Jakarta. Offering a host of movies about people from Mohammad Hatta to Bruce Springsteen, the Erasmus Documentary Film Festival has returned to Jakarta for its fourth edition this year.
The festival runs from Sept. 6 to 13 and is held at the Erasmus Huis, next to the Dutch embassy building in South Jakarta.
A total of 39 films, both Indonesian and foreign, will be screened and entrance is free of charge. All films are screened with English subtitles.
Festival director Orlow Seunke says he realizes that documentary films may not be many people's first choice when they decide to watch a movie, but the Erasmus Documentary Film Festival could be a way to trigger people’s interest in the genre in Indonesia.
“I think it’s also a great loss that Indonesia is not interested more in documentary films because journalists and documentary filmmakers are the only ones who can reflect on the society by [showing] what is going on at the moment," he said.
One of the highlights in this festival is a three-hour documentary on former vice president Mohammad Hatta, which was filmed two years before he passed away.
There are also films about wars America is involved in, how drones are used to wage war, and a 1929 colonial-era film about Kalimantan and Sumatra.
Seunke said the festival aims to change the idea that documentary is a boring and difficult genre.
Some of the 'fun films' at the festival are music documentaries that feature legendary musicians such as B.B. King, Bjork, John Lennon, James Brown, Metallica, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones and the Scorpions. These films will show the other side of these stars, when they are not in the spotlight.
Seunke hopes the festival will also give recognition to documentary filmmakers in Indonesia.
“In Indonesia, you made five documentaries a year. I think you should make many more documentaries because the more you can discuss about your own society, the stronger your democracy becomes,” he said.
“You can measure how strong a democracy is by looking at how many subjects can be talked about openly.”