Balinale sees more Indonesian films

The lineup: Bali International Film Festival founder Deborah Gabinetti (left to right) gives press conference with Bambang Supriadi of Jakarta Arts Institute (IKJ); a representative from short film community MiniKino and Whulandary Herman, lead actress of Bidadari Terakhir (The Last Angel).

The prestigious Bali International Film Festival '€” known as Balinale '€” will return bigger than ever this year.

From over 300 films submitted for the Bali Internatiional Film Festival, curators have selected 105 titles from 29 different countries to be screened from Sept. 24 to 30 in Cinemaxx Theater and open air cinemas at Kuta beach, Bali.

Indonesia will contribute 26 feature-length and short films and documentaries for the festival'€™s ninth edition, a significant increase from the six screened at the event last year.

'€œEnthusiasm is high this year,'€ said Deborah Gabinetti of Bali Taksu Indonesia Foundation, the festival founder, at a press conference in Jakarta. '€œIndonesia is currently producing a lot of good short films.'€

Due to the large number of local short film entries, the category of Best Indonesian Short Film has been added to the accolades up for grabs this year. The winner will be determined by viewer'€™s choice.

Among feature-length film entries are Cakra Buana, an 80-minute Sundanese musical directed by Massimo Burhanuddin (Urbanus Apartementus) and 3 (Alif Lam Mim), the first action movie by Anggy Umbara (Comic 8 sequels).

'€œI'€™m still learning about film distribution in Indonesia, but currently I'€™m looking at film festivals to showcase the film,'€ said Massimo about his debut film made with a little-known cast and crew and a dialogue sung throughout the film.

Anggy said that 3 (read as tiga) is set in Indonesia 20 years in the future as seen through the eyes of three best friends who have taken different paths in life. One as a law enforcer, one a journalist and one a Muslim religious leader.

'€œI hope it best reflects the recent changes in our society,'€ he said.

Produced by TV personality and actor Arie Untung, the cast includes Tika Bravani, Cornelio Sunny, Abimana Aryasatya, Agus Kuncoro, Prisia Nasution and Donny Alamsyah.

Internationally recognized for their commitment in promoting the growth of the Indonesia film industry, the festival is organized in cooperation with the Jakarta Institute of Arts (IKJ), Pelita Harapan University (UPH) and short film community MiniKino to net indie filmmakers and to organize workshops and seminars.

With the theme '€œFace of Diversity'€, the festival will showcase the rich diversity of people, natural beauty and cultures in its film choices.

Mexican film Güeros, the debut film by Alonso Ruizpalacios that won Camera d'€™Or in Cannes last year, will grace the opening night. The director and lead actress Ilse Salas will also attend the premiere.

Polish cancer drama Chemia by lenser-cum-helmer Bartek Prokopowicz has been selected by the committee to close the festival.

'€œThe closing film tells a story that is personal to the director, it feels very intimate, and I feel like our festival is intimate, so I think there'€™s something there that will connect with our audience,'€ explained Gabinetti.

Indonesian films Bidadari Terakhir (The Last Angel) by Awi Suryadi, Marmut Merah Jambu (Pink Guinea Pig) by Raditya Dika and About a Woman by Teddy Soeriaatmadja will give different perspectives about the country and its people.

Other films to be screened at the festival include Australian documentary Blown Away and feature film The Babadook and from the US: Ricki and The Flash, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, short film The Dirty Birdy Redux as well as documentary Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play.

From South Korea there will be The Shameless and Ode to My Father. The director of Ode to My Father, Yoon Je-kyoon, will also attend the screening.