Enam Belas Film Festival (Sixteen Film Festival) aims to support the 16 Days of Activism campaign against gender-based violence. (Photo courtesy of Enam Belas Film Festival)

Indonesian Filmmakers Unite Against Gender-Based Violence


NOVEMBER 20, 2017

Jakarta. Each year, starting with International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Nov. 25, the world celebrates 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, which end on Dec. 10 with International Human Rights Day.

The annual global campaign was first held in 1991.

Indonesian entertainment industry players united by the #GerakBersama network, Kalyanashira Films and 100% Human Film Festival will host Enam Belas Film Festival (16 Film Festival) in the greater Jakarta area at CineSpace in Tangerang, Banten, Galeri Indonesia Kaya and Kineforum in Central Jakarta, and at Paviliun 28 and Art Society in South Jakarta.

Screenings will also be held in Bengkulu city (Bengkulu), Jambi city (Jambi), Bandar Lampung (Lampung), Depok and Bandung (West Java), Yogyakarta, Semarang (Central Java), Surabaya (East Java), Denpasar (Bali), Makassar (South Sulawesi) and Keerom (Papua).

Film director Nia Dinata, who initiated the festival with activist Lini Zurlia, said at a press conference on Friday (17/11) at Art Society in Jakarta that campaigning against gender-based violence "has no expiry date," because it is always relevant.

"As a filmmaker, I use film as my tool to advocate for what is right. I am interested in everything related to film, especially when we use it as a means to inspire, to empower people who have been oppressed or assaulted," she told reporters.

As the government has yet to ratify the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill, this kind of activism is expected to accelerate the process.

This year, as of November, the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) recorded 5,747 cases of sexual violence. One of the most recent incidents happened in Bengkulu, where a 15-year-old girl was gang-raped by 20 men earlier this month.

"There is an increasing awareness on the issue of gender-based violence, but at the same time the forms of violence vary. … We will urge the government to ratify the bill so that justice can be served," Komnas Perempuan chairwoman Azriana Manalu said.

Azriana praised the initiative to host the festival, saying that it is a wave of positive energy. Having celebrities such as Reza Rahadian, Chelsea Islan, Lukman Sardi, Putri Ayudya and Vivi Yip as the festival's ambassadors is expected make it reach a wider public.

Reza said that as victims of sexual violence are mostly women, men have to step up and speak against it.

Nia said that both men and women are prone to experience abuse. The problem is triggered by feelings of superiority and power.

"It happens when we feel that we're above others in terms of economic, social or professional status. There are no cases of employees, male or female, harassing their bosses. It's always the other way around. … The challenge is always the same: how to remain kind and compassionate when you have power, how to desist from abusing it," she said.

Thirty-two local feature and short films revolving around social issues will be screened throughout the festival.

The feature films include Nia Dinata's "Ca Bau Kan," Djenar Maesa Ayu's "Hush" and "Nay," Ucu Agustin's "Di Balik Frekuensi" ("Behind Frequency"), Lucky Kuswandi's "Selamat Pagi, Malam" ("In the Absence of the Sun") and "Madame X," Manuel Alberto Maia's "Nokas," and "Perempuan Punya Cerita" ("Chants of Lotus") by Nia Dinata, Lasja Fauzia Susatyo, Upi Avianto and Fatimah Tobing Rony.

Meanwhile, Joko Anwar's "Waiting Room," Luki Herwanayogi's "On Friday Noon," and William Chandra's "Guk" are among the short films.

There will also be discussions regarding the issue of sexual violence. The festival's full schedule will soon be released on its Facebook page.

Organizers and ambassadors present at the press conference also read the "16 Pledges of End This!" which include a vow not to commit race-, class-, gender-, religion-, and sexual identity-based violence.