AIYA is proud to be a partner of the 9th Indonesian Film Festival, opening this month in Melbourne and Sydney. AIYA Victoria’s Daniel Brooks introduces us to the festival program, and highlights some of the films on show this week.

The Indonesian Film Festival (IFF) is the largest celebration of Indonesian screen culture in Australia, aiming to introduce local audiences to recent Indonesian films made by some of the country’s most respected film makers.

This year, the festival will be screening 9 films over 10 days in Melbourne, and three films over three days in Sydney. The festival also includes a short film competition, an open-air cinema event called IFF Under the Stars, a Meet and Greet event, seminars and workshops, as well as educational screenings open to school groups.

Winning entries for this year’s short film competition have already been announced, and were screened publicly at a free open-air cinema event (layar tancep) called IFF Under the Stars, held at the University of Melbourne on Saturday 5 April at 7pm. Approximately 200 film-goers, including members of AIYA Victoria, went to watch the romantic-comedy Janji Joni by director Joko Anwar (Modus Anomali, 8th IFF).

To launch this year’s festival, a Meet and Greet event will be held this Wednesday evening at La Di Da in Melbourne. Special guests include director Anggy Umbara and stand-up comedian cum actor Kemal Palevi from the action-comedy Comic 8 (9th IFF), as well as actors Ratu Felisha and Verdi Solaiman from the festival’s opening film, Something in the Way (9th IFF). The free event will include live music and stand-up comedy and is open to the public. AIYA Victoria will be attending, too!

On Saturday 26 April, there will be a Seminar & Workshop with director Hanung Bramantyo (2014, 9th IFF) and producer Mira Lesmana (The Jungle School, 9th IFF). This is your chance to ‘meet the makers’ and join in the Q&A. Visit the website for event details.

The films

Something in the Way — Melbourne and Sydney

This year’s opening film in both Melbourne and Sydney is Something in the Way, director Teddy Soeriaatmadja’s follow-up to the award-winning Lovely Man (7th IFF).

Something in the Way is a dark tale of obsession which focuses on the solitary life of a young, porn-addicted taxi driver, Ahmad (Reza Rahardian), who is first intrigued and then becomes obsessed by Kinar, a prostitute who happens to be his neighbour.

In Melbourne, there will be a pre-screening saman dance performance by Saman Melbourne and then a post-screening Q&A with actors Ratu Felisha and Verdi Solaiman.

A group of AIYA Victoria members will be attending this film on Thursday the 24th of April.

The Jungle School (Sokola Rimba) — Melbourne and Sydney

Director Riri Riza and producer Mira Lesmana (Laskar Pelangi, IFF 2009; 3 Hari Untuk Selamanya) have teamed up again for The Jungle School (Sokola Rimba), which will screen in both Melbourne and Sydney.

Butet (Prisia Nasution) works for a conservation organisation in Jambi, teaching literacy and maths to the children of an indigenous tribe in the upstream area of the Makekal River. When a boy from a community living in the downstream area saves her, Butet in inspired to expand her jungle school, but she must contend with opposition from many sides.

The film is based on a true story from the memoirs of Butet Manurung and the year in which 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.

Producer Mira Lesmana, actress Prisia Nasution, and Butet Manurung herself will be in both Melbourne and Sydney for a post-screening Q&A.

Join AIYA Victoria to watch The Jungle School on Saturday, April 26.

What They Don’t Talk About When They Talk About Love — Melbourne and Sydney

What They Don’t Talk About When They Talk About Love is a playful coming-of-age love story by director Mouly Surya (Fiksi, IFF 2008). Diana, who is myopic, and Fitri, blind since birth, experience the pangs and yearning of love, but must transcend their lack of sight to envision it.

Director Mouly Surya uses an exquisite mix of music, movement, and cinematic composition in order to convey the sensory experience of her protagonists. Meet the lead actresses in a post-screening Q&A.

The film was the first Indonesian film to play at the Sundance Film Festival, and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize – Sundance Film Festival 2013 (World Cinema Dramatic Competition).

2014 — Melbourne only

The Closing Film of the 9th Indonesian Film Festival is the election-year thriller, 2014, by co-directors Hanung Bramantyo (Ayat-Ayat Cinta, 7th IFF) and Rahabi Mandra. The film will have its Australian premiere before its release in Indonesia.

The screening will feature a pre-screening rapa’i geleng performance and a post-screening Q&A with director/producer Rahabi Mandra, producer Celerina Judisari, and actor Rio Dewanto (Hello Goodbye, 8th IFF; Modus Anomali, 8th IFF).

Street Society — Melbourne only

The closing film, however, won’t be the last screening of the 9th Indonesian Film Festival. On Saturday 3 May in Melbourne there will be a Special Screening of the nail-biting car racing flick, Street Society.

The 9th Indonesian Film Festival will run in Melbourne from the 24th of April to the 3rd of May, and in Sydney from the 25th to the 27th of April. For more information about the festival program and to book tickets, visit IFF’s website or following them on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.