Sun, 20 Feb 2000

KKF festival to honor best local films

By Gotot Prakosa

JAKARTA (JP): Illegal VCDs are easily found in shops and along the sidewalks here. They are even available in remote villages. The poor sound and picture of these illegal VCDs are appropriate, since the majority of these films are not good, as judged by the standards of film esthetics.

In fact, many films shown in the cinemas and which later become available on laser disc, VCDs or television are commercial products with a view only to financial gain, neglecting educative and aesthetic elements. What is shown is everything which does not represent the positive elements of the growth of a nation's culture.

Violence and pornography often dominate. According to producers and brokers, it is exactly these kinds of films that are sought by the public. Therefore the import of such films is difficult to stop. Another factor is the absence of quality choices. Film lovers can only get what is available on the market.

Therefore, efforts are needed to introduce various genres of film to the public. This should start with a number of good film forms which also represent the scope of a nation's culture. The introduction of different genres of film would enable the public to make comparisons with films that are mere commodities.

The Kine Klub (KKF) offers an alternative way to look for different genres of film. It provides at the same time a balance to the various global trends one finds in cinemas, on television, at video stores and on the illegal VCD market.

The club is an association of people who love films. They share as their common objective the desire to organize exhibitions and other activities which will help the community develop an appreciation for quality films.

The Indonesian Kine Klub National Secretariat, with unites over 100 Kine Klubs from 14 provinces across the country, is currently organizing the 2000 Kine Klub Film Festival. The event will essentially carry on the tradition of the Indonesian Film Festival, which saw its demise in 1992. All films produced since 1993 will be eligible for the competition.

The festival will bestow Kine Klub Awards in the categories of best director, best script writer, best screen writer, best actor and actress, favorite actor and actress, best sound, best editing, life-time achievement director and life-time achievement actor and actress.

Unfortunately, there have been few films produced in the past decade, and most of them fall into the category of soft- pornography.

Fourteen films have been nominated for the awards and they will be screened at Gedung Film, Jl. MT Haryono, South Jakarta, from Feb. 23 to Feb. 25. During this same period, Pusat Perfilman Usmar Ismail on Jl. Rasuna Said, South Jakarta, will feature a film retrospective.

The awards will be presented on Feb. 26, and the ceremony will be broadcast by a private television station.

Apart from showing quality films not available in cinemas or on video, the Kine Klub offers other activities related to film, including organizing workshops for its members.

Jakarta boasts dozens of Kine Klubs. In addition, there are now so-called cultural pockets such as Teater Utan Kayu (TUK), Lingkar Mitra Budaya, art galleries (which often organize film programs) and campuses. Bandung has the ITB Kine Klub, Salatiga the Satyawacana Kine Klub, Yogyakarta the Bulaksumur Kine Klub, Semarang has SIFILMS and there are Kine Klubs in Bali, Lombok and several cities in Sumatra, Sulawesi and Kalimantan.

These clubs exist mainly in larger cities. Someday, the main towns in regencies may also boast Kine Klubs. It is earnestly hoped that this will be followed by the establishment of Kine Klubs in smaller towns. The objective is to create a balance with the commercial films which continue to inundate the country's cinemas.

Kine Klubs or cultural pockets in the regions may someday be organized and independent of Jakarta, forming an alternative film network managed in a semi-professional way. This would mean that their activities would be limited to members who pay a small fee to, say, rent a film. Thus, the Kine Klubs would provide an alternative distribution network for filmmakers, thus enabling these artists to continue creating their works.

Each Kine Klub in the region would grow and set critical standards for the films to be shown. Members of the clubs would also be able to study filmmaking themselves at workshops organized by the clubs. Film could then grow across Indonesia and describe the variety of thoughts prevailing across this vast archipelago we all share. That is the sincere hope of film lovers.

The Kine Klub of the Jakarta Arts Council was established in 1968 and continues to present selected films today. However, its limitations are clear. The films it shows are mostly obtained from embassies and foreign cultural institutes in Jakarta. A number of years ago its activities moved to the H. Umar Ismail film center, because the Jakarta Arts Council no longer has a proper venue for showing films since a number of its buildings in the Taman Ismail Marzuki arts center were demolished to make way for more modern buildings. The economic crisis, sadly, forced construction to halt, leaving a water-filled hole like a giant fish pond where the foundation for the new building was to go.