Economy puts brakes on Asia Pacific festival

Jakarta event postponed in final stages of preparation

SYDNEY -- The Asia Pacific Film Festival in Indonesia, scheduled to kick off Nov. 18 in Jakarta, has been postponed because of the global economic crisis, organizers said Wednesday.

Festival committee chairman Raam Punjabi told The Hollywood Reporter that, despite being in the final stages of preparation, the event will be postponed "as the global economic conditions have taken away some of the enthusiasm of the member countries."

The announcement comes as the Jakarta International Film Festival also appears to be struggling, with organizers of that event telling THR that December's 10th edition might be scaled back from 10 days to five.

Hong Kong media mogul Run Run Shaw founded the Asia Pacific Film Festival in 1953. It is hosted by a different Asian city each year in one of the 21 member countries of the Federation of Motion Pictures Producers in Asia. The event may go ahead in Jakarta in six or nine months or tabled entirely until the 2009 edition, which is set to be held in Taipei, Punjabi said.

This year's festival, meant to promote the exchange of movies to build cultural bridges between member countries, has faced stiff competition from other Asian festivals.

Sponsors were concerned about a drop in the number of overseas visitors as the festival falls in the calendar just after the ongoing Tokyo International Film Festival and October's Pusan International Film Festival and competes for time almost directly with the Asia Pacific Screen Awards in Australia, the second edition of which is set for mid-November.

The Jakarta Provincial Government and other Indonesian sponsors have not pulled out, Punjabi said.