Tolerance Film Festival kicks off at the Institut Français d'Indonésie, Jakarta, from Friday to Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Tolerance Film Festival Indonesia)

Film Festival Chips Away at Intolerance


NOVEMBER 16, 2019

Jakarta. The 4th Tolerance Film Festival has screened movies at Institut Français d'Indonésie this weekend to promote interfaith tolerance and spark discussion on issues of cultural differences, racial segregation, and religious polarity in Indonesia. 

“Intolerance in Indonesia is getting much real these days, so I encourage everyone to come, especially the intolerant ones. That’s also the reason why this festival is free for the public,” Monique Rijkers, the director of Hadassah Indonesia, a nonprofit organization that has organized the festival since 2016. 


This year, the festival runs for three days from Friday to Sunday, commemorating the World Tolerance Day that falls on Nov. 16.

“We held this event to commemorate World Tolerance Day. Initially, we held this in 2016 after the 4/11 Muslim demonstration," Monique said, referring to a massive demonstration against Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, then Jakarta governor, who had commented about preachers tricking voters using a verse from the Koran.  

"Surprisingly, many people came to learn about tolerance because of the demonstration,” Monique

There are also a few side events, including music performances and discussion about mythology and religion. Chattra Kebaya, Perempuan Berkebaya, Serumpun Bakung and Cinta Kebaya dan Budaya – communities of women who choose to wear traditional attire kebaya as a daily outfit – held a monolog about the traditional costume on the sidelines of the festival. 

Monique said the festival received a good response from the public and attracted 2,800 audiences in last year’s screening.

This year's festival showed 12 movies, including “The State Against Mandela and The Others”, a documentary about South African revolutionary Nelson Mandela; “Wei”, an Indonesian film about Chinese-Indonesian culture; “Hummus! The Movie”, about how the Jewish and Arab countries claim the chickpeas dip; and “Some Like It Veiled”, a drama-comedy about niqab and burqa controversy.

“I try to mix all ethnicity. This year, we have movies about Chinese, South African, Palestinian, Syrian, and Israelian cultures,” Monique said.

The National Anti-Terrorism Agency (BNPT) also involved in the festival, screening several educational short-movies about terrorism prevention, all of which were made by high school students.

Monique said that Hadassah Indonesia also runs a movie review competition in which the winners will get a 12-day tolerance trip to Jerusalem.

Speakers of Kebaya Monologue, a side event at the Tolerance Film Festival, in Jakarta, on Friday. (JG Photo/Nur Yasmin)
Speakers of Kebaya Monologue, a side event at the Tolerance Film Festival, in Jakarta, on Friday. (JG Photo/Nur Yasmin)