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9th Indonesian Film Festival 2014

Daniel Driscoll

Fri Apr 11 2014


THE Indonesian Film Festival is back for its 9th year and is set to showcase some of the best of Indonesian cinema. Look out for the returning Short Film Competition, meet and greets with filmmakers, plus a workshop and seminar. Daniel Driscoll fills you in on what you need to know.

The Indonesian Film Festival (IFF) returns with the ninth installment of what has become a yearly celebration of Indonesian culture and film, showcasing some of the best films and directors. The festival has an excellent selection of films on offer for every taste including the critically acclaimed opening night feature, Something in the Way and The Jungle School (Sokola Rimba), based on the memoirs of Butet Manurung. 

Returning this year is the festival’s Short Film Competition, where entry differed from the IFF as it was open to everyone regardless of where they were from, provided their film was in line with this year’s theme, “Discover Indonesia” which aims to show a little more about Indonesia to the world.

Winners have already been announced and were culled from 21 submissions to just three, two of which were directed by Andra Fembriarto. Fembriarto’s drama-fantasy Pohon Penghujan won 1st place and was also awarded People’s Choice Award for receiving the highest number of likes on Youtube. Lalijiwo, also by Fembriarto was runner up, with third place awarded to Barbie I, by directors Rembulan Sekarjati and Sesarina Puspita.

In addition to the films, the festival will also host an informal meet and greet and an intensive workshop and seminar. The meet and greet will feature guest speakers Anggy Umbara and Kemal Palevi from films Something in the Way and Comic 8. Guests for the “Discover the Indonesian Film Industry and Film Making”  themed workshop and seminar will be Hanung Bramantyo, director of 2014 and Mira Lesmana, producer of Sokola Rimba. There will also be  a question and answer session afterwards. These events are open to the general public and are a great opportunity to talk with the artists, directors and producers of the films being screened.

With so much to see and do, make sure to get along and catch some great films (and maybe discover a little more about Indonesia in the process!).

Some films to look out for include…

Something In The Way

Director Teddy Soeriaatmadja follows up the award-winning Lovely Man (2011) with a look at the seedy side of Indonesia in Something in the Way. Starring Reza Rahadian as porn-addicted taxi driver Ahmad, whose obsessive sexual desires conflict with the instruction at his local mosque. Ahmad’s time is divided between attending Koran classes by day, driving passengers across the city by night, and masturbating furiously to porn in between. His solitary existence is interrupted when he falls in love with Kinar, a prostitute who happens to be his neighbour, and then begins to follow her around on increasingly disturbed sorties across the city.

Street Society

Filled with fast paced action and exotic locations, Street Society takes you on a thrill ride into the underground racing scene. The film follows Rio (Marcel Chandrawinata), the reigning champion of Indonesia’s illegal street racing scene. Racing against super car owners in exotic locations across the country, Rio’s archenemy Nico – the heir to a crime syndicate and also the city’s number one racer – keeps pushing Rio for a rematch after an embarrassing loss. But then Rio’s priorities shift after meeting Karina – a new DJ who plays at one of Rio’s regular hangouts. After a race ends with a near-fatal incident, Rio decides to give up street racing. That is, until nervy racer Yopie enters the scene and forces Rio to take to the wheel one last time, in order to save Karina.

The Jungle School (Sokola Rimba)

Based on the memoirs of Butet Manurung, The Jungle School recounts her year with rain forest tribes. Image supplied

Based on the memoirs of Butet Manurung, The Jungle School recounts her year with Indonesian rain forest tribes. Image supplied.

Directed by Riri Riza, The Jungle School (Sokola Rimba), is drawn from from the memoirs of Butet Manurung andrecounts the year she spent living with the Orang Rimba (People of the Forest) – the nomadic, indigenous tribes living in the rain forests of Jambi in central Sumatra. In The Jungle School, Butet (Prisia Nasution) is an activist working at a conservation organisation in Jambi, teaching the children from a community of Orang Rimba in the upstream area of the Makekal River. After being saved by a boy from a community living in the downstream area, Butet wants to expand her jungle school but must contend with opposition from numerous sides.

The 9th Indonesian Film Festival will take place between April 24 – May 3 at ACMI. For more information head to the official festival website.