Indonesia building on commercial filming appeal
Indonesia is building on its flourishing commercials industry and offers filmmakers a metropolitan capital, Jakarta, alongside its internationally-renowned tropical beaches.
The country is scattered across 1.2 million square miles comprising five main islands and an astonishing 18,000 islands altogether. In addition, Indonesia is a cultural blend of half a dozen religions meaning that there's a great diversity of casting options including Caucasian, Asian and Arabic.
“In the South East Asian markets, Indonesia is considered one of the largest producers of TV commercials and due to reasonable budgets and experienced crews, manages to attract top-tier directors and production companies from all over the world,” says Rodney Vincent, founder and executive producer with service company Seven Sunday Films, which has an office in Jakarta.
Beyond the capital, Indonesia offers a rich diversity of locations. Lawang Sewu in Semarang has an expanded selection of historic Dutch architecture and nearby lies the limestone rock formations of the Brown Canyon, which is a popular tourist attraction.
Yogyakarta - often known simply as Jogja - offers famous Borubodur Temples. Further east there are black volcanic visuals in the mountains of Bromo and the Ijin Crater has sulphur lakes and more mountainous terrain.
Lombok and Labuan Bajo offer tropical beaches and clear waters, and Raja Ampat is among the top diving spots in the world. Producers will find lush vegetation and an abundance of wildlife in the forests of Kalimantan.
Seven Sunday Films has worked with high-profile production companies such as Hungry Man, Great Guns, Smuggler and Quad.
“On average, Jakarta crews work 14- to 16-hour days and this has been the working culture for a very long time. They have a great approach, wanting to go the distance and ensuring that producers, directors and DoPs are happy with production results.
“There’s a fine balance between local and multinational clients that come to Indonesia to take advantage of the country’s renowned art and wardrobe departments, and skilled camera technicians.”
Producers looking for cosmopolitan visuals in Jakarta will find a particular blend of historical Dutch architecture – dating back to the beginning of the city’s colonial past in the 17th century – and a neo-Renaissance style, all of which stands alongside modern 21st century developments.
The capital is currently home to around ten million people.
“Jakarta is more urban and Bali offers beaches, landscapes, mountains, temples and a more traditional town-like setting,” says Vincent. “Many crew members and their equipment are based in Jakarta, so you would normally have to organise travel across to Bali.
“There are so many gorgeous locations to choose from. Bali as a whole includes the temples in Jogja (especially Borobodur), Mount Bromo, caves in Surabaya, waterfalls in Flores and the Komodo Islands.”
Similar to many of the South East Asian nations, Indonesia does not yet offer formal filming incentive support, but producers benefit from the lower costs of a developing nation.
Images: Seven Sunday Films.