Monday, November 30, 2009

Jakarta’s Old Town Pictured as Indonesia’s Hollywood

If a novel plan pushes through, the famous Old Town in West Jakarta could find new life as Indonesia’s Hollywood, according to city officials.

Arie Budhiman, head of the city’s culture and tourism agency, said on Monday that it was time to elevate the Old Town’s role from its current status as tourism destination and venue for events.

“We want to turn the Old Town into the center of culture, especially in terms of cinematography. Old Town could be the Hollywood of Indonesia,” he said.

First, Arie said the government would provide a new campus in one of several Dutch-era buildings in the area for the privately owned Jakarta Arts Institute (IKJ).

Chandrian Attahiyat, head of the agency’s Old Town technical unit, said that by 2012 IKJ undergraduate students would be able to use Old Town as their new campus.

“We want a vibrant Old Town,” he said. “It will have an influence on the area and create arts communities that could encourage creative industries in the district.”

Chandrian said that of the 284 historic buildings in Old Town, 23 belonged to the State Enterprises Ministry, six were owned by the city administration and the rest belonged to individuals or private companies.

He said the city administration and the State Enterprises Ministry had formed a Heritage Building Revitalization Team to repair the 29 buildings they owned between them. In the first phase, the city would revitalize five buildings in 2010.

Chandrian said the city would choose one of the buildings owned by the ministry as the new IKJ campus. However, he said that the city was still discussing which building and the building usage procedure. Whether the city buys the building, borrows it from the central government or takes it in the form of a grant has to be decided also.

Arie added that IKJ planned to hold various events this month in the Old Town area, such as art exhibitions and filmmaking activities in the area. He believed that it would make the area more attractive.

Separately, Tinia Budiati the deputy head of the tourism agency, said in a press conference on Monday that the Old Town would host the “Enjoy Jakarta Music Festival” this Saturday in the Fatahillah Museum in the Old Town area. The event, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. will promote the Betawi (native Jakartan) culture and will include traditional dances as well as cultural performances married to modern music.

To encourage more visitors to the Old Town, admission to the event is free.

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