Indonesian President Jokowi Calls For Film Industry Revival

Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo (aka ‘Jokowi’) says that more films need to be made for mass audiences in the world’s fourth most populous nation.

He was speaking on ‘National Film Day,’ a celebration which brings together a series of movie events and this year included the inaugural edition of the Equator Film Expo (EFX).

Widodo, film makers, and industry executives attended a screening of award-winning “Light From The East: I’m Maluku” (aka “Cahaya Dari Timbur: Beta Maluku”) at the State Palace in Jakarta.

According to Widodo the film industry in Indonesia is too focussed on the elite sectors of society, who may anyway prefer to watch Hollywood titles.

Stunting growth of both the local and Hollywood sectors is a severe shortage of cinemas and screens. According to local sources 10 of the country’s 34 provinces do not have a single cinema and some 70% of nationwide box office is achieved on Java, just one of the archipelago country’s thousands of islands. After a revival by local films in recent years their share of national box office has again turned down.

As part of the National Film Day celebrations government announced the restoration and preservation of 15 classic Indonesian movies made between 1951 and 1969. Its film education effort is to include the translation and circulation of 17 text books on film-making written by luminaries including David Bordwell, Roy Thompson, Steven Katz and Syd Field.

The EFX’s Film Forum represented a further element in the knowledge transfer program, and will be complemented in October by a screening festival and late March 2016 by a trade show and convention.

For its launch edition the Forum put on an intensive series of conferences, workshops and panel discussions, giving practical insight into film marketing and publicity, international sales, project pitching, acting and screenwriting. With France as the country partner, experts on hand included former Sony and Fox executive Bruno Chatelin, Julien Ezanno from the Centre National du Cinema et de l’Image Animee (CNC), sales agent Nicolas Brigaud-Robert and acting coach Pascal Luneau.

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