May 24, 2024

Korean powerhouse CJ ENM is set to continue its already extensive investment in Indonesia.

The company will announce a slate of Indonesian films imminently. It is also planning to produce films and series that can be remade in other international territories, said Justin Kim, head of international productions at CJ ENM, which has production and distribution businesses in Indonesia.

“There’s a lot of series that have been produced by us in Indonesia and we’re still waiting for that one definitive Indonesian series to break out,” Kim said.

Kim was speaking at a panel focusing on international coproductions with Indonesia at the Busan International Film Festival‘s Asian Contents and Film Market. The Indonesian panelists included prolific producer Yulia Evina Bhara (“Autobiography”), director Mouly Surya (“Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts”) and Alex Sihar from the country’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology and was moderated by Lorna Tee, curator of Malaysian film incubator program Mylab.

Surya has just completed her U.S.-set Netflix film “Trigger Warning,” headlined by Jessica Alba, her first American project. The filmmaker spoke about the “smoke and mirrors” inherent in the Hollywood system, including the industry’s star power and trailers, which were in contrast to her very next film, the Indonesia-set period piece “This City is a Battlefield” (“Perang Kota”) based on the revered 1952 novel “Jalan Tak Ada Ujung” by Mochtar Lubis. Surya said that 99% of coproductions with the U.S. don’t come to fruition and she kept the news of the “Trigger Warning” development process to herself until the project actually took off. “Sometimes the dream, the holy grail seems too good to be true,” Surya said.

Bhara recounted her experiences of working across multi-country productions, including Venice winner “Autobiography” and Cannes-winning “Tiger Stripes” and stressed that it is important to get “better and better” at the process. She also addressed the need to secure international distribution for Indonesian films.

Sihar described the $13 million annual Indonesian film grant that was launched in Cannes earlier this year and revealed that production levels in the country have bounced back to 80% of the pre-pandemic level. Box office has previously rebounded, with 2022 exceeding 2019’s overall figure.

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