BALI – Bali International Film Festival (BALINALE) came to a close with the screening of the critically-acclaimed epic Bumi Manusia (This Earth of Mankind) directed by Hanung Bramantyo (Indonesia) and based on the novel by Pramoedya Ananta Toer. The director, and lead actresses Sha Ine Febriyanti & Ayu Laksmi were in attendance to present the film and meet with the enthusiastic audiences. A candid Q&A following the screening gave insights to the story behind the making of such an epic film.
During the festival, organizers and the jury presented awards to the selected films as follows.
- Best Feature: Saeng-Il (Birthday) (Director Jong-Un Lee, Republic of Korea) The film was produced by Lee Chang-dong who participated in the festival in 2010 with his award-winning Shi (Poetry)
- Best Documentary: Bruce Lee and The Outlaw (Director Joost Vandebrug, Netherlands)
- Best Short Subject: The Wind Phone (Director Kristen Gerwick, USA)
- Gary L Hayes Award for Best Emerging Indonesian Filmmaker: Director Rama Bayu Aji, for his Sarvani Bhutani (All Living Beings)
- Special Mention was given by the jury to Rishi Chandna (India) for his short film Tungrus. The jury stated that “it was extraordinarily difficult for us to choose just one film in each category as the selection was a wonderful mix of styles and stories all with exceptional quality.” “Balinale has grown each year and this time we were pleased to include an outstanding selection of films from Indonesia,” said Bali Film Center Director and Balinale Founder Deborah Gabinetti. In all, 28 countries were represented by 93 films and saw a record number of audiences at each screening. Screenings included several World, Asian and International Premieres. An affiliation was established with Berlin International Film Festival Berlinale Spotlight: Generation program of short films.
The 13th annual festival kicked off with the Asian Premiere of The King (2019) (UK, Hungary, Australia) direct from its triumphant World Premiere at the Venice Film Festival. The historical drama was directed by David Michôd and co-written by Michôd and Joel Edgerton. The film stars Oscar-nominated Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris, Lily-Rose Depp, Robert Pattinson, and Ben Mendelsohn. Michôd previously attended Balinale in 2010 with internationally acclaimed Animal Kingdom.
2019 also featured the third BalinaleX Industry Forum that included Hollywood and regional executives, plus producers and filmmakers with Indonesian and international experience. They freely discussed policy, work ethic and funding opportunities for possible future collaborations in film, television and new platforms. BalinaleX’s reputation for encouraging an open dialogue on a local industry that’s dynamic and thriving continues to galvanize established and emerging filmmakers. BalinaleX 2019 speakers included directors; Richard Oh (Perburuan), Ismail Basbeth (Woo Woo, Potret Diri), producers Andreas Tika (Foxtrot Six), Cornelio Sunny (If This is My Story)…all with films shown in the festival. Robin Gurney, former Senior VP, Original Programming for Showtime Networks Inc and Donna Smith long standing Hollywood studio executive spoke about the potential Indonesia has to offer an international production.
One notable guest speaker was Rizal Ramli, economist and reformer of several of Indonesia’s resource zones. Rizal remarked on the obvious benefits of film to a country’s economy and how industry events like Balinale attract positive attention to a destination.
GFS Indonesia’s Julian Grimmond told the forum, “It’s a sure bet, as the international film industry sees the great creative talents of Indonesia, that within ten years, this nation’s film industry will take a leading position. We’re going to see multiple producers capitalize Indonesian film projects.”
The annual Family Film Day was provided to the community on the final day of the festival to an appreciative audience of young people. Other complimentary events included Cinema Without Wall, an outreach program for young filmmakers, and an acting workshop with veteran acting coach Rukman Rusadi. (*)