzerland) was a crowd puller. The session with the subject of the film, James Nachtwey, was packed with film enthusiasts and professional photographers. The film Tato by Hanny Saputra was the only Indonesian film that premiered that year.
JIFFEST's guests included Phillip Cheah (SIFF festival director), Anuragh Singh (director, India), and Vicenzo Marra (Italy). Viewers count reached 19,000.
2003: understanding change
The fifth year (14–19 October) was JIFFESTs shortest festival to that date, due to funding problems caused by national tragedies such as the Bali bombing. Various obstacles faced by the committee almost kept JIFFEST 2003 from being held. Bomb threats in several cities caused people to fear attending the event. JIFFEST 2003 was therefore held on a very modest scale. The chaos of the times was reflected in the films screened that year, such as Bowling for Columbine (Michael Moore, United States) and 11 September (France). Taking a slightly different approach from the previous years, JIFFEST intended to entertain and to get audiences to reflect on the social realities of the time. Winning the hearts of the crowd that year was the film The Magdalene Sisters (Peter Mullan, England), a somber drama about female students in a Catholic institution. The viewer count was 7,400.
2004: Spirit of youth
In 2004 (3–12 December), JIFFEST returned with a renewed spirit. This time, the segment featured was "Spirit of Youth". The theme was selected because of a boom in youth-oriented films, both domestic and abroad. Young filmmakers' contributions to the film industry were recognized, and "coming of age" became a subject of study in various films. In its sixth year, JIFFEST screened 133 titles from 35 countries. The crowd voted for Dirty Pretty Things (Stephen Frears, England), a film focusing on immigrants in England.
The Indonesian films premiered were Yasujiro Journey and Aries (both directed by Faozan Rizal), and Impian Kemarau (The Rainmaker, directed by Ravi Bharwani).
One of the honored guests of that year was Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong, presented his films Green Fish, Peppermint Candy, and Oasis, and shared his experiences of the resurrection of the Korean film industry. The dialogue between Lee Chang-dong and Indonesian filmmakers contributed to the birth of a cinema committee in Indonesia. JIFFEST 2004 attracted around 26,000 viewers.
2005: Special section for documentaries
The Seventh edition of JIFFEST took place from 9–18 December 2005. JIFFEST created a special section for the documentary genre the first time. All documentaries were screened for free.
The seventh JIFFEST opened with the screening of the award-winning film Le Grand Voyage by French-Moroccan director Ismaël Ferroukhi and closed with a sold-out screening of The Downfall, a German production from director Oliver Hirschbiegel. JIFFEST 2005 attracted a record high of 47,000 spectators (an almost 80% increase from the previous year).
2006: The lollipop year
The eighth JIFFEST was held from 8–17 December 2006. The main logo for the event, a colorful lollipop, was seen spread around the city, reflecting the colorful themes of the films being screened in the newly renovated Djakarta Theatre XXI, the Entertainment X'nter Studio XXI at Plaza Indonesia, the new Kineforum TIM 21, and Cultural Centers such as Goethe Haus, Erasmus Huis, and Istituto Italiana de Cultura. More than 230 films from 35 countries were presented to an audience of 63,000, an increase of 34% from the previous year.
The festival opened with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's latest film, Babel, which won him the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival. Starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, the film entertained the many guests who went to JIFFEST's Red Carpet Opening Night Party held at the Club XXI, Djakarta Theatre. The closing film, Black Book, was the Netherlands' official entry for Best Foreign Language category for the 2007 Academy Awards.
JIFFEST held the Indonesian Feature Film Competition for the first time, where 31 Indonesian films released in 2006 competed for a US $5,000 prize each for Best Director and Best Film categories. A jury composed of Teruoka Sozo (programmer of Tokyo International Film Festival, Japan), Jan Vandierendonck (head of Eurimages, Belgium) and Andre Bennett (distributor, Canada) voted Rudy Soedjarwo for Best Director and Denias Senandung Di Atas Awan for Best Film.
JIFFEST and Movies that Matter foundation of Amnesty International put up a competition for Human Rights films. A Hero's Journey, directed by Grace Phan from Singapore, received the Movies that Matter award and €5,000, to be used for the film's distribution in Indonesia.
2007: The colorful horse
In its ninth year, JIFFEST was held from 7–16 December 2007. Around 180 films from 33 countries were screened in Djakarta XXI, the newly built Blitzmegaplex in Grand Indonesia, Kineforum in Ismail Marzuki Arts Centre, and cultural centers Goethe Haus and Erasmus Huis.
With a budget of IDR 3.8 billion for the duration of the 10-day festival, JIFFEST attracted 54,000 spectators to its screenings and events.
For the first time, JIFFEST chose an animation film for its opening slot (Persepolis) and picked a new Indonesian feature, Chants of Lotus as its closing film. Tickets for both films were sold out within the first week. Other popular titles included Into the Wild, the Coen brothers action thriller No Country for Old Men, A Mighty Heart, and documentaries such as Deliver Us From Evil and The U.S. vs John Lennon.
Free screenings of Indonesian and South East Asian films such as Indonesia's The Photograph were also well-attended.
On the opening night, the newly appointed Governor of Jakarta, Fauzi Bowo, pledged his support for the festival for the duration of his term.
"A View from the SEA" was a feature that showcased free screenings of recent films from South East Asia. Titles such as Flower in the Pocket (Malaysia), Singapore GaGa (Singapore), and The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros (Philippines) received critical acclaims from local media, and were popular with audiences.
JIFFEST entered a partnership with the American Film Institute and its AFI Project 20/20, bringing titles like American Fork, Big Rig, Spine Tingler: The William Castle Story, Afghan Muscles, Cyrano Fernandez, Please Vote For Me, and Faro: Goddess of the Waters. The World Cinema Fund from the Berlin International Film Festival sent the titles Atos dos Homens, Naousse, El Otro, Rome Rather than You, El Custodio, 'Possible Lives, and Suely in the Sky.
JIFFEST audiences attended sideline events such as the Behind-the-Scene Photo Exhibition, which displayed the processes of recent Indonesian film-making. This exhibition was held in Hotel InterContinental MidPlaza, Djakarta XXI, and Goethe Haus.
Among other events were Producer Panel, hosted by Shanty Harmayn and featuring film producers Michelle Yeoh from Malaysia and Lorna Tee from Hong Kong; Documentary Panel, hosted by Shanty Harmayn and featuring documentary filmmakers Pimpaka Towira from Thailand and Tan Pin Pin from Singapore; and a roundtable workshop on "How to Package Your DVD Release", hosted by Jeffrey Schwarz, CEO of Automat Pictures from the United States.
2008: One decade of JIFFEST
For its tenth anniversary, the JIFFEST committee had originally planned to stage their biggest ever festival. However, a global financial crisis and difficulty raising funds forced the festival to be scaled down to a five-day event.
Together with the World Cinema section, JIFFEST screened "A View from the SEA", introduced the previous year, which in 2008 featured the films Wonderful Town, Little Heart, and Tribu.
JIFFEST 2008 screened the ten highest-grossing Indonesian films of the past ten years. This celebration was followed by discussions featuring a variety of speakers, including filmmakers, government officials, and film critics. Indonesian films that premiered at the festival included They are Under The Tree, a documentary by Garin Nugroho; Drupadi, a short film by Riri Riza; and At Stake, a documentary produced by Nia Dinata and directed by several young talents.
The winners of the previous years' script development competition and workshop were screened: Traffic Jam by Tam Notosusanto, The Last Journey by Endah WS, and The Visit by Erwin Indrawan. Documentary films from the Goethe Institute workshop were shown.
2009: The eleventh JIFFEST
The JIFFEST 2009 line-up included some of the best of worldwide films, including those from ASEAN and the Madani Film Festival. There was an Islamic-themed program that was created together with rumahfilm.org, which was planned to run as a separate event the following year.
The presence of Christian Scheurer (visual consultant for The Matrix) and Petr Lom, who recorded Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's activities, were popular events, as were discussion panels on the topic of film promotion and marketing and the launch of Amir Muhammad’s book Yasmin Ahmad's Films.
The opening film, Sang Pemimpi, was the first Indonesian film featured as a JIFFEST opening film. The closing film was New York, I Love You. In between were films representing 25 different countries.
2010: And JIFFEST for all
For its twelfth year, JIFFEST was held from 26 November to 5 December 2010 at Blitzmegaplex Pacific Place, Kineforum in the Ismail Marzuki Arts Centre, and Bina Nusantara University International Campus, Jakarta. The main source of funding of JIFFEST came from foreign donors, and after its tenth year, the support ceased to exist. JIFFEST must now rely on the support of the government and local sponsors.
Films screened included Waiting for Superman, The Day We Connect, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Outrage, The Wedding Photographer (Bröllopsfotografen), Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, and When We Leave (Die Fremde).
2013: New Chapter
For its thirteenth year, JIFFEST 2013 was held again starting from 15 November to 30 November 2013, after the vacuum during the past two years. The 13th year it happened thanks to the collaboration with Muvila.com, Enjoy Jakarta, Jive Entertainment, Blitzmegaplex, and Galeri Indonesia Kaya. There are four programs in JIFFEST 2013. The first is "Pop-Up Festival", the second program was the "Retrospektif Boon Jung Ho", then there are the "World Cinema", and the last is an "Open Air Cinema".