Sekala Niskala’s Inclusion in Practice

If you’re a movie lover or an arts and culture enthusiast, then Sekala Niskala (The Seen and Unseen) should be familiar to you. It’s a feature film directed by the talented, Kamila Andini.

The film has been premiered in the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and achieved so many awards within the festival circuit ever since, such as: Grand Prix Winner Berlinale Generation Kplus, Best Youth Feature Film APSA, Grand Prix Winner, Tokyo FILMeX, Best Feature Film JAFF-NETPAC, Critics’ Choice Award Fribourg International Film Festival, Best Cinematography Malaysia International Film Festival, and the list goes on.

And following its many awards, it is no wonder that Sekala Niskala have received many positive reviews from international and national media, also cinephile all around the world. Here are a couple of Kamila’s interviews that can give you reference:

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From those many reviews, numerous media have put forward the narrative of woman leadership of this film, which is projected towards the director. But, as mentioned numerous times by Kamila, she is not the only woman in leadership within the production of this film. In fact, the film was led by women in almost all key departments: producer, cinematographer, production designer, choreographer, editor, and her as director. Having this women-majority crew in the industry, is of course a rare thing, not only in Indonesia but also in many other countries.

FreakMagz salutes Sekala Niskala for its process and of course output. Considering its rarities, it made us want to learn the ways in which this film production was able to channel success by getting together an all-women key actors through its practice of inclusivity. Here are a few snippets from the Sekala Niskala team to take note on:


1.         Celebrate Independence

Since the beginning, the spirit of this film is to have the freedom in storytelling, expression, and production. Each of the crew was given the space to unleash their potential through “non-usual” collaboration with women makers.

2.         Enabling Environment

The film process has started since 2011, it went through several breaks due to the director’s pregnancy. But it went smoothly because the environment was supportive.

Kamila Andini stated, “We have to realize that the filmmaking environment is not female-friendly, especially for mothers, i.e. unpredictable working hours, facility, condition, etc. It’s important to know who you are and what you love; be firm with your identity. That way, you can build a support system to allow you to fulfill your potential without being questioned for your roles as wives and/or mothers”.

3.         Breaking the Tradition and Becoming the Firsts

Sekala Niskala provides an avenue for equal access, opportunity, and appreciation to women skillsets in the very much male-dominated industry. The avenue yielded them success in Berlinale (Winner for Feature Film) and Malaysia International Film Festival (Best Cinematography), and many other.

4.         Feminist Men and Space

Sekala Niskala mentioned that in taking women seriously in the sector, there is paramount need for transformative gender approach within the film industry, and that engaging men to be change-makers is also crucial.

Kamila Andini stated, “Space and opportunity for women directors should always be encouraged and pushed forward. I think the number of women directing films will increase directly in proportion with the number of feminist men who gives as much space for their daughter, niece, sister, wife to do anything they love to do”.