Jakarta. The two-day Akatara Indonesian Film Financing Forum, jointly held by the Creative Economy Agency, or Bekraf, and the Indonesian Film Council, or BPI, kicked off on Wednesday (15/11) at the Grand Mercure Hotel Harmoni in Central Jakarta, featuring 40 film projects.
Akatara itself is Bekraf’s inaugural film pitching and business matchmaking event.
The projects, whose budgets ranged from Rp 20 million- Rp 20 billion ($1.48 million), are set to be pitched to 50 local and foreign participating investors and other buyers, such as distribution and exhibition agents.
Out of the 40 films, 12 special projects were presented, 10 of which promote the Ministry of Tourism’s 10 priority destinations, known as "New Balis," while the remaining two were produced in collaboration with Torino Film Lab.
Other films presented were taken from an open call held from Sept. 9 to Oct. 21. The assessments were based on the quality of the content, production timeline, budgeting and business projection, as well as portfolios.
The list of films comprises a mix of familiar names and new ones. Heist movie project "Mencuri Raden Saleh" ("Stealing Raden Saleh"), for example, has Angga Sasongko as the producer. "Keluarga Cemara" ("Cemara Family") is an adaptation of the 1990s family television series, with producer Anggia Kharisma and scriptwriter Gina S. Noer.
"Iqro 2: My Universe," the sequel of a children’s science movie produced by Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB)’s Salman Mosque, is also part of the bunch.
On the other hand, indie productions include "Evanish," directed by Muhammad Al Fayed of Rungu Films, "Marangka the Corps Flower" by Firdauzi Trizkiyanto of Studio Amarana and "Death and Familiar Things." by Adimas Immanuel of Giren Film.
"The project owners have the chance to have one-on-one meetings and participate in the "speed-dating" session with potential investors and buyers," Bekraf deputy for funding access Fadjar Hutomo said.
He added that participating filmmakers took part in a masterclass on Nov. 14 that taught them how to market their films.
Boosting Indonesia's Film Industry
Films were removed from the government’s negative investment list last year, which means the industry is now open for foreign shareholding up to 100 percent. Not many foreign companies seized the opportunity, though, except for Fox International Productions, which agreed to co-produce the upcoming "Wiro Sableng 212," and South Korea’s cinema chain Lotte Cinema, which secured their principle license to build movie theaters in Indonesia.
Investors are still hesitant to put their money in film, especially film production, mainly because of the unpredictable risk and gain. According to Bekraf head Triawan Munaf, another purpose of Akatara is to map out schemes that work best for those interested in investing in the local film industry.
"It would be better if investors understand the business models for film so that they can also contribute ideas. They also have useful networks. Some of them even have media, which can be utilized for the film’s promotions," he told reporters.
Though he said that it is too early for Bekraf to target how many projects will obtain funding, he believes events like Akatara are important to boost productivity of local films because filmmakers will be more confident in getting their projects funded.
"We’ve planned to host Akatara twice a year," Triawan said.
In his keynote speech, he also gave a shout-out to the Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) deputy for small-medium enterprises and creative economy Erik Hidayat, who was in attendance, to remind investors that film is a promising field to invest in, just like mining and transportation.
Films only contributed 0.4 percent to Indonesia’s creative economy gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015 and 2016. Triawan hopes that percentage will rise up to 1 percent through the boost of productivity of local films.