A three-member international jury awarded Dimas Djayadiningrat's Quickie Express $2000 as the best Indonesian feature of the past year for 'its mixture of lively irreverent humour expertly matched with a firm narrative structure and a professional sheer that compares with the best of international commercial cinema.' The box office hit created a trend for local sex comedies.
Fiksi. director Mouly Surya was awarded $800 as best director for 'her inventive and elegant approach to the thriller genre.' The debut feature is about a repressed young woman who becomes obsessed with the pool boy and moves in next door. Both winning films were scripted by director Joko Anwar, best known internationally for his debut Joni's Promise, who joined the winners on stage.
JIFFest opened on Dec 5 with Joel & Ethan Coen's Burn After Reading and closed on Dec 9 with Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona. In a mid-festival gala, the festival hosted the world premiere of Riri Riza's Drupadi, an unconventional 45-minute interpretation of the Mahabharata epic told from the perspective of the titular princess.
The total budget of this year's festival was approximately $250,000, down from $450,000 in 2007 and $600,000 in 2005. After a major commercial sponsor cut its support by two-thirds, the decision was made only in late October to reduce the length of the festival from ten to five days. Audience size was 28,058, down from approximately 54,000 in 2007.
The thirty international guests included festival programmers from Rotterdam, Singapore and Yamagata in Japan. The handful of directors in attendance included Thailand's Aditya Assarat with Wonderful Town and Australia-Iranian filmmaker Faramarz K. Rahber with his documentary Donkey In Lahore about an Australian man's conversion to Islam for romantic love.
The festival's position as a key international platform for Indonesian cinema was derailed by a lack of English subtitles at half the screenings and the scheduling of narrative feature films exclusively in overlapping morning and afternoon slots. Indonesian cinema has achieved a market share of 58% so far in 2008, up from 45% in 2007 and 34% in 2006.