Life, the Universe and Everything in BBI (ACT)’s presentation of Indonesian documentary film,‘Semesta: Islands of Faith’, at ANU

27th October 2022

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By Heath McMichael Chair, Balai Bahasa Indonesia (ACT)

On 12 October 2022, Balai Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian Language Pavilion) of the ACT (BBI ACT) hosted the first public screening in Canberra of the acclaimed 2018 documentary film, Semesta: Islands of Faith by Jakarta-based production company, Tanakhir Films. The film, co-produced by well-known film-makers Mandy Marahimin and Nicholas Saputra, was directed by Chairun (‘Ilun’) Nissa.

Around 170 people from Canberra’s student, academic, Indonesian families and environmentalist communities attended the screening at the Kambri cinema at ANU. The Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, HE Bapak Siswo Pramono, was the guest of honour. The screening was part of an Indonesian Film Night organised by BBI (ACT) with partners; the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, and; the ANU School of Culture, History & Language. Guests enjoyed a selection of delicious Indonesian sweet and savoury finger food before the film began.

In welcoming guests as Chair of BBI (ACT), Heath McMichael noted that screening of Semesta fulfilled the goals of BBI (ACT) to encourage the learning and teaching of Indonesian language in Australian schools and universities and to foster cross-cultural understanding between Australia and Indonesia. Heath said that showing the film, sub-titled in English, would certainly help students and others interested in Indonesia improve their language skills. In his comments to the audience before the film, Ambassador Pramono called on BBI (ACT) to seek out other suitable Indonesian films to present to audiences in Canberra and surrounding regions to promote Indonesian language and culture in Australia. Heath thanked, in particular, the Convenor of the Indonesia Program at CHL/CAP at ANU, Professor I Wayan Arka, for his assistance in organising the Indonesian Film Night and mobilising his students to help with ushering and other tasks.

After the screening, guests offered many positive remarks about Semesta: Islands of Faith. They noted in particular the film’s high cinematographic standard, its rich storyline and topicality. It is clear the audience took to heart the principal message of the film: that through the lens of faith and culture, communities across Indonesia’s vast archipelago are adapting successfully to climate change and growing environmental challenges.

Here are some images taken of the Indonesian Film Night:

Semesta1

Semesta2Guests at the Indonesian Film Night

Semesta3Indonesian Ambassador Pramono and Heath McMichael

Semesta4Audience awaiting start of the film

Semesta5Guests enjoying delicious Indonesia-inspired finger food

Updated:  7 July 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, Culture, History & Language/Page Contact:  CHL webmaster