Jakarta. The Creative Economy Agency, or Bekraf, will host the Akatara Indonesian Film Financing Forum – a pitching and business matchmaking event – in Jakarta on Nov. 15-16 to facilitate Indonesian filmmakers in meeting with prospective investors.
The forum was initially proposed by the Indonesian Film Body (BPI) to address local filmmakers' lack of access to funding opportunities.
Alex Sihar, Akatara program director and BPI head for policy advocacy, said investment mechanisms in Indonesia for film is still unstructured, though filmmakers are getting more productive, having produced 120 feature and 250 short films last year.
It has also been a year since the film industry was removed from the government's negative investment list, meaning that it is open to foreign shareholding.
"But our infrastructure hasn't been ready for that. Then we [BPI] came up with the idea to hold a forum with a purpose to create investment schemes for the Indonesian film industry and test them out," Alex said.
Fadjar Hutomo, Bekraf deputy for funding access, whose focus during the previous two years was developing funding schemes for emerging startups, added that the film and startup industries are similar in their "intangible" nature. It is not that they are unstructured, but investors have not been much exposed to the know-how.
"In my experience with startups, many investors told me that they knew well about investing in 'tangible' business, with physical assets such as land and machinery, because they could calculate the risk and return, but they do not know how in the case of startups," Fadjar said.
He added that there should be more diversified funding options for filmmakers, including wakaf – an Islamic concept involving donations for religious purposes – but Fadjar said it essentially means crowdfunding.
"The shariah term is wakaf, but it actually means crowdfunding. There are some titles that have used this method and there is growing enthusiasm for it," Fadjar said.
Hub for Industry Players
Akatara will not only bring together filmmakers and investors, but also other players in film distribution and exhibition.
Alex said they consider inviting big local studios, such as MD Entertainment, Starvision and Falcon Pictures.
There will also be local and foreign investors, including angel investors and philanthropists, who look for creative opportunities.
Brand managers can also take part as they often pay for product endorsements.
"We have seen in the past two years how Wardah Cosmetics did a lot of endorsements in films," Alex said.
Exhibitors and non-cinema exhibition agents for inflight entertainment, inhouse entertainment in hotels and resorts, and video-on-demand platforms are also targeted.
The organizing committee will also invite international exhibition agents.
The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association (Hipmi), and local administrations are set to take part in the forum. Alex said engaging local administrations is important to spur productivity in filmmaking in the respective regions.
Projects on Display
Forty projects will be showcased during the Akatara Forum for investors and other industry players.
Ten of them have been chosen in advance, which are special projects intended to promote Indonesia's 10 priority tourism destinations. Bekraf collaborated with the Indonesian Film Directors Club (IFDC) to select 10 projects by 10 directors.
Among those selected are Agung Sentausa, whose film about a girl facing a conflict between traditional and modern values, will be based in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, and Yosep Anggi Noen, whose adaptation of Mochtar Lubis's script will take place in Tanjung Lesung, Banten.
The directors are currently conducting research facilitated by Bekraf at the respective locations.
"We have sent the directors and their teams to the priority destinations to learn about the local cultures and other potentials, which will be useful for their projects. The outcome is to have a synopsis and trailer, which would serve as proposals to be presented to prospective investors during the Akatara Forum," said Abdur Rohim Boy Berawi, Bekraf deputy for research, education and development.
Beside the 10 destinations, Bekraf has also saved two places for projects that have been selected to represent Indonesia at Torino Film Lab, an Italy-based laboratory that primarily supports persons working on their first and second fiction feature films.
The remaining 28 slots are open to the rest of the public. Filmmakers can submit their pitches on indonesianfilmfinancing.id until Oct. 21, but they have to be as well-thought-of as possible to win a place.
"You can submit any projects, be they feature or short films, as long as they're a work of fiction. You have to fill all the details in the submission page, including synopsis, director's treatment, locations, artboard, moodboard, storyboard, business projection and cast projection," Alex said.