What was once thought of as a country that has the least amount of movie screens, Indonesia’s film industry is steaming ahead to become the most prominent cinema capital in Southeast Asia and the regions beyond.
Not only will this be a welcoming development among domestic filmmakers. It is also seen as a huge boon for big Hollywood studios, which has long been suffering less-than-impressive blockbuster revenues in Indonesia for the past few decades.
No Time for Fun
Out of the 11 member-states of Southeast Asia, Indonesia has the biggest population. This, in turn, makes the Emerald of the Equator the largest economy in the lot.
Despite this fact, Indonesia’s film industry is barely holding on to existence. According to the Southeast Asia Globe, the country pays little to no attention to the business as evident to the absence of film schools. Some universities do offer filmmaking education programmes, but there’s only few to be found.
Moreover, Indonesia had just well over 1,000 movie screens, of which more than half of them are found in Java, the most populous island in the archipelago. In comparison, India boasts nearly around 15,000 theatres. Needless to mention, its neighbour, the Philippines, enjoys a bustling movie industry which rakes in close to 50 million Filipino movie-goers ever year.
But all these numbers will soon become a thing of the past.
A Renewed Interest
Realizing the huge potential this country holds, the Joko Widodo administration went on to approve a policy permitting full foreign ownerships of Indonesia’s 35 business sectors and this includes the film business. Previously, this has been closed to foreign investments.
Citing the statement from then chairman of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKMP), Franky Sibarani, it is the goal of the government to “increase both demand and supply in the film industry.”
In fact, BKMP is looking at this policy that particularly favors filmmaking as the key to boost the entire Indonesian economy.
“The creative economy will be the backbone of our economy,” Sibarani said.