Jakarta. Following on the success of its event last year, Festival Sinema Australia Indonesia, or FSAI, has returned to present outstanding films from both Australia and Indonesia.
Hosted by the Australian Embassy, the bilateral celebration offers audiences the opportunity to experience different film genres and styles with a variety of stories that represent cultures found in both countries.
Works from Indonesian and Australian alumnus are also in the lineup for this year’s festival, including Mouly Surya’s "Marlina the Murderer In Four Acts," and two films based on books by Indonesian writers – Daniel Rifki’s "Melbourne Rewind" and Quraisy Mathar’s "Melawan Takdir" ("Fighting Fate").
"Film is one of the best mediums to foster greater understanding about each other’s countries, societies and cultures," said Australian charge d’affaires Allaster Cox.
The award winning Australian film "Ali’s Wedding" by actor, writer and comedian Osamah Sami kicked off the event at XXI Cinema in South Jakarta on Thursday (25/01).
Based on the true story of Sami's life, the romantic comedy forces audiences to take a closer look into the everyday life of an Iraqi-Australian family and their surrounding community in North Melbourne.
The movie follows the story of Ali (played by Sami), the son of a Muslim cleric (Don Hany), who finds himself caught between his sense of duty to his family and following his heart.
Unwilling to disappoint his family, Ali lies about being accepted into medical school and juggles expectations of an arranged marriage while falling in love with a Lebanese girl named Dianne (Helena Sawires).
Shot in neighborhoods in Melbourne, "Ali’s Wedding" is a good intimate movie for Indonesians to peer at the community of Australian Muslims who are unified by strong family bonds and brotherhood.
"Film has the ability to connect us with each other and provides a window for us to see different characters, cultures and perspectives. It [film] is our window towards diversity," said curator and film director Kamila Andini.
Other Australian films such as Jeffrey Walker’s “Dance Academy,” Damien Walker’s “Killing Ground,” Ben Luca’s “Otherlife,” “Red Dog: True Blue” by Kriv Stenders, “Rip Tide” by Rhiannon Bannenberg and Nathan Mewett’s “Sol Bunker” will also be featured in the four-day event.
In conjunction with the event, FSAI also organized a short film competition that urges film students and independent filmmakers to tune their skills for a chance to win a trip to Australia to attend the Melbourne International Film Festival.
Kamila said the competition will provide space for new talent that can help advance the Indonesian film industry.
"We are hopeful that the competition can open up room for collaboration between Australia and Indonesia in this field."
FSAI 2018 was held in Surabaya (East Java), Denpasar (Bali) and Makassar (South Sulawesi) from Jan. 25 to Jan. 28.