The ReelOzInd! short film festival is delighted to announce that it has received funding to bring its rich archive to teachers and students of the Indonesian language.

The $20,000 grant from the Australia Indonesia Institute will be used to create a teaching resource pack that can be used in primary and secondary schools to encourage the learning of an important Asian language.

Since 2016 the festival’s director, Jemma Purdey, has been creating a platform where emerging Indonesian and Australian filmmakers can tell their stories. She says she saw the opportunity to take that further by using the material to help schools with their language courses.

“Now more than ever, with mobility between our countries limited, by taking advantage of new opportunities offered through increased use of technologies, this project provides a vital connection to Indonesian language and culture for teachers and students here in Australia.”

“If the bilateral relationship is to continue to thrive, language learning is critical, said Dr Purdey.

The Minister for Defence, Marise Payne, announced 13 recipients that would share in the $460,000 grants program.

She said the projects would strengthen cooperation between the two countries, in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a shared commitment to regional recovery.

According to Dr Purdey, the archive includes dozens of short films on universal themes.

“These are stories that look at peer pressure, relationships and family struggles, to the big global challenges of our time, the impacts of climate change, natural disasters and the pandemic,” she said.

The ReelOzInd! short film festival is supported by the Australia-Indonesia Centre.

The annual festival’s aim is to generate greater awareness between the two countries through cultural exchange and storytelling. The event moved online as a result of the pandemic and continues to attract strong interest from noted filmmakers and directors, and has built up an archive of documentary, animation and fiction short films.