A lone patient rests at the Al Fajar Berseri psychiatric ward in Bekasi, West Java. (Antara Photo/Risky Andrianto)

Jakarta Film Festival Aims to Remove Stigma on Mental Illness


OCTOBER 06, 2017

Jakarta. Kolektif Sayang Jiwa, a new group seeking to raise awareness on mental health issues, will be hosting a film festival and a series of discussions on mental health from Friday to Sunday, Oct. 6-8, at Kineforum in Cikini, Central Jakarta.

Entitled "Sayang-Sayangilah Jiwamu" (Love, Love Your Soul), the festival will comprise screenings of Indonesian films and discussions with filmmakers and mental health experts.

The event was initiated and organized by film producer Mandy Marahimin, film journalist Amalia Sekarjati, film scholar and critic Eric Sasono, writers Gratiagusti Chananya Rompas and Mikael Johani and public relations expert Waraney Herald Rawung.

The event is expected to remove the stigma on mental illness as well as educate audience on how to recognize its symptoms and how to seek the right treatment. The idea for the festival started with the realization that mental illness remains a taboo subject in Indonesia, which makes it hard for those who suffer from it and their caregivers to seek professional help.

"We hope to remove the stigma on mental illness, so that everyone can talk about it freely, recognize its symptoms and get immediate help," Mandy said in a press release.

The festival will kick off with a screening of a film on the travails of a bipolar disorder sufferer, "At the Very Bottom of Everything," on Friday, Oct. 6, at 7.30 p.m. A discussion with the film director, Paul Augusta, will follow after the screening.

Director and writer Djenar Maesa Ayu will have two of her movies screened at the festival, "Saia" and "hUSh," on Saturday from 4.30 p.m., followed by a discussion with Djenar herself and hUSh co-director Kan Lume. Both films tackle the issues of sexual violence and trauma.

On the last day of the festival on Sunday, Oct. 8, there will be a medley of documentaries, "Breaking the Chains" — a harrowing look on the brutal practice of pasung (shackling) for schizophrenics in Indonesia — and "Heaven for Insanity” starting at 4.30 p.m.

After the double session, there will be a discussion on mental health issues in Indonesia featuring psychiatrist Endah Ronawulan, Indonesian Community Care for Schizophrenia (KPSI) member Heri Purwanto, legal expert and researcher Albert Wirya from Community Legal Aid Institute and disability activist Yeni Rosa Damayanti. The three will discuss the appropriate treatment for mental disorder patients, how to support them and the rights they are entitled to as citizens of the country.

The festival will conclude with a screening of Joko Anwar's 2009 movie, "Pintu Terlarang" (The Forbidden Door), at 7.30 p.m, a more politicized version of Sekar Ayu Asmara's gothic-thriller novel on schizophrenia.

Further information about the festival can be accessed here.