Submissions for the inaugural ReelOzInd! Australia and Indonesia Short Film Competition and Festival are now open. AIYA caught up with event organiser and esteemed Indonesia-watcher Jemma Purdey to get the low down on this ground-breaking new event.

Why do you think short film is a good medium to raise awareness and improve understanding between our two countries?

Short film is increasingly popular and accessible for both the creation of stories and for viewing them. Internet and mobile technology means literally anyone with a mobile phone or tablet can be a filmmaker and view film anytime and anywhere. ReelOzInd! aims to engage people from a wide range of backgrounds–from students to more established filmmakers–and so short film is a great way of doing this! We believe that storytelling through film reaches into both cultures and can create new ideas and conversations!

The theme of the festival is ‘Tetangga’/’Neighbour’. What is the rationale behind this?

ReelOzInd! is unabashedly about bringing Indonesians and Australians face to face to learn more about how we each see the world (not very differently!). The theme tetangga relates to this idea that ‘as close neighbours we should be friends not mysteries’, which is one of our slogans for the Festival. We are hoping that filmmakers will respond to the theme in creative ways. They might like to approach the theme from a local, individual, or community level, nationally, or globally. It could be a simple narrative about your own neighbourhood, a character in your street or at the local train station. It could be a horror film about neighbours gone bad! It could be a documentary about discovery and culture. We are inviting filmmakers to respond to the theme as broadly or as narrowly as they like.

What kind of short films are you hoping to attract?

We’re hoping to attract films from a wider range of genres. Awards will be given for Best Films in Documentary, Animation, Fiction and the Youth category, but there are no other restrictions. We are looking for films that will entertain, surprise and emotionally engage audiences the world over.

Riri Riza, Lauren Shipman and Mira Lesmana at the ReelOzInd! Media Briefing

Riri Riza, Lauren Shipman and Mira Lesmana at the ReelOzInd! Media Briefing. Photo: ReelOzInd!

You’ve got hit Indonesian filmmakers Mira Lesmana and Riri Riza (Ada Apa Dengan Cinta?) and Andrew Mason (The Matrix and The Water Diviner producer) on board as judges. You must be thrilled!

We are so excited to have this wonderful line-up of judges of such standing in their profession. They will bring such incredible levels of expertise to the judging. We are also very thankful to them for endorsing ReelOzInd! and the ideas behind it. We all agree that for near neighbours to know so little about each other is kind of crazy and better understanding is long overdue!

Do you have any advice for anyone, perhaps AIYA members, looking to submit an entry in the Youth category?

We hope many AIYA members will submit films to ReelOzInd! The Youth category is for high school students, aged 13-18 years. Again, I would encourage you to have some fun. Be creative with the theme and with genres that excite you! But most of all tell us a great story! No matter the quality of production and so on, the story is the single most important element. AIYA members have unique insights into both cultures/peoples/places and we’d love to see that come out in the submissions. We have a fantastic awards category for Best Collaboration between Australian and Indonesian filmmakers and I can imagine that many AIYA submissions may very well fit well here!

What are some of your ideas bubbling away for the Festival screening events?

We will screen the winning films at ACMI in Melbourne on 21 August 2016 and have plans to extend this to screening all shortlisted films in their Mediatheque. We are also in discussions with cinemas in Indonesia and other festivals in Australia and Indonesia about collaborating with them to show the films. And of course, all short films will be exhibited on the ReelOzInd! website.

Riri Riza. Photo: Sofyan Syamsul

Riri Riza. Photo: Sofyan Syamsul

Where can prospective short filmmakers go to find out more information?

Check out for more information and please join the conversation on our Facebook page where you can share advice and feedback with your fellow filmmakers, find crew, talent and locations, preview films and tell us what you think. We are also on Twitter and Instagram: @ReelOzInd.

Stay tuned to the AIYA Blog for more stories on this brilliant new initiative throughout the ReelOzInd Competition and Festival. Applications are now open so get those cameras rolling!