Pitching Forum 'Docs by the Sea' a Boon for Local Filmmakers

Documentary filmmaker Ismail Lubish will be looking for financing and distribution deals for his new film 'Help Is on the Way' from the international pitching forum Docs by the Sea in Bali on Aug. 2-9. (Photo courtesy of Docs by the Sea)

By : Diella Yasmine | on 2:02 PM July 23, 2018
Category : Life & Style, Arts & Culture

Jakarta. Docs by the Sea, a pitching forum for documentary filmmakers organized by Indonesia's Creative Economy Agency, or Bekraf, and In-Docs, a support program for local documentary filmmakers, returns with more experts and a new funding program in partnership with local ride-sharing company Go-Jek this year.

At Docs by the Sea, documentary filmmakers from Southeast Asia and Australia will have the chance to find new network, get industry insights and obtain funding to make or distribute their movies.

A total of 31 projects will be pitched at the event, including 10 short documentary films.

The filmmakers will compete for funding and distribution support from the IF/Then program.

15 of the projects are by Indonesian documentary filmmakers.

The event will be held at Patra Kuta Hotel in Bali from Aug. 2 to Aug. 9. 42 decision makers from 31 institutions and production companies around the world will attend the pitching forum to offer distribution or financing deals.

Senior figures in the documentary film scene at the forum, who will provide feedback for projects, include Tribeca Film Institute executive director Amy Hobby, Tribeca Film Festival short film programmer John Thompson, Al Jazeera UK senior producer Aloke Devichand and Justin Deimen, the group-managing partner of Singapore's Aurora Media Holdings.

The Tribeca Film Institute, South Korea's Docs Port Incheon and International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA) will also offer partnership programs.

This is the second Docs by the Sea, after the first one last year, when four international co-productions, four television productions and six documentary films from Indonesia and Southeast Asia found financing support.

Last year, Indonesia's Shalahuddin Siregar, director of the award-winning "Negeri di Bawah Kabut" ("Land Beneath the Fog"), won more than $10,000 in funding from the Danish Embassy for "Pesantren" ("Boarding School"), a documentary about life inside an Islamic boarding school in Cirebon, West Java.

The film later got a distribution deal worth $25,000 from IDFA in November.

Another Indonesian filmmaker, Tonny Trimarsanto, received a co-production offer from Norwegian production company Stray Dog for his "My Big Sumba Family."

"Audio Perpetua," a film by Filipino director Universe Baldoza about blind people in the Philippines, received a co-production deal from Finland and more than $60,000 in financing from Kone Foundation.

Indonesian filmmaker Ismail Fahmi Lubish also took part in Docs by the Sea last year and he said the program has taught him how to create a good pitch for his film projects.

"I didn’t get any financing or distribution deal last year because I didn’t know how to do a pitch, or how to write a proposal. I'll be attending again this year, this time hopefully with a much better pitch," Ismail said.

He said the forum also helped him build a network in the film community and get some international exposures for his profile.

"I've worked on many documentary films but never had a chance to make one myself due to lack of funding. This event is great because it helps local documentary filmmakers connect with international experts and projects," he said.

Docs by the Sea's collaboration with Go-Jek this year produces a new funding program called Docs by the Sea Co-Production Fund.

In-Docs program director Amelia Hapsari said the new program will offer mentorship, distribution and financing.

A total of 22 documentary projects are eligible for the Docs by the Sea Co-Production Fund.

These include "The Last Survivor" by FX Harsono, "The Ghost Visitants" by Ismail Fahmi Lubish, "Rato and I" by Ray Nayoan, "You and I" by Fanny Chotimah, "The Flame" by Arfan Sabran, "Pesantren" by Shalahuddin Siregar and "A Brave Man Story" by Yogi Asroful Fuad.

"Documentary is the most powerful medium to educate and enrich minds. We hope to unlock a better ecosystem for filmmakers in Indonesia," Amelia said.

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