TFT x FFI: Lukman Sardi on Indonesian Film Industry So Far

As the director of Indonesian Film Festival (FFI) for the 2018 – 2020 period, this award-winning actor and producer wants to push fellow Indonesian filmmakers to up the ante. Lukman believes that a movie is also about the audience’s knowledge and understanding about the films and its elements.

In order to share the passion about the film industry and the movies, Lukman led several movie screenings and discussions to engage with the public about film literacy. The same initiative was organized through National Cultural Week in October last year. Targeting millennials and generation Z in this engagement, Lukman aims to shape the mind of Indonesian spectators about movie quality.

Back then Indonesian film industry went on a sleeping mode for quite some years. Then it got its attention again circa 2001 and 2002 during the AADC era, Indonesian cinema was woke. And since then, the progress can be seen up to the present day, but does the quality match with the quantity?
“Indonesian cinema has once faded years ago and got back on its feet, but everything starts again from zero. Jailangkung, Petualangan Sherina, Ada Apa Dengan Cinta marked new filmmakers who breathed a new passion and enthusiasm in the film industry. But that does not mean it all went smoothly, seeing as the nature of movies is subjectivity—to each their own preference, thus the trend also changes from to time and the Indonesian audience is also growing. And these tendencies shaped how the film market continues to evolve and how Indonesian filmmakers can determine their target market. Naturally, the growing number of movie production must be equaled to that of quality. One of the ways to do this is to organize workshops, the objective is to provide a comprehensive film literacy content to the audience so that they get the gist of what qualifies as a good movie.”
So far, there are a lot of genres and a lot of new directors as well. It is a fast growing market, but in your opinion, what makes Indonesian movies unique?

“When talking about distinctiveness, Indonesia has a refined narrative; how diverse our country is that we have a lot of local languages. This makes it unique, but at the same time it’s also complicated. In comparison to other homogenous countries, they have their own color that can be seen in the movies, but this is a challenge that needs to be explored, for all of us to develop together. At FFI, we have a saying that movies must depict diversity and mutual support. Through the many problems this country faces, sometimes we forget that Indonesia is the home of cultural diversity, it is crucial to realize that diversity is our core characteristic. Diversity and humanity are important aspects in Indonesian films, and it’s something that we need to portray to the outside world about our local movies.”

How does FFI play its role to boost the Indonesian audience in order for them to appreciate Indonesian movies more?

“Actually, people have shown a great sense of appreciation towards Indonesian movies, as seen from the increasing number of viewership in the cinema. Last year alone, Indonesian films have collected an astounding 50 million viewers. So the next task is to provide an understanding of movie quality, from the aesthetics of the film, the acting skill from the actors and actresses, the talented crew, and many other elements. These qualities are what the FFI committees consider in terms of nominating an award. So that’s why it’s important to equip public with screening and discussion films that are nominated by FFI. And through these gradually deepened sense of understanding of what defines a good movie in viewer’s eyes, the harder these filmmakers will push themselves to deliver high qualities movies in the future.”

Today, we are spoiled with online applications that allow us to watch movies everywhere and anytime we want. We’re curious as to how does this fact affect the cinema and the film industry itself?
“We cannot deny that in this digital age, people have easy access to watch whichever movies they want, there are already so many online streaming apps that allow us to watch movies anywhere and anytime.  A lot of foreign filmmakers out there have also cooperated and produced movies only for these apps in order to gain more viewership. At FFI, we’re actively discussing this matter, and we see that the rise of these applications can bring benefits to our filmmakers, but of course there are several things that need to be addressed properly, both from the government and from us as the audience.”
How ready do you think the Indonesian audience is?
“The question is on the government, because the filmmakers are so ready to dive in, but there are regulations from the government part that need to be considered. We cannot actually shut off western movies from our country as they are part of the global film industry. But it is necessary to have conditions for example if they want to shoot in Indonesia, there must be an Indonesian crew involved and so on. Share and tax are also important aspects, hence it is highly important to make a clear set of regulations on this matter.”

Editor: Galuh Tathya
Writer: Windyannisa Cindrati
Photographer: Vicky Melly
Digital Imaging: Ari Angga
Makeup Artist: Nadia Renata
Stylist: Sasqia Ayuningtyas
Wardrobe: TFT x FFI, available at

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