The ninth Jakarta International Film Festival, or Jiffest, will for the first time close with a local Indonesian production, the world premiere of Nia Dinata's Chants of Lotus.

The omnibus film of four stories addresses woman issues which are rarely portrayed in contemporary Indonesian cinema. The multiple effort is directed by four female directors (Dinata, Upi, Lasja Fauzia and Fatimah Tobing Rony) and written by two female writers (Melissa Karim and Vivian Idris).

The festival (December 7-16) will open with animated feature Persepolis which was earlier withdrawn as the opening film of the Bangkok International Film Festival under pressure from the Iranian Embassy.

About 200 films will be screened over 10 days, including a bigger Indonesian feature film competition, first launched last year. Joko Anwar's Kala, Nan Achnas' The Photograph, Riri Riza's 3 Days to Forever, Enison Sinaro's Long Road to Heaven and box office hit Naga Bonar Jadi 2 are among the 38 local films, released between November 2006 and October 2007, vying for best feature and best director.

A new sidebar on ASEAN cinema will feature 22 films from six South East Asian countries, including Liew Seng Tat's Flower in the Pocket (Malaysia), Royston Tan's 881 (Singapore), Adolfo Alix Jr's Donsol (Philippines) and Pao's Story (Vietnam). A tribute to late legendary Malaysian director P Ramlee will showcase five of his classics such as Hang Tuah and Bujang Lapok.

Special programmes include Berlinale's World Cinema Fund (WCF) and AFI Project: 20/20 which will for the first time present at Jiffest films that they funded. WCF will show Ariel Rotter's Berlin Silver Bear winner El Otro (Argentina), Kiko Goifman's Acts of Men (Brazil) and A Perfect Day by Khalil Joreige and Joana Hadjithomas (Lebanon) whereas Chris Bowman's American Fork (US), Doug Pray's Big Rig (US) and Jeffery Schwarz's Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story (US) are from AFI.

This year, Lalu R oisamri (former programme manager) and Sari Mochtan (former festival manager) are co-directing the festival following the departure of festival director Orlow Seunke after last year's edition. Founder Shanty Harmayn remains as chairperson.