Lulu Ratna stimulates Indonesian short films over the long term

July 2004 -

The Indonesian filmmaker Lulu Ratna is in the Netherlands for the exhibition Indonesia under Construction, which will run from 29 June to 22 August 2004 in Witte de With, Rotterdam. She describes the state of affairs in the Indonesian film world and her film promotion company Boemboe.

'Indonesian film is based primarily on the oral tradition; there is no strong visual culture in Indonesia. Contemporary filmmakers and artists cannot hark back to a long film tradition, such as those in Japan and China, for example. The many ups and downs in film history have caused a lack of contact between the old generation and the young generation. Only the work of a filmmaker like Garin Nugroho falls between these generations. Within the film world there are many hierarchies that stand in the way of contact between the old and new generations, between professionals and the underground scene, but also between people from more or less the same scene.'

In 2003, Lulu Ratna founded the film promotion company Boemboe with two colleagues, with the objective of closing these gaps. Boemboe focuses primarily on short films by independent filmmakers and artists. ''Independent film' is currently a trend in Indonesia, so I try to avoid using that term, since long-term development is precisely what we are trying to stimulate. When I see an independent young filmmaker with talent, I maintain contact with him and support him in the hope that he will not give up once the trend has waned.'

The three people behind Boemboe refer to themselves as a meeting point. When they can, they bring filmmakers together. They are regularly requested to compile programs of short films by both Indonesian and international film festivals. 'We seize such opportunities to take along, copy and promote other films, as well'.

Lulu Ratna has many plans for the future. 'Next year I want to publish a book describing my experiences and those of others with international film festivals. This will give a broader group of artists and filmmakers in Indonesia access to this information'. Her plans also include a 'database book' about Indonesian film and a three-city film festival.