The Jakarta Post
Abduh Aziz (Courtesy of KSI/-)
The director of State Film Production (PFN), Abduh Aziz, died of heart failure on Sunday evening at 51 years of age. He was also the head of the Indonesian Arts Coalition (KSI), which he was slated to lead until 2021.
Abduh, a graduate of the History Department at the University of Indonesia, was also a filmmaker, critic and producer. His works include feature films Garin Nugroho’s Aku Ingin Menciummu Sekali Saja (I Want to Kiss You Just Once), for which he was the executive producer, and Ravi L. Bharmawi’s The Rainmaker, which he co-produced and scripted. He was also involved in several documentaries as director, producer or writer, including as producer and co-director of Tjidurian 19, alongside director Lasya F. Susatyo.
Before he was appointed as PFN director in 2016, Abduh served as a top official at the Jakarta Arts Council from 2006 to 2012.
KSI secretary Retha Dungga remembered Abduh as her mentor. “He was always generous in sharing his knowledge and network,” she said. “He was always thinking about how to help that child, organization or movement,” she went on. “I looked up to him.”
The KSI is a coalition of 225 art communities and individuals across 19 provinces of Indonesia. Established in 2013, is has been campaigning for private-sector donations for arts and culture by disseminating information about tax breaks for companies donating to the arts.
Film archivist Lisabona Rahman said Abduh was among a few in Indonesia that had a comprehensive perspective on Indonesian film and knew what policies the industry needed. “We really feel the loss of someone who was deeply committed to improving film and arts from a policy-making perspective,” she said.
“And to my knowledge, Abduh was trying to redefine PFN’s role from a [government] propaganda machine to a professional production house and studio. It would be unfortunate if his vision was not continued,” Lisabona said.
PFN is the producer of feature film Penumpasan Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI (Treachery of G30S/PKI), which during several years of the New Order era was a mandatory film for school children. The film is said to be an inaccurate depiction of a coup attempt by the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).
One of KSI’s members, Budhita Kismadi, recalls Abduh’s warm personality. “He always made me feel at home,” Budhita said. She remembered every time she visited the KSI’s office in South Jakarta, Abduh would tell her stories and they would “hang out” for a long time. “A storyteller, a no-nonsense person and someone who could make you feel like you just walked into his living room but you also arrived at home. That’s what I remember about him the most,” Budhita went on. “And his love of film! Oh he still wanted to make so many films.”
Abduh Azis was buried at the Tanjung Barat Public Cemetery in South Jakarta on Monday. He was survived by his wife and three children. (evi)