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Messages from Festival Founder

The Dream 17 Years Ago And Today: Why is JAFF in Jogja?

As teenagers, 17 year olds, must be filled with tempestuous new journeys exploring new maps. JAFF is experiencing various phenomena, namely the new media ecosystem era with a torrent of OTT services, various platforms for showing films on social media, and the emergence of new festivals in various parts of Indonesia. Also, there are the new approaches used by international festivals, especially for workshops and funding programs and their relation to distribution, as well as the new dynamics of Indonesian film and community.



Of particular note, JAFF is dealing with a demographic surplus of young people. Around 60 per cent of Indonesia’s population is aged 18-38; a generation that is familiar with the new media ecosystem who have their own ways of reading art and entertainment, including film.



Through this writing, I’m trying to reexamine the thought behind the JAFF establishment. Specifically, the background thought process, while discussing and inviting Phillip Cheah to establish JAFF, something simple came across my mind about Jogja as the city of choice for JAFF.



First, I had a dream, if JAFF goes in the right direction, it will become another face of Jakarta; Jakarta is the film industry hub and Jogja the city for film craft. More specifically, JAFF would be able to encourage Jogja to become a city of film talent, with actors, artists, and educators, as well as efficient, inexpensive and effective film technology operators. This could materialise if JAFF is not only focused on screening and awards but becoming a space to find and share knowledge and skills as well as networks; locally, nationally or internationally. Therefore, JAFF in its journey has tried to cultivate these elements.



Second, in choosing Jogja as JAFF’s growth space, the consideration was that nurturing a festival must be based on five aspects, social capital, cultural capital, intellectual capital, skill capital and networking capital, and financial capital. Of course, we don’t have to meet all of them, for example, financial capital is not the primary foundation of Jogja, but the other capitals exist in the fabric and history of Jogja.



Third, choosing Jogja as a space for JAFF to grow takes the strength of higher education institutions, cultural observers and more specifically the strength of diverse film communities. Therefore, initially, JAFF met with more than 65 communities in Jogja. Now, 17 years later, Jogja has grown into a city of film crafts, but now is also faced with an era of new media ecosystems. Have a great new journey JAFF, you’re becoming an adult!


Garin Nugroho

Garin Nugroho

Festival Founder