DOC Forum: Seeing the Work Behind Film Festival

— Program Highlight
FFD 2022

Yogyakarta, November 16, 2022 – The second day of the DOC Forum in Festival Film Dokumenter 2022 was opened with a panel discussion session entitled Seeing the Work Behind Film Festival. This discussion brought up the topic of the work behind a film festival that has always seemed invisible.  For the connoisseurs, a film festival may be as simple as showing a film to the audience. However, beyond that, there are many aspects that also contribute and some steps that must be taken to achieve the success of a film festival. There were two speakers in today’s discussion which were Annisa Rachmatika Sari and Sazkia Noor Anggraini. The presentation focused on various programmes for college students can be implemented directly into the practice of organizing film festivals. 

Films are, surely, the main treat of a film festival. The process of submitting, curating, and selecting films is a vital process that must be taken before the films finally reach the public. The explanation of film programming was brought by Annisa Rachmatika Sari who assumed that the complexity of film festivals could be discussed in the campus. Universitas Dian Nuswantoro in Semarang implemented this system by compiling 7 sustained courses. The knowledge gained by students can lead them into the world of film screening. Furthermore, Sazkia Noor Anggraini presented an explanation of the Film and Curatorial Festival program at the Institut Seni Indonesia (ISI) Yogyakarta. This program was triggered by students’ comments on the lack of campus contribution in providing fresh film references. This became the beginning of a regular film program, Sewon Screening. Since it was founded in 2015, this screening program has been incorporated into the curriculum at ISI⁠Yogyakarta as an independent assignment for students.

The presentations from both speakers sparked lively discussions from the participants of DOC Forum where they come from several regions in Indonesia representing each documentary film community. The discussion was dominated by the questions of the exact implementation of these courses in the real world.  “Campus film festivals are sometimes exclusive, do not involve the community.”, complained Dimas Erdhinta, a representative of the Solo Documentary community. This statement came to his mind when he took a look at how the Solo Documentary community was formed which also departed from the campus film community. This aspect caused a reflection on the lecture system that struggles in handling film festivals. In the future, it is hoped that the student can contribute in examining the effectiveness of film festivals that can be implemented into the course program. The assimilation between research and innovation is expected to stimulate  their concern, in order to see film festivals as a domain of distribution and networking.

Solo Documentary film community and Kupang Film Community expressed their concern about the low interest of the village community to watch films, especially documentary films. “After the food has been finished, but not for the film, the people decided to leave instead of watching the film until the end,” said one representative of the community. They assumed that the high volume of film production should be accompanied by film festivals as a place to screen the films. Both speakers began to respond this problem with the quote of Peter Bosma (2015): “The new curatorial strategy is to open up the films“, which is interpreted as a must for the film community that will organize film festivals to pay attention to the process of selling films that will be shown through attractive packaging. The films that will be screened at a film festival must be in line to the demographics of the audience.

Starting from the grievances of each film community, today’s DOC Forum discussion became a means for the film community to express their opinions and voices related to the problems experienced by each community. Every representative was on fire to voice their opinion on the obstacles to the film festival that they experienced. DOC Forum, this day, presented with hope and fresh air amidst the problems that exist through innovation as well as targeting these issues into the curriculum at the university level regarding holding film festivals. In the future, it is hoped that students can embrace the issues brought by the film community in order to meet long-term solutions. DOC Forum programs will continue until November 19, 2022 and will present another discussion about documentary film production and networking in Indonesia.