Jakarta to host Sundance Film Festival’s first Asian edition in mid-2021

A drive-in screening of Sundance Film Festival 2021 at Circle Cinema in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo: Instagram/@circlecinema & @sundanceorg
A drive-in screening of Sundance Film Festival 2021 at Circle Cinema in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo: Instagram/@circlecinema & @sundanceorg

One of the most renowned film festivals in the world, the Sundance Film Festival, is coming to Jakarta this year. 

Sundance Film Festival: Asia is slated to be held as an online event sometime in the middle of this year to “support, connect, promote, and celebrate” the region’s independent film community. It will be organized by the Sundance Institute in collaboration with American media technology firm XRM Media as well as Indonesian media platform IDN Media.

The Asian edition will showcase a number of films that were screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which took place simultaneously online and in-person in Utah and 20 cities across the US between Jan. 28 and Feb. 3.

A number of filmmakers might travel to the festival in Jakarta should travel and public health permit, according to the Sundance Institute. Aside from the film screenings, there will also be Sundance Lab initiatives ⁠— workshops for budding filmmakers from different disciplines ⁠— as well as Sundance Co//ab (collab) experiences for Asian talents.

“We have long wanted to deepen our connection to the bold and vibrant energy of Asian independent filmmaking,” Sundance Film Festival director Tabitha Jackson said.

“We are very excited to bring the 2021 Sundance Film Festival: Asia for the first time to Indonesia. We truly believe that this historic festival would be an important momentum for the film industry in Asia, especially for filmmakers and film enthusiasts in Indonesia, to connect and collaborate with filmmakers around the world.” IDN Media’s CEO Winston Utomo said.

Founded by American actor-director Robert Redford in 1981, the non-profit Sundance Institute provides creative and financial support to aspiring independent artists through a series of labs, grant, and mentorship programs, as well as the Sundance Film Festival.

The festival itself, formerly named Utah/US Film Festival and US Film and Video Festival, has become the largest and critically-acclaimed independent film festival in the US since its inception in 1978 which has since launched the careers of filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson.

Previously, the Institute has been running spin-off events such as Sundance London since 2012, Sundance Hong Kong since 2014, and numerous editions of Screenwriters Lab in Mumbai, India.

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