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The Politics of Making Movies in Southeast Asia


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October 13, 1:30 p.m., Korean Studies Auditorium
Presented by CSEAS in partnership with the Hawaii International Film Festival

Politics and Government in Southeast Asia changed dramatically over the last twenty-five years, from the fall of Marcos and Suharto in the Philippines and Indonesia to the doi moi (restructuring) movement in Vietnam to the coups (and threatened counter-coups) in Thailand. Making movies in the region today is not the same as it was yesterday. As part of the Hawaii International Film Festival, the Center is bringing seven new Southeast Asian films to campus and is bringing to Hawaii seven filmmakers for a special discussion of politics and movies in the region.


The Discussants will include Pimpaka Towira, the feature filmmaker from Thailand, whose political exposé cum documentary The Truth Be Told captured a portrait of idealism, integrity and activism against then-Prime Minister Thaksin. From Indonesia, Melissa Karim, scriptwriter of Chants of Lotus, an omnibus film made by four women directors, will discuss the movie in terms Indonesian women, teen sex, human trafficking, AIDS and rape – and talk of the film’s battle with censors. Also attending will be Gotot Prakosa, director of the Indonesian rock opera/concert film Kantana Takwa, about the explosive and politically-charged 1991 Iwan Fals concert. From the Philippines, award-winning directors Tara Illenberger and Ellen Ongkek-Marfil will discuss alternative and independent filmmaking in one of the most prolific filmmaking countries in Asia. Finally, Nguyen Thanh Van, director of A Little Heart, will talk of commercial filmmaking in Viet Nam after doi moi. The moderator will be Christian Razukas, graduate student in Southeast Asian Studies and a former Film Programmer for HIFF.