Driven by experimentation, the field of film studies in Indonesia is fluid and transnational; it is characterized by a range of practice: amateur publications, close contacts between practitioners and critics, and transnational collaborations and affiliations particularly within Southeast Asia.
In this research I categorize 3 kinds of publication on Indonesian cinema. The first category consists of non-academic online journals, which are often tied to film communities and activism such as Rumah Film, Jurnal Footage, and Cinema Poetica. The second includes academic publications, mostly in English, that appear in special-issue journals and edited volumes such as the special issue on Indonesian Cinema in Asian Cinema Journal (published in Indonesia as Mau Dibawa Ke Mana Sinema Kita?). The first and second types of publications, despite their difference in terms of the academic affiliations, indicate cosmopolitan aspirations in terms of exposure and theoretical exploration, the creation of alternative spaces, and the attachment to the larger networks of cultural activism in Indonesia and Asia. However, the last category, consisting of publications sponsored by the government or NGOs, reveals a different trajectory as they show the inevitability of negotiations with the state as part of the process of institutionalization.
Intan Paramaditha is an Indonesian author and a lecturer in media and film studies at Macquarie University, Sydney.
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