New film festival and market aims to support burgeoning local film industry.

Indonesia is launching a new film festival and market, the Equator Film Expo (EFX), which aims to support the burgeoning local film industry and promote the country as a shooting destination.

The first edition is scheduled to take place March 27-30, 2015 in Jakarta. It will feature an international film festival; a film market, focusing on co-productions; a locations showcase and technology trade show; along with a conference series and networking events.

The event, which has private backing for its first edition, will also feature a competition section for films from emerging nations.

“Indonesia has the fourth largest population in the world but has very little soft power, so our goal is to build up this industry and give Indonesia a voice,” said Guillaume Catala, who co-founded the event with Tedy Tricahyono.

The organisers are collaborating with the newly-established Indonesian Film Council (BPI), founded by the government to consolidate its film-related activities. In addition to organising film festivals and promoting Indonesian films and locations at overseas events, the new body is developing a three-year strategic plan to develop the local film industry.

“The Indonesian film industry has been growing with some films achieving more than 4 million admissions, but the next step is to establish the foreign market for international films,” said BPI commissioner Edwin Nazir.

The BPI also organises the Indonesian Film Festival, which awarded its best picture prize to historical drama Sang Kiai at its last edition in December 2013.

Indonesia has a vibrant local film industry, but it has been unable to grow as the country is underscreened. However, the screen count is set to grow as both CJ CGV and Lippo Group are exploring the market.