Indonesian, South Korean filmmakers seek partnership

Illustration.
Illustration. Jakob Owens/Unsplash.

It only takes seconds for avid moviegoer Dominique Jessica to recall the titles of her favorite South Korean movies of all time, such as My Sassy Girl (2001) and A Werewolf Boy (2012).

Indeed, the 24-year-old has long been affected by the Korean cultural wave, or Hallyu, which has turned her into a die-hard fan of many Korean-made entertainment products, including movies and K-pop.

“Korean actors are so handsome. Besides, Koreans have always produced dramas with interesting plots,” said Dominique, who lives in Tangerang, Banten.

Hence, she was delighted to learn that Indonesian filmmakers are seeking opportunities to coproduce movies with their Korean counterparts. She believes the collaboration could pave the way for many talented Indonesian actors and directors to learn from the best and gain popularity among the global audience.

In an effort to promote such collaboration, the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) invited this week major players from the Korean film industry to Jakarta to meet and exchange ideas with local filmmakers in the K-Cinema Global Networking event, which commenced on Aug. 10.

Representatives from at least 19 Korean film-production houses, including entertainment giants CJ Group and Showbox, and filmmakers representing local companies, such as Falcon Pictures and Miles Productions, have registered as participants in the three-day event.

Korean Film Council (Kofic) future strategy division chief director Lee Sang-seok applauded the event and expressed his interest in exploring cooperation opportunities involving movie-makers from the two countries.

“We are open to working together in a coproduction model, as the Indonesian market, with a population of around 250 million people, has great potential to be developed further,” he said.

Earlier in February, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration announced the removal of the movie industry from the nation’s negative investment list (DNI), as part of its 10th economic stimulus package aimed at reviving sluggish growth. The government expects the new policy to allow greater foreign investment in the industry.

However, five months after the removal, the legal infrastructure to support the plan is still far from ideal, preventing filmmakers and potential investors from enjoying direct benefits from the policy, including streamlined permit issuances and production incentives.

Bekraf deputy for institutional and regional relations Endah Sulistianti previously said a convoluted system for managing paperwork had discouraged foreign investors from producing movies in this country.

During a working visit to South Korea in May, Jokowi signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation in the creative economy sector, including film-making.

South Korea is regarded as a strategic partner for Indonesia. Currently, it is ranked the seventh-biggest box office market in the world, with US$1.37 billion in revenue last year, surpassing Germany, Australia and Mexico, according to Kofic.

Kofic chairman Kim Sae-hoon also stated that the total annual movie-ticket sales in Korea now exceeded 200 million, with the number surpassing 100 million every year since 2013. Considering South Korea’s population of only around 50 million, he said the country’s average ticket sales per capita were among the highest in the world.

Korean filmmakers frequently collaborate with foreign production houses, such as those from Thailand, China and the US. Showbox, for instance, has teamed up with American horror moviemaker Blumhouse Productions and Chinese entertainment company Huayi Brothers to produce films together in recent years.

“Coproduction has become indispensable in financing films. Support in the form of public funds and tax incentives, whether selective or automatic, have also assisted the film industry to develop and produce content,” said Indonesian film producer Fauzan Zidni of Cinesurya Pictures.

However, Association of Indonesian Film Producers (APROFI) chairwoman Sheila Timothy said the results of cooperation could not be seen immediately.

“The real results might not be seen clearly until next year, as the negotiation process could take at least six months,” she said.

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Note
1. This story was first published in The Jakarta Post newspaper.

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