The annual Australia Indonesia Cinema Festival (FSAI) is back showcasing the best of Australian film to give Indonesian audiences insight into the diversity, sense of humor, excitement and curiosity of life in Australia.
The festival will return for its fourth edition in Jakarta from March 14 to 17. It will also visit Mataram in West Nusa Tenggara from March 15 to 17, Makassar in South Sulawesi from March 22 to 24, Bandung in West Java from March 23 to 24 and Surabaya in East Java from March 29 to 31.
Bandung and Mataram are two new locations for the festival, which seeks to expand its reach across the archipelago.
A variety of films have been put together for the festival with the aim of appealing to the different tastes of Indonesian audiences.
For example, there is a story on humans battling aliens for Earth in science fiction thriller Occupation. Then there is one in which a grandfather reminisces about his childhood on an isolated coastline in family drama Storm Boy, and another about a choir of aboriginal women who travel to Germany in documentary movie The Song Keepers.
Ladies in Black, the second-largest grossing movie in Australia last year, will also have its Indonesian premiere at the festival and is to be screened at every location. Full of classic Australian friendliness and cheekiness, this is a tale of Australian women forging friendships, falling in love and following their dreams.
Packed with love of all kinds, Ladies in Black follows a group of department store employees over the Christmas period. The glorious Blue Mountains make an appearance, and, of course, there are ladies eating lamingtons – traditional Australian cakes – in the sunshine. This is a nostalgic peek into retro Sydney, complete with stunning gowns and sets. While highlighting the prejudices and difficulties women faced in the 1950s, this is a heartwarming movie that shows the tenacity of the ladies in black.
The festival also features documentaries, such as GURRUMUL, which explores the life of Australia’s most celebrated Indigenous musicians. The film’s director and writer, Paul Damien Williams, is set to greet audiences in Jakarta and Mataram for question and answer sessions.
Short film highlights from Flickerfest – Australia’s favorite short film festival – will also be screened alongside the feature films.
Speaking on Australia’s and Indonesia’s rich history of filmmaking and film watching, Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Gary Quinlan joked during the FSAI press conference that this could have something to do with the exceptional natural sunlight both countries enjoy, which allows for the stunning visuals seen in many of their films.
Collaboration between Australian and Indonesian moviemakers was also emphasized by Quinlan, who hopes to see co-productions between the two countries in the future.
Indonesian producer Mira Lesmana, who is an alumnus of a school in Australia, having spent her formative teenage years studying and watching movies, spoke at a conference on the importance of watching movies from other cultures – aside from those produced in Hollywood – to see how other people tell their stories and how to engage with them.
Lesmana’s romantic dramas Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? (What’s Up With Cinta?) and Ada Apa Dengan Cinta 2 (What’s Up With Cinta? 2) will be showcased at the festival.