posted in: 2019
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The Balinale (Bali International Film Festival) opens September 24!

The importance of this festival is undeniable, with a record number of Indonesian film submissions this year. As always, the Balinale opens with its accompanying BalinaleX, the industry-insider, no-holds-barred, round table meetup of seasoned Hollywood players, local talents and Indonesian studio heavies.

This is a key activity for industry leaders and regional policy makers to meet with representatives of large western studios, create new paths for cooperation, and hash out the win-win scenarios sought by all players in international collaborations. Don’t forget that Balinale founder Deborah Gabinetti was the one who camped out at producer Brad Pitt’s development office before convincing him that his plan to film Eat Pray Love in the Philippines was unacceptable. You don’t have to have been one of the expats cast in a crowd scene to know that she made him do the right thing. This is a person actively raising Indonesia’s filmic profile.

The provincial and Indonesian governments acknowledge the Balinale as an indispensable partner in the country’s cultural, political, and economic growth. This year’s Spotlight on Indonesia series within the festival may fill in a few cultural gaps western audiences have been slow to appreciate, while instilling pride in local film fans.

We’ll all have the jump on some great new movies, attend Asian premieres, and get our vote for the audience choice award. The festival’s remarkable submissions screening team has a superb record for choosing extraordinary documentaries, entertaining features, and a lot of cultural surprises. You can expect to choose amongst 70 films from over 20 countries.

One great tradition is the free children’s film on Sunday 29 September at Jalan Kartika Plaza Lippo Mall Cinemaxx. Bring a local family to this; it’s just one of the many community outreaches by the Balinale. Serious actors and budding filmmakers might like to check out the workshops that will be offered at various times during the festival.

Full program and schedule will be on the website on September 1. Main screening venue is at the Sidewalk Jimbaran Cinemaxx.

Word on the street says that Ubud will be the locale of a Balinale satellite event on Saturday the 28th. But check that website to be certain!

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Another must-see for cinephiles is MiniKino Film Week (MFW), an ambitious, grass-roots community-oriented, series of short film showings (both animated and live-action) which encourage discussions and constructive interactions between filmmakers and audience members.   This year, the fifth annual offering, will reach out to audiences in various venues around the island, October 5 – 12.

In 2018 after last year’s festival wrapped, MiniKino organizers took films on the road to north Lombok, where earthquake victims were waiting out the reconstruction of their homes. Rotary Disaster Relief teams were there to help, and the pop-up festival was a wonderful diversion for the families taking refuge in tents.

Visit their website,, and get a full festival pass for just Rp350,000. Gets you in the party, special swag, and access to all the movies.

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Something great is in store for the artist-driven movement of Cata Odata, the art space run by Ratna Odata in Penestenan, Ubud. She’s shutting down for a change of venue but drops a few hints for the creation of something worth waiting for, and worth participating in, continuing the revolutionary line of Bali’s contemporary art scene.

Artists and thinkers interested in the ecosystem of contemporary art in Bali, can check into Cata Odata, in Penestenan, opposite the Pura Dalem, on October 28 at 3pm for Belajar Mandiri, a forum / workshop (in Indonesian) about the state of visual arts. Call 08121212 6096 for more info.

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Ever wonder what you can do to step more carefully on the Earth, especially as an international traveler? Here’s a useful website,, which deserves a look, if not a bookmark on the task bar of every expat, every backpacker, and every jet setter.

Diverse writers grapple with different governments’ application of human rights, ecology and the environment. Plenty of insights on how to use our power as travelers, to affect positive change and, maybe more simply, to stop tracking along with us the wrong kind of change.

What countries deserve our dollars? Where is sexual harassment impossible to ignore? These are just a couple of the topics found there. I can’t say that every article is full of righteousness and truth, or that I even agree with some of the writers, but it starts a person focusing on the important consideration of ethical travel. May it help us all explore gently, or perhaps even develop a positive agenda.

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Got an intense interest in travel, art, and the environment? Check out this other website from The Avenue for Creative Arts, a hardworking desktop publisher. He’s got a great thing going with The Art of Travel, out of Singapore. Regional tips on art, culture, and the environment can be found at and


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