The Jakarta Post
Sporting family drama Cahaya Dari Timur: Beta Maluku (Light From The East: I'm Maluku) was the surprise winner of the Best Picture award at the 2014 Indonesian Film Festival (FFI) in Palembang, South Sumatra.
Cahaya director and co-producer Angga Dwimas Sasongko and his crew received the Citra, as the awards are known, from President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo, who made a historic appearance at the FFI, which was held at the Palembang Sports and Convention Center.
Cahaya tells the story of a Muslim ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver and former soccer player trying to help teenagers cope with the years-long religious conflict in Ambon, the capital of Maluku, through the sport.
'Don't be surprised, I love watching Indonesian movies. I'm very happy to be here to support
Indonesian films,' the President said in his speech.
Jokowi congratulated all the winners and promised to fully support the Indonesian film scene by establishing a creative economy body in the coming weeks.
'Film is our face as a nation. I hope Indonesian films will continue to be loved,' he said.
Elated Angga said he and his crew did not expect to be nominated, let alone to win the award.
Cahaya saw off the other nominations, namely, Soekarno, 3 Nafas Likas (Likas' Three Breaths), Sokola Rimba (Jungle School) and Sebelum Pagi Terulang Kembali (Before Morning Returns).
Chicco Jerikho also won the Citra Best Actor for his role in Cahaya. The 30-year-old, best known for his role in the sinetron (soap opera) Cinta Bunga (Flower of Love), had his screen debut in the 2007 horror film Lawang Sewu.
Young director Adriyanto Dewo also had a surprise win with his debut feature film Tabula Rasa.
'I prepared a speech but now I've forgotten the words. I want to thank my family, my producer and my crew,' said the filmmaker who beat previous Citra winners in the category like Hanung Bramantyo and Riri Riza.
In the Best Actress category, veteran actress Dewi Irawan ended her 31-year wait with the award for her role in Tabula Rasa.
The 51-year-old was first nominated for a Citra in 1983. She won the Citra for Best Supporting Actress in 2011 for Sang Penari (The Dancer), the film adaptation of Ahmad Tohari's famous novel about the political turmoil of 1965.
Tabula Rasa won a total of four Citras, including Best Original Script and Best Supporting Actor
Favored to win big, biopic Soekarno, which was nominated in 13 categories, ended the evening with Citras for Best Costumes, Best Artistic Director, Best Editing and Best Supporting Actress.
This year's film festival involved a selection panel of 100 people, including directors, cinematographers, scriptwriters, actors and producers.
Members of the feature-film jury included noted filmmakers and talents, like directors Garin Nugroho, Joko Anwar and Mouly Surya; scriptwriters Jujur Prananto, Salman Aristo and Djenar Maesa Ayu; producers Sheila Timothy, Abduh Aziz and Erwin Arnada; and actors Alex Komang, Didi Petet, Lukman Sardi, Jajang C. Noer, Dewi Irawan and Ratna Riantiarno.
The first FFI, formerly known as National Film Appreciation Week, was held in 1955, with the second and third held in 1960 and 1967. It became an annual event in 1973 but it was halted in 1993 due to the low level of production of local movies.
The FFI was revived in 2004 as the local movie industry started to flourish again.
Kemala Atmojo, head of the FFI organizing committee, said the festival was far from perfect but promised better organization in the future.