15 December 2023

Adelaide Film Festival connects Australian filmmakers with burgeoning Indonesian screen sector.

Adelaide Film Festival (AFF) has formed a partnership with the Jogja NETPAC Asian Film Festival (JAFF), Yogyakarta, Indonesia with the ambition to cultivate cultural understanding and creative collaboration. The initiative is inclusive of a film and filmmaker exchange between the two festivals, with future project development activities planned to occur from next year.

Six Australian filmmakers including producer Anna Vincent, director Colin Cairns, director Rhys Graham, writer/director Granaz Moussavi, producer Brendan Skinner and producer Mitchell Stanley formed a delegation to JAFF 25 Nov– 2 Dec actively participating in screenings, workshops and networking events while also immersing in local culture.

Sundance selected Moogai and We Are Still Here producer Mitchell Stanley said the exchange program has broadened his creative thinking, encouraging him to seek synergistic connections between Indigenous Australian and Indonesian storytelling.

“And looking around the world, Asian cinema does horror really well. And they tap into local mythology to tell contemporary versions through cinema. And because it was an exchange, it was not only what can I gain, but what can I share?” Mitchell says.

At Adelaide Film Festival 2023, AFF hosted Jogja Program Director Alexander Matius and presented a spotlight on Indonesian cinema showcasing six Indonesian feature films. A delegation of Indonesian filmmakers included Galang director Adriayanto Dewo, Monisme producer Anggana Basundara Murba, The Exiles producer Sari Mochtan, Orpa director Theogarcia Rumansara and Like and Share lead Jennifer Aurora alongside co-producers Orchida Ramadharia and Sigit Septiadi.

Sigit Pratama and Orchida Ramadhania, producers of the Indonesian film Like & Share and guests at AFF 2023,  say:

“This was our first time attending AFF and it was surely such a fascinating first experience. Great movie selections and wonderful hospitality from the AFF team. We look forward to our next collab at AFF. ”

Granaz Moussavi (When Pomegranates Howl, My Tehran for Sale) says the value of face-to-face communication, such as the AFF/JAFF exchange, is critical to making things happen.

“Seeing the films is great, but the main thing that happened was human connection. Usually festivals are places for networking and for business connections but, to me, it was not the first thing. The first thing was getting to know the real people behind what they do. And that human connection to me is everything. When it’s there, everything else naturally follows,” Granaz says.

Producer Brendan Skinner (The Last Daughter) says:

“The outcomes and the benefits of such an exchange aren’t always immediately obvious but I see them as seeds planted. You can’t see the outcome until those seeds germinate – and that may happen months or years later. The experience of appreciating and immersing oneself in Indonesian culture, and seeing the Indonesian films as well, was really helpful to understand more about culture and how we may be able to work together as filmmakers.”

Filmmaker Rhys Graham (Galore, The Turning, Rewards for the Tribe), was born in Penang, Malaysia. Of the AFF/JAFF exchange he says:

“It was wild to see rowdy Indonesian audiences watching some wild horror and comedy.   It was a reminder that that the ways that we think stories are told in somewhere like Australia aren’t the only ways to tell stories. You just have to travel a little bit north or a little bit west or east to see that stories can take different forms. There are things that are commo to our way of storytelling, but also things that are rich and strange and different. And I just love that.”

Jogja NETPAC Asian Film Festival Festival Director, Ifa Isfansyah, says the reciprocal collaboration is important for the ‘development of cinema’.

I am very happy that JAFF can have an ongoing collaboration with the Adelaide Film Festival. The collaboration began last year with Mat Kesting’s participation as a jury member at JAFF 17, and continued with Alexander Matius, JAFF program director who was appointed as one of the jury for this year’s Adelaide Film Festival.

We are very happy to welcome Mat Kesting along with several Australian filmmaker and Adelaide Film Festival organisers back to the 18th JAFF. We really appreciate AFF’s participation in hosting a networking event in JAFF, which was successful and lively. I think this kind of collaboration between film festivals is very important to maintain and regulate. Besides strengthening and resonating the energy of the two festivals, this kind of collaboration is also important for the development of cinema itself, especially the development of Asia-Pacific cinema.

Adelaide Film Festival CEO & Creative Director, Mat Kesting, says understanding our geographic neighbours by forging creative collaborations presents exciting opportunities.

“As our next door neighbour, it is remiss of Australia not to forge a deeper connection Indonesia.  The world’s fourth most populous country, home to over 270 million people, Indonesia has a thriving screen industry that is increasingly looking to connect with the global market. Reminiscent of the rapid growth of Korean cinema over the last 20 years, Indonesia appears to be on the cusp of taking greater prominence on the world stage. There’s a great opportunity for practitioner collaboration.”

AFF will be presented 23 October – 3 November 2024 and is developing further opportunities for Australian and Indonesian filmmakers to collaborate.

Films can be submitted to the festival via Film Freeway here.