Jakarta. The 12th Jogja-Netpac Asian Film Festival, scheduled to take place at various venues in Yogyakarta on Dec. 1-8, will create more room for Asian films to shine, especially from countries that rarely feature, such as Mongolia, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
With "Fluidity" as this year's theme, the JAFF underlines the dynamic state of Asian cinema, which keeps evolving due to sociocultural changes.
The festival aims to be just as fluid, and since last year, it has extended its scope to the Pacific, featuring works from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
It has also made some new additions, such as Asian Perspectives, bringing together an assorted bunch of films.
Asian Perspectives, which used to be a subprogram under Asian Feature Non-Competitive, now stands on its own.
"Asian Feature Non-Competitive is officially deleted this year. As a replacement, we bring about Asian Perspectives. We expect a lot from it to see diverse, multi-perspective Asian films," JAFF program director Ismail Basbeth said, as quoted on the festival's official website.
He said the diversity of Asia's geographical landscapes and lifestyles can be esthetically portrayed through cinema, thus giving viewers different experiences.
There will be feature-length films such as "Love and Other Cults" by Eiji Uchida (Japan), "A Letter to President" by Roya Sadar (Afghanistan) and "The Children of Genghis" by Zolbayar Dori (Mongolia).
On the other hand, short films will include "Prelude to General" by Pimpaka Towira (Thailand), "Journey to the Darkness" by Mohammad Mozafari (Indonesia/Iran) and "The Illusion Seller" by Sharofat Arabova (Tajikistan).
Platforms for Budding Filmmakers
The festival will coincide with the Jogja Future Project, a collaboration with the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf). It selects 10 feature-length film projects – whether they are in the planning, production, or postproduction stage – of which the makers can have one-on-one meetings with industry professionals from Indonesia and abroad.
Members of the program jury are Kan Lume, a Singaporean filmmaker, Meiske Taurisia, and Indonesian producer and founder of Palari Films, and Mouly Surya, director of "Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts."
Filmmakers and communities who do not make the cut can still learn from the best in the usual community forum and public lecture. Speakers include Garin Nugroho, Mira Lesmana, Reza Rahadian, Wregas Bhanuteja and Tony Rayn.
JAFF 2017 will return with its Asian Feature film competition, where films will compete for the Golden Hanoman Award, Silver Hanoman Award, Netpac Award and Geber Award.
The films include "Dark Is the Night" by Adolfo Alix Jr., "The White Girl" by Jenny Suen and Christopher Doyle, and "Phantom of Illumination" by Wattanapume Laisuwanchai.
Short films, such as "Tradition" by Lanka Bandaranayake, "Amour du Reel" by Iman Behrouzi, and "Roda Pantura" by Hizkia Subiyantoro, are set to compete for the Blencong Award in the Lights of Asia competition.
The Face of Indonesian Cinema has been rebranded as the JAFF-Indonesian Screen Awards, which recognize both feature and short local films. It will screen "Posesif" by Edwin, "Night Bus" by Emil Heradi, "The Nameless Boy" by Diego Mahameru and "Pranata Mangsa" by Nindi Raras, among others.
Another program set to return this year is Asian Docs, jointly hosted with the annual Documentary Film Festival (FFD). Petr Lom and Corinne van Egeraat's "Burma Storybook" and Yuda Kurniawan's "Balada Bala Sinema" are three of many.
Part of it is Taiwan Docs, initiated and curated by film program expert Gertjan Zuilhof, who has worked for International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) for many years. Three Taiwanese documentaries will be screened alongside discussions on the development of documentary filmmaking in the country of focus.
Director Joko Anwar, whose recently released film "Pengabdi Setan" has attracted more than 4.1 million viewers, has been chosen as this year's filmmaker in focus. Six of his works will be screened, but the festival organizers have yet to issue the list.
The festival will take place at Taman Budaya Yogyakarta, Cinema XXI and CGV Cinemas.
The festival's preliminary program, Open Air Cinema, will take place at Taman Tebing Breksi on Nov. 17-19.