Without any interruption in seventeen years, Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival (JAFF) has been consistently present since its inception. As it navigates various obstacles along the way, JAFF nurtures a genuine appreciation as well as high respect to Asian cinema as an organic element of Asian culture and society. Thus, this seventeenth edition of JAFF can be understood as a testimony of our resilience and commitment to promote and disseminate Asian cinema regardless of socio-political conditions.
Choosing ‘Blossom’ as this year’s festival theme, we would like to highlight not only the festival’s age, but also as an ode to the youthful and vigorous spirit brought about by contemporary Asian cinema. As is well known, Asian cinema has always offered a fresh perspective as well as a new way of seeing of Asian culture and society. In other worlds, the word ‘blossom’ is closely associated with the youthfulness embodied in an emerging generation of Asian filmmakers and the need for rejuvenation of Asian cinema in keeping up with the changing world. Indeed, we deeply appreciate the great works that have been laid out by all Asian filmmakers in the past as they can be a source of inspiration to continue making a better work.
Translating the festival theme, this year we are providing a wide and more open platform for new Asian filmmakers to showcase their works although they might not receive as much support from established institutions. We believe wholeheartedly in the quote of Nobel laureate Doris Lessing, “Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so.” Therefore, we believe that extraordinary talent and incredible creativity might be sourced from less known places in Asia. The best cinematic gems often hide in the muddy ignorance and negligence of the diverse cinema culture in Asia.
Finally, film festival is a space for filmmakers to reach out to their audiences and encourage further conversation and reflection. Through cinema, we learn more about other culture and apply it to reflect on our own conditions. Moreover, cinema touches both mind and soul and makes us understand how to be human in a fullest sense. As the French author Marcel Proust once remarked, “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Therefore, thank you to the Asian filmmakers who have enriched our lives with meanings and joy by watching their wonderful cinematic works. And let’s make our soul blossom.