Diana Mariska, Jakarta – The Australian Embassy is bringing back its annual film festival to six cities across Indonesia. The Festival Sinema Australia Indonesia, kicking off this Friday, will show a selection of films centered around the theme of cultural diversity.
The festival will run for the next three weekends starting in Jakarta. It will then move to Makassar, Surabaya, Mataram, Bandung and, for the first time, Yogyakarta.
Alongside five Australian movies, the festival organizer has also picked three films made by Indonesian filmmakers who studied filmmaking in Australia. Those movies are "Susi Susanti: Love All" from executive producer Daniel Mananta, and "Bebas" and "Kulari Ke Pantai" from producer Mira Lesmana.
Australian Embassy spokesman Ian Gerard said the key film of the festival this year is "Top End Wedding," an Australian rom-com about family with diverse cultural background, a familiar theme in Indonesia and Australia.
"It's a romantic comedy about an indigenous girl and Caucasian husband who go the top end, our Northern Territory, to get married, and the family problems that ensue. We're hoping Indonesians will recognize the theme of families coming together from different cultures," Gerard said in Jakarta on Wednesday.
"Indonesia has many different ethnic culture groups, Australia does, too, through years and years of migration," he said.
The festival is totally free of charge. Tickets can be booked on www.fsai2020.eventbrite.com. The films will be screened at selected CGV cinemas. In Jakarta, that will be at CGV Grand Indonesia.
Gerard said Australia and Indonesia also face the same cinematic quandary of having their film scene dominated by Hollywood movies. This is why the festival wants to bring in more locally made films to represent the interests of local audience.
"We think cinema is strongest when many voices are being heard, many cultures shown. We'd like to keep bringing this film festival to Indonesia to give them Australian voices, and of course, Indonesian voices," Gerard said.
Celebrating 70 years of bilateral relations
The Australian Embassy has also launched a website to commemorate 70 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and Indonesia.
The bilingual "70 Years, 70 Stories" website celebrates influential figures from both countries who have helped to shape their relationship.
Indonesia's first ambassador to Australia, Raden Usman Sastroamidjojo, and his counterpart, John Douglas Lloyd Hood, are featured on the website.
The website also contains information about historical and current events and multimedia libraries, including photo collections from the National Archives of Australia and archives from the National Library of Australia.
"As neighbors, Indonesia and Australia have a long shared history that isn't as widely known today as it should be. I encourage everyone to take the time to explore the site and find out more about the factors that have bought us closer together as neighbors and as friends," Australia's deputy ambassador to Indonesia, Allaster Cox, said in a statement.