About ARKIPEL - Jakarta International Documentary and Experimental Film Festival

The word ARKIPEL was taken from ‘archipelago’ which refers to a term in Indonesian language ‘nusantara’. The word was known since the early 16th century. Nusantara is a group of thousand of islands keeping long globalization history of politics, cultural, and economics. More than 500 years ago, this region has become one of main destinations for Western explorer whom tried to find new areas to be colonized or as trading partner. Besides the European, there were also people came from the East (China, Arab, and India) which made this Nusantara region as an exploration destination in their trading missions of spices and silk. ARKIPEL International Documentary and Experimental Film Festival was initiated by Forum Lenteng to read a global phenomenon in social, political, economic and culture contexts through cinema. Of cinema, it is expected to capture the global society phenomenon, both in terms of aesthetic and socio-political context through the language of documentary and experimental filmmaking.

The festival will always see the development of the cinematic language with critical thinking, regardless of the terms ‘cinema industry’ or independent cinema. For this reason, ARKIPEL will always bring a critical discourse to observe it through curatorial programs, symposium, and public lecture to broaden the knowledge of the ever-changing cutting-edge cinema aesthetics.


ARKIPEL 2024 theme: Garden of Earthly Delights

“Society of the spectacle”, a verdict that thinkers have been pronouncing since capitalism exploited the development of media technology, seems to have reached its saturation point these days. The sight, considered the primary receptor in Western knowledge production and technological innovation, is challenged to absorb a multitude of information in milliseconds. Landscape-object-human: real, mediated or artificial, in a wide spectrum, compete for human reflection and empathy. The speed of visual stimuli is increasingly regulated by algorithmic enclaves owned by media conglomerates that can block them if they do not suit their interests. The power of the frame claimed by the bodies on site must compete with the aggregate power of media patterns and their gatekeepers for being heard and trigger the momentum of a collective movement.

It is this bodily mediated experience that yearns for encounters with other affective bodies that triggers other languages and strategies. The sensory turn to counter the linguistic turn, which claims the phenomena of life as signs that can be “read”, emerged in intellectual debates. “I sense therefore I am,” said David Le Breton. Before concepts are formed, the human body already perceives the world through its senses, forming the basis of human experience that is inseparable from the processes of thinking and memory. The body and the world come together through sensory experience, forming an inseparable unity between the senses and the surroundings. Within the sensory matrix, meanings about the world are formed. Rational logic with standardized measures can coexist with the logic of the senses relating to bodily experiences and feelings, presupposing open-ended and affective measurement. The confluence of various sensations of temperature change (climate and weather, or people gathering), sound (rhythmic, melodic, atmospheric or cries of protest), smell-taste-touch from the interaction of human and non-human agents, conditions another entry point for us to make sense of our reality and then plan agenda ahead.

The noun “garden”, and the phrase “earthly delights”, invite us to imagine a massive attack on the sensory apparatus. We borrow the tentative title of Hieronymus Bosch’s phenomenal and subversive 15th-century work, which presents vulgar and enigmatic visual codes. We draw the relevance of Bosch’s sensual interpretation of the Western canon (the Bible) to modes of sensual experimentation in the “peripheral” realm. An examination of local wisdom, Javanese for example, which equally suggests the management of pleasure receptors such as babahan hawa songo (nine orifices of lust), and sharpens them with the knowledge of katon (deep observation) and titen (prediction), and then goes beyond, also finds its actualization in the material world and its performativity in rituals, social events, and artifacts. An all-night wayang performance, for example, with its combination of natural-music sounds, ritualistic aromas, the presence of non-human agents and food and drink from local produce completes the sensory assault on the audience’s bodily experience. If the cinematic experience of an all-night wayang is considered a mode of thinking, predating Lumiere’s Cinematograph device, then it can include the active engagement of all human senses in the durational situation of the event.

In its eleventh edition, the challenge of ARKIPEL is no longer just navigating the discourse of form development and how global issues mutate in the aesthetic experimentation of documentary and experimental cinema. We have reached the point of contemplating how cinema, in its current phase, can offer filmmaker-film-audience encounters to unravel the deepest layers of multisensory stimuli (visual, auditory, taste and smell, haptic/touch, and others), and the memories that emerge from them that are all related to the reality of location, and undoubtedly political. The embodied and poetic knowledge of the filmmakers holds a unique offer in seeing reality, both in its location, and in the world. For this reason, this year’s ARKIPEL offers various modes of exhibition to see multisensory and durational possibilities in exploring the language of cinema, global issues, and the possibilities of activism that arise from them.
Check out and download our previous festival catalogues for free at http://arkipel.org/

PERANSI Award is given to a cinematic work that in a special and fresh way experiments on various possible approaches of the medium and social aspects. Specifically, this category focuses on young filmmakers. The award itself is inspired by David Albert Peransi (1939-1993), an artist, critic, teacher and exponent of modernity in art world and documentary and experimental cinema in Indonesia.

JURY Award is given to the best film of jury’s choice based on the consideration in terms of unique and fresh visual expression, personal maturity in revealing and communicating aesthetic experience, struggle over content and subjective exploration over text/context to its contemporary representation. It is highly likely that the best film in this category offers values of individual nature because the issue and its approach do not fit in many socio-cultural contexts.

FORUM LENTENG Award, as a category for the best film selected by Forum Lenteng, reflect our reading position or critical attitude toward the development of cinematic visual works at an aesthetic and contextual level. The award for this category is given to the film deemed the most open in offering communicative values, whether based on the artistry and content, providing a chance for a different social approach on art and wider experimental possibilities.

ARKIPEL Award is given to the best film in general that, based on jury’s view, has the highest artistic achievement and a potential power to give meanings to its contextual perspective choice. By the content, all those aspects through the film’s visual expression should be successful in offering a newest representation of our contemporary world view as a challenging discourse for the general view over a certain situation revealed by the subject matter. The best film in this category particularly can be considered as representing ARKIPEL’s statement concerning the values offered by the passion and reason of a spirit of the time, becoming an inspiration for aesthetic creations about the world that on the one hand is approved of and on the other hand demands definition and re-definition.

The Submission is open until April 30, 2024.

Film submitted must be completed after January 1, 2022. If it is not in English, please provide the English subtitle. No duration or genre limitation. We cannot provide screening fees for films selected to International Competition section but will provide accommodation in Jakarta during the festival. All screenings will be free for public and for educational purpose.

And please do read the regulation of the festival further at http://arkipel.org/regulation/

Thank you.

Overall Rating
  • Lam Can-zhao

    I hope to have the opportunity to be selected for your film festival again! It has been a fantastic experience.

    October 2023
  • Studio Pangolin

    Intelligent, committed and thoughtful festival, The only time I have had a filmfreeway festival think about and write about my film.

    December 2022
  • Renato Ranquine

    Amazing oportunity! Thank's for the selection!!!

    February 2020
  • I'm very proud for being selected. Thank you.

    September 2019
  • Avner Pinchover

    ARKIPEL and Forum Lenteng which organizes it are one of the most remarkable art organizations I've encountered. The first way to see that is by viewing past catalogues – if you haven't yet, do that now. One great thing is that each edition has a theme. In 2019, in which I participated, the theme was extremely multi-faceted, with many different meanings in Indonesian culture but also totally relevant to the human experience generally. Then, each session of the International Competition is curated by one of the Forum Lenteng members or other scholars/experts. Texts are written on the general theme and on each of the sessions. I wish I could be present. I had direct contact throughout the preparation period and the festival itself with both Yuki the director and Afrian who curated the session which included my work. Both are super warm and communicative. I very much hope I'll have the opportunity to take part again in the future, as the experience was one of the most rewarding in my artistic career to date.

    September 2019