Indonesian Film Industry Needs More Alternative Exhibitions

After the apparent downfall period in 1990-2000, Indonesian film industry has raised both in number and quality. According to, there were 141 film released in 2018, increased 21.6 percent from the number of film released in 2017. Moreover, 14 of them had more than 1 million viewers in cinema theaters last year. 

Besides that, many Indonesian films also won various prestigious international festivals such as Prenjak (2016) in Cannes Film Festival and Kado (2018) in Venice Film Festival. What made it more interesting is that most of those films are produced by small production houses outside Jakarta, which means that the big production houses in Jakarta are not the only important actors.

Prenjak was produced and directed by Wregas Bhanuteja and his team at Studio Batu, a small production house in Yogyakarta. This city has been known as the creative city with many talented creative workers. Film is one of their output in creative production.

Ipung as the head of filmmakers’ community in Yogyakarta said that filmmakers in that city has been producing alternative or non-commercial films for more than a decade. However, their films were not always available in the commercial theaters for exhibition. They can only show their films in few domestic festivals, despite the fact their films have been recognized in international level.

Alongside Yogyakarta, Makassar is another city with growing number of filmmakers. Unlike Yogyakarta, nonetheless, their filmmakers have exhibited their films in the commercial theaters, mostly in the local area. Despite this, filmmakers in Makassar, such as Amril Nuryan from Finisia Production, complained about the limited access for local filmmakers to screen their films in commercial theaters compared to film produced by big production houses from Jakarta.

Entering the commercial theater screening is not easy. Commercial theaters in Indonesia are dominated by big cinema theaters such as XXI Cinema, CGV, and Cinemaxx. They usually exhibit imported films, mostly from Hollywood and Indonesian films produced by big production houses. The small production houses’ access to big theaters screening is limited, even if the films have won prestigious international film festivals.

On the other hand, most of the filmgoers attend those big cinemas since there are only limited alternative film exhibitions. The existence of alternative film exhibitions is almost unheard by Indonesian filmgoers since they are usually noncommercial and have limited promotions. Furthermore, types of alternative exhibitions in Indonesia are mostly film festivals which, again, limited to some professions related to filmmaking process.

Hence, there are two film categories in Indonesia: alternative and commercial films. Commercial films are those films showed in the mainstream big cinema theaters. Meanwhile, alternative films are those screened outside the mainstream big theaters.  Film alternatives are showcased in the festivals with limited viewers and most of them are not showcased in the big theaters cinema.

Alternative filmmakers hoped to have more viewers which can only occur if we have more alternative exhibitions. For example, Yogyakarta has a Klub DIY Menonton (DIY Watching Films Club) which often screen alternative films and discuss about them with an aim to expand their information about a film, as well as to improve their film production since the members of this club are mostly also filmmakers. The local government has also supported the alternative exhibition by holding alternative film exhibition every Friday afternoon in the office.

Meanwhile, in Makassar, there is no space for alternative screening, though the film productions are growing. Most of them are waiting for the certainty to show their film in cinema theaters since the local cinema exhibitions prioritize to show films from Hollywood and Jakarta. The government can only support the local filmmakers by holding some film festivals with limited viewers, though the filmmakers themselves said that they need alternative exhibitions.

Therefore, alternative exhibition is important to film production. The alternative exhibitions in proper cinema theatres with sufficient seat capacity are needed, hence they can attract more filmgoers. The alternative exhibitions also can bring more profit to the filmmakers as well as give them pride when their films can be watched by many people since some films are produced to tell an important message to the society. The existence of alternative exhibitions can encourage them to produce more films, both in quantity and quality. 

Sumber foto: TripTrus.Com