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Netflix announces $1 million partnership with Education and Culture Ministry

Jessicha Valentina
Jessicha Valentina

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, January 9, 2020  /  06:48 pm
Netflix announces $1 million partnership with Education and Culture Ministry

Netflix is among the most popular streaming services in Indonesia. (Shutterstock/sitthiphong)

Online streaming platform Netflix announced its partnership with the Education and Culture Ministry on Thursday.  

Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Anwar Makarim said at a press conference that the partnership was worth $1 million and it would feature various activities, including scriptwriting workshops, a short film competition with the nation’s ideology Pancasila as the theme, an online safety training program and agile governance workshops.

The scriptwriting workshops will take place in Los Angeles' Hollywood and Jakarta.

The workshops are set to run in March, and Netflix will invite 10 up-and-coming Indonesian scriptwriters and producers to Los Angeles, providing them with the opportunity to meet content creators from around the world to further learn about how to develop authentic local content that appeals to a global audience.

Nadiem said the workshop in Jakarta would involve around 100 writers.

Netflix Asia Pacific managing director Kuek Yu-Chuang explained that in collaboration with the ministry, they would hold activities in Jakarta over the next 12 months that included scriptwriting and story development workshops as well as production and post-production training. The platform considers both skill sets to be helpful for the Indonesian film and television industry.

“Through the program we are introducing today, we will partner with local companies and policymakers to support digital skills growth, [assist] the ecosystem and promote Indonesian culture through storytelling,” said Kuek.

Following the training, the scriptwriters will be invited to develop and submit story abstracts for consideration. Netflix will offer cash prizes to the best abstracts to be used for production and development.

Read also: Please prioritize Indonesian-made films for streaming in the country, minister asks Netflix

With regard to the online safety training program and agile governance workshops, Kuek explained that it was part of the pledge the company had signed with the World Economic Forum's Digital ASEAN initiative to work with communities and governments in Southeast Asia to develop creative and digital skills capabilities to support the fourth industrial revolution.

Netflix is among the most popular online streaming services in Indonesia. Earlier this week, Communications and Information Minister Johnny G. Plate said he hoped the platform would prioritize local content to help the country’s creative industry.

Since January 2016, state-owned telecommunications and internet provider Telkom has blocked Netflix on all of its platforms citing censorship problems. Concerning the matter, Johnny urged the two sides meet to reach an agreement over the issue.

Association of Indonesian Film Producers (APROFI) chairwoman Sheila Timothy shared her excitement upon hearing the partnership, saying that scriptwriting was among the skills that needed to be improved to go global.

“There are many talented scriptwriters in Indonesia. But to reach a whole new level, where we need to communicate with a global audience and cross cultural boundaries, [particular] writing skills are needed,” she said.

Sheila said that in the digital era, when over-the-top (OTT) streaming services were widely available, the local film industry required the skills for both feature films and television series. She added that OTT was not merely a platform to distribute films, but it had become another source of income for production companies.

Timo Tjahjanto, director of Indonesia's first Netflix Original film The Night Comes for Us, said the streaming platform had helped him in terms of international exposure. He said Indonesian filmmakers previously had to rely on film festivals or distribution channels through several production houses. (wng)