The 8th JakartaInternational Film Festival (Jiffest), Indonesia's only international film festival, will puttogether a new competitive showcase dedicated to local cinema for the firsttime this year.

To promote Indonesiancinema, the inaugural Indonesian feature film competition will have 28 localfilms, released from last December, competing for best film and best directorwith each winner receiving a cash prize of $5,000. The screenings are open tothe public free of charge.

The competing films includeNia Dinata's Love For Share(Indonesia's entry for this year's foreign-language Oscar which was recentlynamed best feature at the Hawaii International Film Festival), Hanny Saputra's Heart (a local box office hit with overone million admissions), Rudi Soedjarwo's 9Dragons, Teddy Soeriaatmadja's Ruangas well as Serambi and Opera Jawa, both by veteran film-makerGarin Nugroho.

Alejandro GonzálezIñárritu's Babel will open the festival on Dec 8 while PaulVerhoeven's Black Book is the closingfilm on Dec 17.

According to festivaldirector Orlow Seunke, this year's Jiffest is mostly funded by local foundationYayasan Putra Jethmal and corporate sponsors such as LA Lights, Nokia, Polytronand HP, but not by the Jakarta Municipal Government which was the lastedition's major sponsor contributing to the bulk of the festival's budget.Nevertheless, the festival is on a similar scale as last year with over 200films from 35 countries.

The festival will also hostfour five-day script development workshops. Ten shortlisted projects willcompete for five prizes, including Euros10,000 from Hubert Bals and Euros5,000from Jan Vrijman Fund.

The last edition of Jiffestwas a huge success, attracting a record high of 47,000 spectators, an almost80% increase from 2004. Another 30,000 spectators were recorded from itstraveling programme which screened a selection of 20 feature films anddocumentaries in 15 cities outside Jakarta from April to June this year.

This year's Jiffest willcontinue with the traveling programme which is scheduled to start from April2007.