December 3-9th, 2023

This year, Festival Film Dokumenter presents 84 films from 42 production countries across 10 programs. Festival Film Dokumenter 2023 is being held at Gedung ex Bioskop Permata, Bioskop Sonobudoyo, IFI-LIP Yogyakarta, and Cemeti-Institute for Art & Society.

Festival Film Dokumenter 2023

  • If running a film festival is no easy task, then keeping it going is an even harder one. As we move into our 22nd edition, we realize that there are many challenges-or even questions-to keep it going. However, throughout these two decades, we strive to keep learning, growing, reflecting, and transforming.

    We are witnessing the long-held values of democracy being put to the test. The image of a better tomorrow contradicts the reality in which injustice and inequality are bound up all around us. There are still social ecological crisis, global emergencies, discrimination, and colonialism that keep occurring. I think we have no alternative but to continue to be optimistic. Putting optimism as an absolute necessity is one way to face the situation. For this reason, we must continue to uphold our solidarity and call for the abolition of colonialism in all its forms and everywhere.

    Documentary has always been a strong instrument to bring positive change in the world. So too, through this festival, we try to bring together stories from all over the world that we have never seen before to create a deeper connection. We are very grateful for the involvement and participation of all documentary practitioners in this year’s festival. We see the emerging and aspiring filmmakers, the daring way to voice the voiceless, and the openness of all the exhibitors to welcome documentaries have further strengthened our hope for a better transformation of our ecosystem.

    “Recording the remnants, searching for the unseen, finding insight” became an explicit tagline signaling that FFD will continue to grow. FFD is nothing but a part of the community as an active cultural agent that aims to find out and try to answer its necessities and challenges to further develop its ecosystem. We do realize that we are not alone. One thing is for sure, Indonesia’s documentary ecosystem is evolving.

    As one of Forum Film Dokumenter’s main activities, FFD continuously welcomes the possibility of embracing an integrated collaboration, which we believe can positively impact the documentary ecosystem of Indonesia and the world. This is also implemented in the development of other programs from production workshops to Indonesian documentary film database as an active participation to support the current ecosystem’s needs.

    We thank the government, whose support, opportunities, and possibilities has opened new impactful collaborations. Amidst this, all we truly need is we, as documentary practitioners, hold hands to further achieve a better tomorrow. Moreover, we hope that FFD could be a forum to synergize and collaborate to strengthen this ecosystem even more.

    As Gramsci said, “Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” Long live Indonesia documentary!


    –Kurnia Yudha F.



    Since last year, the various art events are finally back in the urban spaces, held in various sites, and fulfilled in society after the global health issue three years ago, which has limited events and gatherings. We have returned to a changed reality. Inflation, social situations, there is war in Europe, and political polarization has been crowded into the local and global context. A culture’s rhythm is its continuing and evolving narration, linking events, time, people and generation to underlying themes, archetypes, structure, values, expectations, and reoccurring motifs.

    Documentaries bring veridical representation and can be relied on from the arguments or analysis of several elements of reality to be delivered. The audience expects more reassurance from visual information which always relied as one of its strongest elements using cinematography and footage to edit realities. Cinema not only discusses the visual elements in moving images that we mean as films and how we receive and display these interactions in the right portions and dosages both in the duration of the film, as well as in various narrative forms and mediums.

    The question of how best to define the documentary film and/or video and to distinguish it from fiction film continues to fascinate and become an endless conversation. The special nature of the film medium, in particular its use of photographic images and sound recordings, has proven particularly difficult to conceptualize in relation to the fiction/nonfiction film distinction. And various hybrid films stand at the fuzzy boundaries of fiction and nonfiction, never into the (conventional) categories genre that we have known. Recently it has become dynamic in defining the expansion of documentary.

    An underlying spirit of Festival Film Dokumenter this far is how to value and dynamics perspective of the world and its changes, can unite us through various mediums and the activation in public space. The films this year are journeys across time and geographic distance that convey the rhythm of reality from various parts of the world. Is a little narrative embodying utopian/dystopian elements, how acknowledging hope as an ambivalent concept embodies in relation to the transition of individual hope to collective hope through acts of solidarity.

    Enjoy the journeys of the time cycles in a little fragment at FFD 2023!


    –Alia Damaihati

Festival Updates

Report on Festival Film Dokumenter 2023

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Indonesia Feature-Length Competition Interview with Jury Members: A Dialogue to be Heard Across Generation

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Short Competition Interview with Jury Members: The Personal is Political

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Student Competition Interview with Jury Members: Holding on Courage in Simplicity

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