Drop Everything and Go to the Movies!

The Bali International Film Festival, affectionately known as the Balinale, is now 12 years young! It is Indonesia’s longest-running international film festival, and a global cultural event.

Mark your calendars, go to the website www.balinale.com to get your festival passes, and map your way to the two Cinemaxx theatres (Renon and Kuta) to avoid disappointment. The Balinale can also be followed on social media. The Seagull, The Breadwinner, Coco, Wages and 55 Steps are among the outstanding films to be screened, with a special virtual reality Valen’s Reef; not to be missed!

With TIMELESS as this year’s theme, the lineup of screened films acknowledges film’s extraordinary facility to communicate what the festival identifies as the largest of human stories as well as the briefest moments of world changing emotion.

The full schedule should be on the website by press time. Serious filmmakers and industry watchers can partake in the professional film forum BALINALEX preceding the Balinale. Information, email: balinalex@balinale.com

Former New York casting director Deborah Gabinetti was working in television in Jakarta in the 1990’s when she decided to create the Bali Film Center. I interviewed her in her Sanur office, where interns of various nationalities were hard at work managing the final details of this year’s festival.


The Bali Film Center is really linking Hollywood to Indonesia!

Yes. Since 2002, Bali Film Center has facilitated film, television and print projects shooting throughout all parts of Indonesia. We provide the research, logistics and support the legal processes both nationally and provincially.

We actively seek projects in development and have been inviting productions to consider all parts of Indonesia through our international associations and events.

Bali Film Center has been officially recognized for our extensive experience, professional services and our established network.

Perhaps our most famous film credits include Savages by Oliver Stone (Moyo Island), Alex Cross by Rob Cohen (Bali), Born To Be Wild by David Lickley (Kalimantan), Eat Pray Love by Ryan Murphy (Bali) & Under the Sea 3D by Howard Hall (NTT). And there’s a long list of international television series, TVCs, corporate videos and travelogues all filmed throughout the country with the Film Center’s assistance.

These projects have benefited the Indonesian economy in the form of airlines revenue and increased tax and licensing fees, plus, in the private sector, many hotels & restaurants, leasing, entertainment. Perhaps most significantly, our work develops talent, skills and job opportunities for the local workforce.


What does it take to stage the Balinale?

It takes the strong support of the local community, a team of hardworking and enthusiastic volunteers plus a committee of industry professionals and international affiliations to pull it all together.

Our key to success is the diverse audience we have and how strongly they show their appreciation to the filmmakers for the work that they share with us each year.

Participation of the filmmakers in our events is important. BalinaleX Industry Forum held at the Ayodya Resort Bali, Nusa Dua, 22-23 September, gathers together regional and international stakeholders with local professionals and policy makers to discuss Indonesia’s visual entertainment ecosystem and explore the commercial opportunities & obstacles to a successful film and television industry.

A main part of the festival is its educational programs conducted by established Indonesian and international actors, producers, directors and writers. These promote occupational skills training for the media, film & entertainment industry and create a foundation to support local arts and artisans while providing training and workshops to expand talent and technical services to support the creative industries.


What kind of feedback do you get from the industry and fans?

Extremely positive. Each year we continue to grow the festival and its program. Renewing and expanding our official partnerships with the Cinemaxx Theater, Lippo Mall Group and can now include the Aryaduta Bali.

Balinale has earned its reputation as a global film event through its efforts to gain recognition for the country’s creative industries and unique destinations. As an internationally recognized film festival, it draws the attention of global filmmakers and notable celebrities with a number of them returning to the festival each year.

I am very pleased to say we have a number of Festival Friends who schedule their time around being in Bali to attend the festival. Some locally based film lovers attend every single screening (even bringing their own pillow!)


What does the Balinale offer the local community?

According to the Current Tourism Minister, Arief Yahya, ‘Film has become a powerful medium that greatly contributes in promoting Indonesia’s tourism and that Bali International Film Festival, in particular, has strengthened Bali and Indonesia as a global film destination.’

We present traditional Balinese dance, musicians, arts & contemporary entertainment at Atrium Lippo Mall Kuta during the festival week. We provide workshops free for the student and events for the community.

We also offer provinces the opportunity to showcase the potential of each region as a film location inviting both Indonesian and International Filmmakers to scout their areas. It is proven that Film and Television can be a very effective medium to introduce a local area and its culture with a film increasing tourism numbers for many years.

The most rewarding part of the festival is our children’s program where each year we bring several orphanages to the festival to experience the magic of cinema, many for the very first time.

One memorable time was seeing our first-ever student-produced films on the topic of environment shown at the closing ceremony of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCC) held in Bali.


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