Video producer and content creator Damian Hoo believes film can play a key role in highlighting Indonesian creativity to Australian audiences.
Hoo, formerly of Brisbane and now based in Jakarta, is one of the jurors in this year’s ReelOzInd! short film festival.
Festival organisers recently confirmed a lineup for this year’s event, with jurists both new and returning, Australian and Indonesian.
“I’m really excited to be a part as I’m always interested in how to connect Indonesia and Australia,” Hoo said.
“Film is a great way to highlight how the cultures intersect and I’m hoping to see some great storytelling and some really inspirational films.”
Hoo said the festival had an opportunity to build understanding between two vastly different cultures.
“I think for Australians to see Indonesians in film and see their stories will help us look beyond the stereotypes of tourism,” he said.
“The festival will show to many Australians how wonderfully creative the Indonesian film industry can be and can inspire more connections through travel and student exchange.”
Hoo said this year’s theme of ‘quest’ or ‘pencarian’ was particularly relevant.
“It’s such a broad term but it’s a great word for creativity. The quest to find yourself? The quest to find someone, the quest to be better the next day,” he said.
“A quest is something we’re all on so I’m sure the content we see will make us all think about our lives a bit more.”
Bali-based film producer Ursula Tumiwa is another of this year’s jurists and believes the festival can contribute to deeper connections between the two countries.
“Sharing the ideas, thoughts, cultures and perspectives are the key elements of the festival.
“I believed that culture can only exist and develop with exchange. Cultural exchange also can be the catalyst of further collaboration and networking, not only for Indonesia and Australia but the whole region.”
Ursula says short films have the advantage of being inclusive.
“Short films are simpler to produce, anyone can make them and allow for the festival to truly reflect Indonesian society and its diversity.”
Ursula believes it is an exciting time for film producers following the easing of pandemic-related restrictions.
“Our filmmakers are looking forward to expressing their creativity through cooperation and the festival facilitates this new spirit of creativity,” she said.
The spirit of ‘quest’ or ‘pencarian’ is about finding meaning during times of uncertainty.
“While time is always moving forward, the quest involves the process of looking back to fulfil the needs of the future.”
Festival director Jemma Purdey said they were excited to introduce a “stellar line up of Indonesian and Australian judges for 2023”.
“We welcome back a long-time friend of the festival, director and producer Riri Riza, who was on our inaugural jury back in 2016; and an incredible new line up of brilliant and talented people like Damian and Ursula, who bring their own unique perspective,” Dr Purdey said.
“They are filmmakers, documentarians, musicians, storytellers and leaders in community action; each on their own quest to explore new ways to share our stories with each other and push boundaries.”