Sinematek Indonesia: Formidable Achievements in Film Collection and Research – But a Collection Under Threat

Sinematek Indonesia, the archive for feature films in Indonesia, was the first film archive established in South East Asia. The article outlines the circumstances of its establishment in 1975, as a result of negotiations between a progressive governor of Jakarta and filmmakers and educators, but shows how this, and subsequent funding frameworks outside of central government funding, has led to its current situation. The history of the Sinematek is discussed in the context of changing eras of Indonesian history. While highlighting the achievements of Sinematek Indonesia in film collection and research, it emphasizes that its remarkable collection of films on celluoid is under threat because there is no regular budget for film restoration or even for proper preservation. Also outlined is recent cooperation between Sinematek and the newly established ‘Indonesian Film Center’ in the digitization of its collection. The article is as much a memoir, as an academic article, for much of the information here is based on Hanan’s regular engagement with the archive since 1981, which has included providing subtitles for film classics in its collection, and organizing occasional film preservation projects for educational purposes.