Movie buffs may recognize some Hollywood blockbusters that were shot in neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Thailand.
The list includes the film Entrapment, which showcases Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Twin Towers, and The Beach, which was shot in various spots in Thailand.
Now Indonesians can expect to see more familiar landscapes on the silver screen as Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said Indonesia was increasingly being selected by international filmmakers as a filming location.
“Movies and tourism become inseparable because film is a very powerful medium for promoting Indonesia both to potential tourists and to filmmakers to shoot their movies here,” Mari said.
She said that three Hollywood movies — The Philosopher starring Bonny Wright, Java Heat starring Mickey Rourke and Kellan Lutz and Alex Cross starring Tyler Perry and Matthew Fox — were filmed in Indonesia this year.
“Besides, each international movie brings in up to Rp 200 billion [US$22.4 million],” she said.
Previous international movies that were filmed in Indonesia include Born To Be Wild, Samsara and Eat, Pray, Love, which was filmed in Ubud, Bali, and attracted many foreign tourists who wanted to experience the same feelings as the movie’s central character, Elizabeth Gilbert, who was played by Julia Roberts.
Not only international movies promote Indonesia to the world but also the locally made films.
Mari said the number of tourists visiting Bangka Belitung province this year increased by up to 300 percent after Laskar Pelangi ( The Rainbow Troops ) was shot in the province.
The fact that Laskar Pelangi garnered critical acclaim and won many awards, such as Best Film in the 2009 Indonesian Film Festival, the Golden Butterfly Award in the 2009 International Children and Young Adults Film Festival and the third place Audience Award in the Udine Far East Film Festival in Italy, also attracted international tourists, she added.
“We are going to map Indonesian regions to help filmmakers find the best locations for their movies,” she said, adding that the eastern parts of Indonesia such as Maluku were among the best locations for action or detective movies.
She said Indonesia had been visited by 99 foreign film producers looking to film in the country as of October.
“We also now have the biggest film studio in Southeast Asia in order to promote our creative industry,” she said, adding that the 100,000-square-meter Infinite Studio was located in Nongsa, Batam.
Batam was chosen for the studio location because it had unique surroundings and was strategically located near Singapore and Malaysia, she added.
She hoped that Indonesian filmmakers would also use the studio to make movies better movies.
Meanwhile, prominent filmmaker, director and Miles Production producer Mira Lesmana told The Jakarta Post on Monday that she was proud of the fact that Indonesia was becoming more popular for international film productions.
While agreeing with Mari that Maluku was a great location for action movies, she said the government should build more facilities and infrastructure to support
“Filmmakers often times choose Thailand and the Philippines over Indonesia because they have better facilities and infrastructure. In the field, shooting is not simple because it is strongly reliant on technical issues,” she said. ( nfo )