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String Movie Maniacs Seminar: "Viewing Indonesia through Independent Films"
Sastra Inggris | 20 May 2019
String Movie Maniacs Seminar: "Viewing Indonesia through Independent Films" :: Fakultas Sastra USD Yogyakarta

Sunday, May 19 afternoon saw a discussion held by the official film club of Sanata Dharma’s English Letters Department, String Movie Maniacs, officially entitled “Melihat Indonesia Melalui Film Independen” (“Viewing Indonesia through Independent Films”).Located in the conference room of Sanata Dharma University’s LPPM Lembaga Bahasa, the discussion, as its name entails, was overall concerned with the industry of independent movies in Indonesia and how it has helped highlight several interesting aspects of Indonesian daily lives which mainstream production houses have very rarely touched, with its tendency on metrocentrism—fixation on the privileged, metropolitan city life. The discussion was moderated by Clara Pontifisia from the year 2016 and led by Maria Rosiana Sedjahtera as well as Arie Surastio, two award-winning independent movie directors.

The first half of the discussion was helmed by Maria Rosiana Sedjahtera, a creator who is also still a 2015 student of psychology in Sanata Dharma. It began with a screening of her short film Biru (“Blue”), a stop-motion animation about a prominent vice of the Indonesian daily life which its target demographics—teenagers and adults—are intimately familiar with: procrastination. Maria Rosiana created the movie in one years’ time and it successfully managed to earn two recognitions in the international sphere among others, namely Mostra Internacional de Cinema Educatiu 2016 in Spain and L’Inconnu Festival 2016 in France. The discussion then delved into the meaning of “independent film” within the cultural sphere of Indonesia, which in the opinion of Maria Rosiana is looser as the term itself in the film industry of the United States referred to films created independently from the umbrella industry of Hollywood. She added that since even major film production houses in Indonesia are still considered small-scale and not all-encompassing when compared to Hollywood, it would not be fitting to restrict the term to films not made under these production houses.

 

 

Arie Surastio then proceeded to lead the second half of the discussion, starting it with his short film Polah (“The Moves”). Compared to Biru, Polah is a more complex, avant-garde film, the story of which is about the supernatural struggles of a horse owner trying to break free from a female spirit who has enthralled him under her absolute command. In this film, Arie Surastio tries to shed light on the now much-overlooked mystical aspects of life in rural Javanese culture, inspired by his own experience with his father who suddenly made a choice to turn into mysticism. Regarding the meaning of “independent film” itself, Arie Surastio asserted at the end of his discussion that in Indonesia it can be perceived as a reactionary movement against its own repressive social norms. (Julia Noor Abdillah)

 

 

 

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