A new dimension to the growing economic engagement between India and Indonesia is being made through efforts to have greater engagement and joint film production between filmmakers of India and Indonesia. Filmmakers are looking at possible co-production, shooting in both countries and bringing together common screen plays and scripts to enter vast entertainment market in India and Indonesia.
These ideas emanated at a special symposium 'Our Films, Their Films' organized by the Embassy of India and Directorate of Film Festivals in Jakarta as part of the ongoing week-long celebration to mark the centenary of Indian cinema. Sujoy Gosh, the reputed maker of 'Kahaani', which was screened during the film week, spoke about his experience as a young filmmaker and what filmmakers look for today outside the traditional formulas for successful film making.
He was joined on the occasion by several Indonesian filmmakers including Harry Dagoe, film director, Ve Handojo, script writer, Putut Widjanarko, film producer, Rahayu Saraswati, actress and Sha Ine Febriyanti, actress and director. Many of them spoke about the dominant trends in current Indonesian cinema, challenges of production, the growing influences of foreign films and the decreasing share of Indonesian market of Indonesian films.
Areas covering film finance, film infrastructure and the value of location in Indonesia and the well known tourist destinations also came up for discussions. There was a feeling that India and Indonesia with a strong historic connection and civilizational linkages, cultural appreciation of each other and with a great acceptability of Indian cinema in Indonesian minds, were well placed to start a new area of cooperation.
Indian Ambassador Gurjit Singh, who had conceptualized this seminar as an effort to enhance people to people linkages particularly with young Indonesians, and to explore another avenue for business engagement among filmmakers, spoke of the growing avenues for greater engagement between young filmmakers of both countries to look to a new genre of filmmaking from young eyes.
He invited Indonesian film makers to participate in the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) held annually and also asked Indonesian to avail of the hospitality of Directorate of Film Festival to bring Indonesian films to Indian audience. Acknowledging that Indian films were frequently shown in Indonesia commercially, he also said that Bollywood has provided a useful idiom for cultural engagement between India and Indonesia.
He focused on possibility of co-production and expanding business linkages between India and Indonesia. He also referred to the benefits of tourism arising out of film production which many countries, including those in ASEAN, successfully used in Indian films and hoped that Indonesia would provide the incentive and ambiance for such creative engagement.
There are several people of Indian origin who are eminent producers and houses of developing software for entertainment in Indonesia. Among them Raam Punjabi, president, Multivision Plus, spoke about the influence of Indian cinema in the Indonesian film industry.
He gave his own example of having been born in Indonesia and still being very fond of Indian films which he was the main importer and distribute. He also has a production house catering to the growing Indonesian entertainment industry and he hoped that co-production issues could be tackled, particularly financing issues, with the support of the Indonesian government.
Prof. Ahman Sya, director general of arts and culture-based Creative Economy, said Indonesia was creating a single window for clearance of foreign shooting teams to promote Indonesia as a film destination. He said that Indonesia would be interested in providing a framework for co-production of films between India and Indonesia. A poster exhibition of Indian films was widely welcomed by the audience.