'Forever' wins top film prize in Jakarta

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SINGAPORE -- The road movie "3 Hari Untuk Selamanya" (3 Days to Forever) by Indonesian director Riri Riza won the best Indonesian film award Sunday at the ninth Jakarta International Film Festival.

The best Indonesian director nod went to Deddy Mizwar for "Nagabonar (Jadi) 2" (Nagabonar [Becomes] 2), a comedy centered on a father and son's dispute. The Movies That Matter Human Rights Award went to "Playing Between Elephants" by director Aryo Danusiri, about a chief in the battle-scarred territory of north Sumatra, Indonesia, trying to lead his village through reconstruction and rehabilitation after the 2004 tsunami.

JiFFest screened 180 films from 33 countries from Dec. 7 through Sunday on a budget of 3.8 billion rupiah ($407,000), down 30% from 2006. Guests were 15% fewer year over year with attendance at 54,000.

Yet organizers said JiFFest remains the biggest international film festival in Southeast Asia and said ticket sales were encouraging, with opening film "Persepolis" and closing film "Chants of Lotus" sold out before the festival began.

"Into the Wild," "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" and the Coen brothers' action thriller "No Country for Old Men" also proved popular titles. Organizers reported that the free screenings of Indonesian and Southeast Asian cinema also were well attended.

On the opening night, the newly appointed governor of Jakarta, Fauzi Bowo, pledged to support the festival throughout his term. This was good news to the festival known for its constant struggle with funding.
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