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Supporting Indonesian cinema: 11th Indonesian Film Festival’s Opening Night Gala

A STRONG show of support was present at the Indonesian Film Festival’s Gala Opening Night as festival goers and guests converged to share their enthusiasm for Indonesian cinema. Lunnie Gan attended the event and has the report. 

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In the cosy, dimly-lit bar known as The Crafty Squire, late night laughter and chit-chat filled the air as filmmakers, actors and excited patrons of this year’s Indonesian Film Festival gathered for its glitzy Opening Gala.

Kicking off the festival before the main program begins its run at ACMI on April 14, the Gala was held the night before and began with a Q&A session with some of the film festival’s invited guests. Featuring festival ambassador Tara Basro, actor Chicco Jerikho, and cinematographer Satria Kurnianto, everyone had a chance to gain insight into the inner-workings of the Indonesian film industry.

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Festival guests of the Indonesian Film Festival field questions from patrons on Opening Night. | Photo: Lunnie Gan

Patrons posed questions regarding Indonesian film censorship and government film funding, all in a bid to better understand the struggles endured by working professionals in the Indonesian film industry. 

Yet despite these hardships, Tara believes that although “there’s a lot to improve” on she and her fellow filmmakers “can make it” work out. 

Following the Q&A session, an exclusive meet-and-greet with the invited guests was welcomed with open arms by fans. Meeting the stars and filmmakers in the flesh certainly put huge grins on the faces of fans who waited anxiously in line order to take photos with their favourite stars.

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Festival guests and patrons mingling before the festival kicks off proper. | Photo: Lunnie Gan

Under the brick archways and pink-hued bricks of The Crafty Squire, the night rolled on with drinks, live music and guests mingling with each other. While raising glasses of bubbly, excitement and anticipation for the upcoming film festival leaked through conversations between patrons.

One of these patrons, Angel, expressed her ecstasy over the film The Sun, The Moon and The Hurricane since LGBT content — which is considered a hushed up topic in Indonesia — is screened in the film.  

“LGBT is treated as a mental illness in Indonesia; it’s not something you will talk much about. That’s why I’m so excited to see the movie here,” exclaimed Angel. 

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Opening Night Gala’s festivities included Indonesian bands performing on Wedensday night. | Photo: Lunnie Gan

A few Indonesian girls studying from RMIT revealed their high anticipation of the Indonesian Film Festival also, adding that it is very hard to find Indonesian movies in Melbourne. 

“Since we’re studying overseas, we [don’t really have a chance to] catch up with local [Indonesian] films here. So we got really excited when this festival came up.” 

The support from Indonesians living and working in Australia was a source of encouragement for Gala organiser Stephanus Budiman who further emphasised that “in the end, it’s up to the Indonesians to make changes to our local film industry”.

With the opening night gala filled to the brim with festival goers and guests, it looks like support for Indonesian Film and of the festival remains high for organisers and Indonesians abroad.  

The 11th Indonesian Film Festival runs from April 15 – 20 at ACMI in Federation Square. Further information about the festival’s screenings and events can be found on the Indonesian Film Festival’s Facebook page and the official event page at ACMI’s website.

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