MESSAGE FROM FESTIVAL FOUNDER

Garin Nugroho

The Tenacity of Guerilla Cinema

The term guerilla cinema came about from Seno Gumira Ajidarma, a film critic during the years of 1980-85 when I was still a film student at IKJ (Institut Kesenian Jakarta, Institute of the Arts Jakarta). Back in those days, IKJ students were actively involved in making short films and “busking” their cinematic works, where they travelled carrying student films in a 16mm and 8mm formats. One of the most notable works from this activity are the short films of Gatot Prakosa.

I recounted memories of screening and discussing films in Jogja, along the banks of Code River, where Romo Mangun has become a stopover for young vagrants. Our discussions would take place in a humble mat, with the projector hanging from an electric pole to make up for the electricity shortage. It is expected that the discussions at Romo Mangun with my friends have created a space for exciting dialogues to take place.

I still remember fondly too, during JAFF’s early days, we were housed in a place without telephones. Thus, after every meeting, all JAFF team members would disappear and flock to internet cafes in order to access anything remotely associated with JAFF’s operations. In truth, JAFF itself was established during the earthquake and Merapi eruption, such that Jogja has become a city with a public space that was under threat of extinction. JAFF was held in the midst of uncertainty in hosting activities at a public space, particularly when the city was in the throes of disaster. To sum up its inception, JAFF is the product of tenacity in a guerilla way of working.

If we were to look at the best works of Indonesian cinema which had successfully penetrated the international circuit, it is obvious that most of them were made with tenacity under the duress of a crisis. I invite you to review the cinematic works from Jogja and other regions – from the way they pooled funds to the production process where they established networks.

In the midst of a pandemic, the operations in JAFF 2021 are characterized with numerous guerilla methods during a crisis. Numerous questions have been raised as to why JAFF refused to establish itself as a glamorous festival. I have always jokingly responded to this question with a: “JAFF is attended by enthusiastic youths, youths who live in humble dormitories with casual clothing – sometimes not having showered, or in the middle of seeking something that they have not been able to answer. At the same time, JAFF is attended by filmmakers who wish to meet and share their insights with the young audience whose curiosity is limitless, instead of a lavish party. Or, JAFF is attended by international festival programmers who want to share their programs to enthusiastic youths. Of course, this is a world far from glamour, although if I were asked on the happiness created by JAFF, my answer would be simple. JAFF drives tenacious youths who would undertake the guerrilla mission of establishing themselves in the film world, mobilizing a city into an oasis for the tenacity of film guerillas whose works are often not imagined to move youths with numerous informational accesses to the local and international film scenes.”

Inevitably, the fact that numerous Indonesian films have debuted and premiered in JAFF have become a measure of success. Frankly speaking, the youths who love JAFF are composed of cinephiles from various regions in the country who would spread its influence with their smartphones to other regions in Indonesia. These are the works of tenacious, guerilla influencers – albeit unpaid.

Hence, the 16th year of JAFF features the theme of tenacity, which has become a recurring motif in our operations. To the organizers and JAFF lovers: “Welcome visitors, guerilla filmmakers, let us happily celebrate and create tenaciously with our unique guerilla methods.”

Yours respectfully,
Garin Nugroho.

Kegigihan Sinema Gerilya

Istilah sinema gerilya muncul begitu saja dari Seno Gumira Ajidarma, seorang kritikus film era tahun 1980 -85, ketika saya masih menjadi mahasiswa film IKJ (Institut Kesenian Jakarta). Saat itu, mahasiswa IKJ aktif membuat film pendek serta melakukan kerja sinema ngamen, yakni berkeliling dengan membawa film-film mahasiswa dengan format 16 mm dan 8 mm. Salah satu yang harus mendapat catatan sendiri adalah film-film pendek karya Gatot Prakosa.

Saya masih teringat, memutar dan mendiskusikan film di Jogja, di pinggir Kali Code, di tempat Romo Mangun yang menjadi rumah singgah anak jalanan. Diskusi cukup hanya dengan selembar tikar, bahkan mengingat listrik tidak mencukupi untuk proyektor, maka mencantol dari tiang listrik. Bisa diduga, diskusi dengan Romo Mangun dan kawan-kawan menjadi sebuah ruang dialog yang mengasyikkan.

Saya juga masih teringat, ketika awal mendirikan JAFF, berkantor di rumah yang tidak memiliki telepon. Alhasil, setiap selesai rapat seluruh team JAFF menghilang sebentar untuk ke warnet, mengakses segala sesuatunya berkaitan dengan pelaksanaan JAFF. Bahkan, sesungguhnya JAFF didirikan di saat gempa dan meletusnya gunung Merapi, sehingga Jogja menjadi kota dengan ruang publik yang nyaris mati. JAFF dijalankan dalam situasi keraguan membangun aktivitas di ruang publik di tengah bencana. Segalanya adalah soal kegigihan dalam kerja bergaya gerilya.

Jika kemudian kita menengok karya-karya terbaik film Indonesia yang mampu menembus sirkuit international, maka terbaca segalanya dijalankan dengan kegigihan serba bergerilya dalam situasi serba krisis. Simaklah film-film karya sineas dari Jogja dan berbagai daerah, mulai dari cara mereka mencari dana dan berproduksi hingga membangun jaringan.

Di tengah Pandemi, JAFF 2001 terus dijalankan dengan cara-cara serba bergerilya serta situasi krisis. Banyak sekali pertanyaan, mengapa JAFF tidak membangun dirinya sebagai festival glamour? Saya selalu menjawab dengan canda: “JAFF didatangi oleh anak-anak muda penuh antusias, anak-anak muda yang tinggal di kost-kostan yang mengenakan baju santai kadang belum mandi atau mereka yang tengah mencari sesuatu yang bahkan mereka sendiri belum bisa menjawab. Namun JAFF juga didatangai pembuat film yang ingin bertemu dan berbagi dengan penonton muda yang serba ingin tahu bukan untuk menghadiri sebuah pesta. Atau, programer festival international yang ingin berbagi program dengan anak-anak muda penuh antusias. Tentu saja, ini sebuah dunia yang jauh dari glamour. Akan tetapi, jika ditanyakan, kebahagiaan dengan adanya JAFF? Jawaban saya sederhana: “Ia menggerakkan anak-anak muda yang gigih bergerilya meniti dirinya di dunia film, menggerakkan sebuah kota menjadi oasis kegigihan para gerilyawan film yang bekerja dengan cara masing-masing yang sering tak terbayangkan menggerakkan anak –anak muda dengan beragam akses informasi dunai film lokal dan internasional dengan terbuka “

Jika kemudian, film-film baru Indonesia banyak premiere di JAFF sebagai salah satu tolok ukur kesuksesan. Sesungguhnya, anak-anak muda pecinta JAFF tidaklah banyak orang-orang Jogja asli, melainkan anak-anak muda yang berkuliah atau beraktivitas di Jogja dan berasal dari berbagai daerah di Indonesia. Bisa diduga, ketika mereka mencintai sebuah film, mereka akan menyebarluaskan dengan HP-nya ke berbagai wilayah Indonesia. Inilah para influencer gerilyawan yang gigih tanpa bayaran.

Oleh karena itu, ketika JAFF edisi ke-16, mengangkat tema ‘Tenacity’ alias ‘kegigihan,’ saya mengucapkan kepada penyelenggara dan pecinta JAFF: “Selamat datang para tamu, para gerilyawan film, bergembira dan menciptalah serta tumbuhkan jaringan dalam kegigihan dengan keunikan cara bergerilya masing-masing. “

Salam hormat

Garin Nugroho