It’s a wrap! The seventh edition of Minikino Film Week, the sole festival dedicated to short film in Bali, culminated with an intimate closing ceremony on 11th September in front of a duly masked audience.
Edo Wulia, Fransiska Prihadi and I Made Suarbawa, the dynamic trio behind Minikino did not think they would be running their festival through a second year of pandemic. “We are aware that we have a limited audience this year but we want to show that we are here”, explains the ever-positive-thinking Fransiska, Minikino’s programme director. Although not as ambitious as usual, the festival remains a welcome and positive presence on the island, as Bali struggles for recovery.
Following their first experience of running the festival during the pandemic last year, the organizers have gained valuable experience and have adapted, acknowledging that the current situation may become regular in the long run. Keeping offline events to a minimum and small-scale, Minikino focused on hybrid or online events and kept building its growing remote network of partners.
In addition to the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France and Image Forum in Japan, both well-established and regular collaborators, Minikino reached out to the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival and the Seoul Yeongdeungpo International Extreme-Short Image and Film Festival (SESIFF) this year to curate special programmes and to take part in film market events or as jury board members. The festival also relied on a strong network of faithful local small-scale venue partners across the island, such as Uma Seminyak and Rumah Sanur, as well as CushCush Gallery, which reopened its doors to host some of the festival’s screenings after a one-year hiatus.
The Minikino team also explored ways of providing opportunities for young Indonesians through the festival in spite of the ongoing pandemic. A whopping 30 eager peoples with diverse scope of occupations students joined as volunteers for this year’s edition, grateful to be involved in one of the rare events dedicated to film on the island and simply happy to be able to experience togetherness again. Minikino also put in place for the first time a longer-term programme in the form of a 6-month internship to nurture four young film students, providing time and space to hone their writing skills about short films.
This spirit of openness was also clearly visible in this year’s overall programming. Although Minikino did not set a specific theme, the team’s values of open-mindedness and vision of short film as a means to provoke thinking and spark discussion was clearly reflected in both Indonesian and international entries. Bold approaches to sensitive socio-economic issues as well as reflection about the effects of the pandemic on people’s livelihoods permeated throughout the various programmes and were strongly represented in the winning films in the 10 competition categories.
The poignant I am afraid to forget your face by Egyptian filmmaker Sameh Alaa won for best short film of the year with a strong yet simple tale of love and death, touching on the harsh reality faced by women living in traditional Muslim societies. New talent Winner Wijaya won for best short in the national competition with Masa Depan Cerah 2040, a refreshing comedy addressing a serious topic, as he imagines a future in which humanity still lives under the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Jury board member for the national competition and producer John Badalu took the stage to receive the award for best short fiction film on behalf of Indonesian director Khozy Rizal for the much applauded Makassar is a City For Football Fans (Lika Liku Laki). The film questions the definition of traditional masculinity and gender boundaries, a very sensitive topic in Indonesia.
Minikino also highlighted its commitment to giving visibility to films addressing important socio-economic and political topics by teaming up for the first time with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI), an organization focusing on environmental, equality and diversity-related issues.
The RWI Asia Pacific Award, created for the occasion to support films addressing such important issues, went to The Last Breath of The Tonle Sap, a documentary chronicling the life of a family of fishermen grappling with the severe effects of climate change on their livelihoods.
This year’s programming, however, did include lighter film programmes celebrating playfulness and human warmth in true Minikino fashion, including an always much-appreciated children programme from the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.
Always looking forward and developing new ideas, Minikino offered a first virtual reality experience to a visibly excited audience with Penggantian (Replacements), an award-winning animated journey through 30 years of Jakarta’s socio-economic and political developments, created by Indonesian-French director Jonathan Hagard.
With a very positive response from the audience, Fransiska Prihadi is already thinking of opening a new VR programme for next year’s festival. Save the date, Minikino already announced its return from 2-10 September 2022.