Bali International Film Festival Announces Inaugural Winner of the AICEF Prize for Cross Cultural Filmmaking

posted in: Press Release

Bali, INDONESIA – The 14th edition of Bali International Film Festival [Balinale] is pleased to announce the creation of the annual AICEF Prize for Cross Cultural Filmmaking presented to a pair of first- or second-time feature filmmakers whose work robustly embraces cross-cultural themes either in the narrative or documentary genre.

Through a generous grant from the American-Indonesian Cultural & Educational Foundation [AICEF], The feature films selected to receive the AICEF Prize tackle subjects that cross cultural lines and advances audience’s understanding of the issues, challenges, and realities that people face in living in countries, communities or cultures that are unfamiliar.

For this year, Balinale has selected Empu – Sugar on the Weaver’s Chair as its inaugural AICEF Prize winner. Directed by Harvan Agustriansyah, the narrative film portrays the stories of women in three different regions of Indonesia facing entrenched obstacles in a male dominated society. Through necessity and their own personal convictions, they find the strength to address the social inequality, challenge the rigid boundaries of traditional rights and imposed limitations and, as a result, transform and empower themselves and those around them.

The festival has a history of supporting important cultural programs that benefit thousands of aspiring Indonesians and of fostering relationships between Indonesia and the rest of the world through the outlet of film. “Balinale’s goal is to continually strengthen ties with the global film community while exciting imaginations and interest in Indonesia’s visual culture”, stated Deborah Gabinetti, Festival Founder.

Balinale is collaborating with USA’s highly regarded Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival (MNFF). Empu will screen Friday, 27 August. Mr. Agustriansyah is in attendance to present his film followed by Q&A.

MNFF has selected Nomad Meets the City directed by Anji Clubb, a documentary that tells the story of former goat herder Tumurbaatar who now works tirelessly as a garbage truck driver in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, striving to better his daughter’s education, the pressures he faces of distance and separation take a heavy toll. The MNFF-selected American filmmaker will be in Bali this September, circumstances permitting.

New York City based 501[c][3] not-for-profit corporation founded in 1971 is devoted to fostering closer cultural and educational ties between the people of the United States and the Republic of Indonesia. American-Indonesian Cultural & Educational Foundation supports film screenings, music performances, art exhibitions and symposiums by organizations of distinction whose programs benefit and appeal to a wide range of audiences. AICEF provides overseas research grants in addition to its cultural grants. More information about the organization

About MNFF
Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival was formed to support, promote, and exhibit the dynamic and imaginative efforts of first- and second-time filmmakers and support emerging voices in independent filmmaking. The 7th annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival takes place 25-29 August 2021 in Middlebury, Vermont USA. Information about the Festival is available at

About Balinale
Founded by Bali Film Center in 2007, Bali International Film Festival is recognized internationally for its varied programming in promoting global independent and Indonesian cinema. Known for its specialized knowledge and importance in promoting the films and related industries of Indonesia, it attracts leading producers, directors, and executives to explore the country’s investment opportunities. The festival acts as a platform for aspiring local filmmakers by creating education focused initiatives and partnerships. Balinale is planned to take place 16-19 September 2021 as a combination of online and regulated in-person events. Information and updates are available at