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Kamila Andini: Two Indonesian films compete in the APSA 2012

  • Cynthia Webb

    Contributor

Gold Coast, Australia | Wed, October 17 2012 | 11:40 am

Kamila Andini. JP/Cynthia Webb

Nominations for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA) 2012 were announced on Oct. 12.

The list of 34 nominations contained great news for Indonesia’s film industry, with two films being included.

Kamila Andini’s Laut Bercermin or The Mirror Never Lies, is one of five films nominated in the Best Children’s Feature Film category. This film has already received several nominations and wins at leading film festivals around Southeast Asia.

Shalahuddin Siregar’s documentary Negeri di Bawah Kabut (The Land beneath the Fog) is also nominated. His film has already won a prize at the Dubai Film Festival, in March this year.

Shalahuddin Siregar, who comes from Aceh, made the documentary in Central Java, with shooting starting in 2006. He gained financial support from the Goethe Institute to make the film, which portrays the lives and struggles of two families in the village of Genikan on the slopes of Mt. Merbabu.

The effects of climate change as well as the creeping influence of modernization and consumerism are now being felt in this remote, traditional Javanese village. It’s a place where the peace and slow pace of life used to follow the ancient Javanese calendar but now, with changes in the weather, which are assumed to be caused by climate change, the calendar is no longer a true guide for the locals’ planting and harvesting.

Nine films from Indonesia were submitted to the APSA panel, among a total of 264 films from 18 Asia-Pacific countries.

The awards ceremony will be held at the Queensland Performing Arts Center on Nov. 23 in Brisbane, and can be viewed live via APSA’s website. It is also going to be televised to 44 countries across Asia, India and the Pacific via ABC’s Australia Network; and it will be broadcast in Australia by the SBS Network, which is renowned for showing the best cinema and documentaries from around the world in their regular programming schedules.

For the first five years of its history, APSA was held on the Gold Coast, a beachfront holiday city about 80 kilometers south of Brisbane.

Twenty-six-year-old Kamila Andini is the daughter of noted director Garin Nugroho, and in March this year, she became the wife of film director Ifa Isfansyah, famous for films including Sang Pemimpi and Garuda di Dadaku. Is this an Indonesian film dynasty in the making?

Dini (as she is called) attended Deakin University in Melbourne, Austalia, where she studied sociology and media arts. She displayed a gift for filmmaking early on with short films, leading to this, her first feature film. Dini is an experienced scuba diver and loves the ocean, a contributory factor that attracted her to this project. Reflections of the Ocean was shot on location in Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi and is set among the sea gypsies, or Bajo people, whose unique lifestyle is documented in this film that contains ravishing images. The worlds both above and below the surface of the ocean are “home” for the Bajo, whose bamboo homes are built on jetties above the water.

For Dini, the Bajo people symbolize the fact that Indonesia is a nation of islands and they, who know the sea so intimately, remind Indonesians to look at the sea not as a separator, but as a linking and binding factor of the nation.

The film only attracted small audiences in Jakarta and other cities when it was screened back in May 2011, but it has received far greater appreciation in other countries at a variety of film festivals. However, it is now developing quite a reputation, and a nomination at the prestigious APSA is confirmation of its worth, which was sadly overlooked at home.

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