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Messages from Festival Director

Let's Smile at Each Other Again

The thing I like most about a festival is the gatherings. A smile can be transformed into great energy in these meetings. This year, the Jogja-Netpac Asian Film Festival (JAFF) is returning to its normal format just like before the pandemic. Films will be screened, guests brought in, the stage set, and cinema tables and verandas ready to witness these gatherings. The pandemic has taught us all to appreciate the meaning of a meeting even more. Like the commitments from previous years, if during the year we are too busy with work and routines, the implementation of JAFF is designed to be a summary of the journey of Asian and Indonesian films throughout the year. JAFF is ready to host cinema lovers’ gatherings and it has become characteristic that we are all part of JAFF hospitality. We are all the ones who determine whether JAFF is comfortable or not. We are all faces of JAFF itself.


This year I have to thank the Indonesiana Fund from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology. Funding assistance from Dana Indonesiana requires JAFF to continue to improve both in terms of implementation and organization. Before and during the festival, we will simultaneously hold Focused Discussion Groups (FGD) for the development of JAFF with regard to the Accumulation of Resources and Knowledge, and Consolidated National and International Strategic Partners to formulate JAFF’s future sustainability plans. It’s a big responsibility if in the next few years JAFF doesn’t improve and develop. For this reason, we ask for the active participation of all festival visitors and guests to provide input, and criticism as objectively as possible so that JAFF becomes more mature.


The theme of the festival is decided annually. A theme that we think can represent the spirit of the festival, as well as our reading of Asian cinema now and in the future. We quickly chose BLOSSOM to represent the spirit of the 17th edition of JAFF this year. 17 is an iconic age. We are opening up and blooming. Support from the audience and collaborations with various partners encourage and demand us to continue to be more mature. New talents grow and begin to blossom. For this reason, for the first time, JAFF chose a collection of short films to act as the opening screening. Films from young directors whose careers started from and through JAFF. ‘Piknik Pesona’ which contains a collection of 10 short films will be the opening film this year. Witness the courage of Indonesian cinema’s young people to speak.


Every year we also select a visual artist for the official artwork from JAFF. This year is the first year we have a three-dimensional object artwork by Octo Cornelius. This object will also be animated by Iwan Effendi. Enjoy this exceptional work in various visual elements of this year’s festival. Festival opening bumpers, official merchandise as well as various elements in every corner of the festival venue. This year hundreds of volunteers will also be the faces of JAFF. We are also holding another Community Forum, hundreds of film community activists will attend from various regions in Indonesia. It is JAFF’s commitment to stand on three main legs: New Talents, Academics and Professionals. Public Lectures are held every year with a number of urgent themes that we have selected, including two interesting and rarely discussed themes: Film Subtitling and Film Publicity.


This year JAFF will present 130 films from 19 countries which will be featured in JAFF’s main programs such as the Asian Feature Competition, Light of Asia, Asian Perspective, and JAFF Indonesian Screen Awards and ensure the excitement of the festival which will take place across the week. In addition, there are also three new programs starting this year: The emerging Program for new short film directors, the Panorama Program for showcases of Asian films, and also Series Program for series that have never been shown on digital platforms. Focus on Ho Yuhang continued with a Masterclass will be one of our special programs this year. Ho Yuhang is a filmmaker who has been active since the first festival. In addition to Ho Yuhang, JAFF will also screen works by established directors such as Jafar Panahi, Garin Nugroho, Lav Diaz, Hong Sang Soo alongside the classics of Wong Kar Wai.


It is necessary to make special note of the achievements of Indonesian films. Indonesian films are really developing. The rapid rise in audience numbers since the pandemic is something that no one could predict. In the main competition session of this year’s festival, for the first time, there will be three Indonesian films. Gina S. Noer, whose film two years ago was the best film at JAFF ISA, this year, enters the main competition with her latest film Like & Share, alongside the two film festival darlings Before, Now & Then by Kamila Andini and Autobiography by Makbul Mubarak. It is a pleasure to receive the latest work from filmmakers who work with JAFF such as Djenar Maesa Ayu, Dain Said, Wo Ming Jin, Yuda Kurniawan, BW Purbanegara, Ismail Basbeth, Robby Ertanto as well as short filmmakers such as Reza Fahriyansyah, Eden Junjung, Loeloe Hendra and Aco Tenri. After AUM!, this year one of the alumni of the Jogja Future Project has also finished his film and joined the JAFF-Indonesian Screen Award competition, Alang-Alang by Khusnul K Hitam. I also want to give bring attention to the Community Screen program, which this year curates the works of eight new talented Indonesian female directors.


JAFF cannot grow alone. We are very happy that several festivals are being held in several cities such as Balimakarya and Jakarta Film Week. Each festival has a limited screening capacity, while good work continues to be produced every year. Films have their own audience and characters, the more Film Festivals, the stronger the watching culture in Indonesia will be. The more viewers who come to enjoy JAFF, the more filmmakers will register their films to be screened at JAFF, so there is the demand to increase the appreciation and new screening spaces for these quality films that are constantly being born. Hopefully, in the future, Indonesia will have more and more film festivals.


Thank you to all JAFF supporting partners this year who have consistently supported us. Cinema XXI and KlikFilm have consistently acted as the venues for our film screenings. The Ministry of Education and Culture, the DIY Culture Office and the Film Censorship Institute always provide support. Also many thanks to all our supporting partners this year: Artotel Suites Bianti, MLDspot, Online Cinema, Vision+, Vidio, Grand Kangen Hotel, Citra Net, RK Studio, ATM Production, Telkomsel, Kuma Acting Workshop, Servis Bahasa, Kwikku, Cantrik, The Publicist, Jogja Film Academy, FEB UGM, Panasonic, Epson and friends at Jogja Festivals.


Let’s grow together celebrating our identity through Asian cinema.

Ifa Isfansyah

Ifa Isfansyah

Festival Director