John De Rantau's Denias Senandung Di Atas Awan was namedbest Indonesian film while Rudy Soedjarwo took best Indonesian director for 9 Naga at the 8th Jakarta InternationalFilm Festival (Jiffest).

A special mention went toGarin Nugroho's Opera Jawa for its'outstanding artistic value and for the metaphorical and spectacular visualstory'.

Jiffest launched for thefirst time this year an Indonesian film competition with 28 local filmsreleased from late last year. The awards were presented at the closing ceremonyon Sunday night (Dec 17).

The jury included Canadiandistributor Andre Bennett, European co-production fund Eurimages' JanVandierendonck and the Tokyo International Film Festival's Sozo Teruoka.

The jury noted 'the need forlengthy dialogues' is a serious problem for most of the films and hinders theirinternational potential' although they were 'pleased with the overall technicalquality'.

A 'Movies That Matter' awardpresented by Amnesty International was given to Singapore director Grace Phan's A Hero's Journey. The prize worth 5,000 Euro is to be used fordistributing the film in Indonesia.

This year's Jiffest isexpected to set a record high admission of 65,000 over 10 days (50,000admissions recorded as of Friday), up 38% from the year before.

The big jump in admissionswas mainly due to the use of two new screening venues, Djakarta XXI and eXStudio XXI, which are two of the best and centrally located multiplexes indowntown Jakarta, according to festival director Orlow Seunke. Theadmissions were only 27,000 in 2004, Seunke's first year as festival director.

Despite the phenomenalgrowth under his helm, Seunke is resigning from Jiffest to return tofilm-making. His The Taste of Waterwon the Golden Lion at Venicein 1982.

His departure is alsobecause of the difficulties in funding the event. 'The festival has no supportof the government and it's almost impossible to get local corporate sponsors,'he says.

The Jakarta MunicipalGovernment which funded the event for the first time last year did notcontribute this year. More than half of this year's US$480,000 came fromoverseas such as The Ford Foundation.

Seunke is developing severalprojects with Jiffest chairwoman Shanty Harmayn through her production companySalto Films, including Ravi Bharwani's Jermalwhich received a production grant at this year's Open Doors in Locarno and The SilentForce which Seunke will direct and San Fu Maltha will produce.