Indonesia’s National Movie Day: From Legacy to Future

Indonesia’s National Movie Day (HFN) is celebrated every March 30. This year, 2023, marks the 73rd anniversary of National Film Day. This celebration is based on a historical moment in the world of cinema on March 30, 1950 where the first film was made by Indonesians.

The first film directed by Indonesians was called “Darah dan Doa (The Long March)” on March 30, 1950 by Usmar Ismail. In 1962, the owner of Studio PERSARI and a film producer named Djamaluddin Malik suggested to the Indonesian Film Council (DFI) that this National Film Day should refer to the first day of production of the film “Darah dan Doa (The Long March)”, which was in March 30, 1950. The proposal was quickly accepted; however, it cannot be implemented immediately because of the political situation at that time. 

Only during President BJ Habibie’s era was the day finally accepted to be celebrated every March 30. Usmar Ismail was then called the father of Indonesia’s movie industry. Even though “Darah dan Doa (The Long March)” was not the first movie produced in Indonesia, “Darah dan Doa (The Long March)” was the first movie ever produced by Indonesian people and companies, as previously only foreigners and colonizers ever make movies in indonesia.

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This year, Indonesia’s national movie day will be celebrated in hybrid and open form, meaning everyone can join whether online or offline. This year’s HFN will be a series of events starting from March 6th until the peak of March 30th. The peak event for HFN will be filled with 50 cross-disciplinary speakers and stakeholders who discussed a number of issues such as national film education policies and standards, work standards and optimization of film industry actors, film professional codes of ethics, industrial relations, human resource development and film communities, as well as festival governance.

This year’s celebration also has a special theme for the 73rd anniversary which is “Bercermin Pada Masa Lalu, Merencanakan Masa Depan” or reflecting on the past, planning ahead. This theme is chosen as an effort to strengthen and advance cinema in Indonesia within the framework of the National Film ecosystem.

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