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The first-ever Sundance Film Festival: Asia will take place in Jakarta this year

Alongside film screenings, expect new Sundance Institute Lab initiatives for Asian talent

  • Olivia Wycech
  • 22 March 2021
The first-ever Sundance Film Festival: Asia will take place in Jakarta this year

Asia can soon look forward to a meeting for all creative minds in the independent film community. The Sundance Institute together with XRM Media announced last week that they will collaborate on the inaugural event in Asia with the goal of supporting, connecting, promoting, and celebrating the independent film community within Asia.

The first edition of Sundance Film Festival: Asia will take place this year in late summer in Jakarta with support from IDN Media. The programming will consist of independent films from the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, which was held in Utah from January 28 to February 3 earlier this year, and a delegation of filmmakers are expected to make the trip — travel and public health permitting. Alongside film screenings, expect new Sundance Institute Lab initiatives for Asian talent in collaboration with XRM Media, as well as Sundance Co//ab experiences designed specifically for the territory.

“We have long wanted to deepen our connection to the bold and vibrant energy of Asian independent filmmaking,” said Tabitha Jackson, director of Sundance Film Festival. “The opportunity to work more closely with the community of filmmakers and audiences in Indonesia through a collaboration with XRM Media makes this first year of Sundance Film Festival: Asia a very exciting prospect.”

Michael Y. Chow, co-founder of XRM Media, added: “Indonesia is an emerging film market, and we are committed to bringing the strength of the Institute to help develop and showcase Asian talent to the indie community.”

It’s not the first time Sundance has entered Asia. It previously operated a Hong Kong leg from 2014 to 2019 before COVID saw an end to that. Sundance will also explore other Asian cities for future editions of the new festival.

Sundance was founded in 1981 by American actor and director Robert Redford, and has become one of the largest and independent film festivals in the world since its inception. The non-profit Sundance Institute provides creative and financial support to aspiring independent artists through a series of labs, grant, and mentorship programs, and has previously helped to launch the careers of filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Paul Thomas Anderson.

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