a little rebellion

June 19, 2017

In the face of injustice, Indonesia's 100 Persen Manusia festival champions LGBTQ rights, one film at a time.

words by: Bere Wangge

It was 2010 when members of Indonesia’s notorious Muslim hardliner group the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) threatened to burn down the Goethe-Institut - in the capital city of Jakarta - for hosting Q!, an annual gay and lesbian film festival. It was “immoral,” representatives for the group claimed. It’s been seven years and when it comes to LGBTQ rights in Jakarta, much less Indonesia, not much has changed.

But neither has the LGBTQ community. If the existence of 100 Persen Manusia is any indication, LGBTQ people and their allies in Jakarta are, thankfully, as persistent as their persecutors. Translated as “100 Percent Human,” 100 Persen Manusia describes itself as “a film festival promoting the spirit of diversity with focus on gender, HIV/AIDS and human rights issues.” So in this case, persistence: one movie at a time.

Held throughout the year on various dates and numerous venues, the festival screens international films with a social focus. In late May, it was the Indonesian movie Istirahatlah Kata-Kata ("Solo, Solitude") and the French-Chadian A Screaming Man. The former is a biopic depicting the life of poet and activist Wiji Thukul, while the latter is a Cannes-award-winning 2010 flick about the civil war in Chad.

While the fight for LGBT rights in Indonesia may not be solved with film, organizing and attending festivals like these does feel like rebellion against oppression. And, as the famous Jeffersonian saying goes, a little rebellion now and then is a good thing.

Film schedules and registration forms can be found on 100 Persen Manusia’s social media accounts. Movies are shown not just to raise awareness, but to raise funds to help the festival’s various causes: viewers are asked to make small donations prior to screenings.