South to South Film Festival 2008: Jakarta, West Java

A number of non-governmental environmental organizations will hold the South to South Film Festival 2008 at the Goethe Institute in Central Jakarta from Jan. 25 to Jan. 27. The festival, which has been organized by the Jatam mining advocacy network, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) and Forest Watch, will screen 16 documentary films from 11 countries, including Indonesia, Guatemala, India, the Philippines, Malaysia, the Czech Republic and Australia.

“The festival is aimed at raising public awareness on the environmental damage here. We hope many people will come to the free festival,” Jatam coordinator Siti Maimunah told a press conference here Tuesday as A. Junaidi explains.

Maimunah said most of the films in the festival, which is titled “Vote for Life“, come from developing countries with rich natural resources, but where many people live in poverty.

Walhi chairman Chalid Muhammad said the festival’s theme came out of the idea that environmental issues could not be separated from legal and political aspects.

“So, the festival also aims to ask people to vote for leaders who have great concern for the environment in next year’s general elections,” Chalid said in the conference.

Meanwhile, film director Rizki Rinanto Sigit, whose film Teluk Jakarta Under Pressure will be screened at the festival, welcomed the event, saying that many documentary filmmakers needed a special arena to show their work.

“There are many documentary filmmakers, but we have a limited place to show our work. So the festival is very good for us,” Sigit said at the conference.

He said his film was about the damage done to Jakarta by garbage and the city’s poor planning system.

He said the public could also learn how to make a documentary as the festival would organize a discussion with filmmakers, including Mira Lesmana and Javari Firdaus, at the Goethe Institute on Jan. 26 and Jan 27.

Malaysian director Hilary Chiew is scheduled to attend the discussions to speak about her film Penusa Tana (The Forgotten Struggle).

Besides the discussions, the festival will hold a photo exhibition which will display pictures of environmental damage in developing countries.