Balai Pustaka Ventures into Creative Industry with Films, Digital Comics, and Games

PT Balai Pustaka (Persero), a State-Owned Enterprise known for its publishing and book printing activities, is stepping into the creative industry by producing films, digital comics, and games.

In line with the instructions of Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, Erick Thohir, to revive the literary works published by Balai Pustaka through films and digital media, the State-Owned Enterprise has undergone a transformation.

“Balai Pustaka is eager to revitalize its assets through this transformative journey. We begin with films, then we have digital products that cater to the interests of the millennials, such as games, webtoons, and other products,” said Achmad Fachrodji, the CEO of PT Balai Pustaka, during the press screening of the film “Kutukan Peti Mati” in Karet Kuningan, South Jakarta, as reported by Antara on July 17, 2023.

Erick Thohir, the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, who hails from the media industry and has extensive experience in the creative sector, hopes that Balai Pustaka can be revitalized through its intellectual wealth or book collections.

The transformation of Balai Pustaka into the creative industry begins with the release of its debut film titled “Kutukan Peti Mati,” an adaptation of the novel “Sarcophagus Onrust” by Astryd Diana Savitri.

Besides this film, Balai Pustaka is also set to present a film adaptation of the novel “Sitti Nurbaya” by Marah Roesli. In the future, Balai Pustaka plans to produce film adaptations of other literary works, such as “Sengsara Membawa Nikmat,” “Mencari Pencuri Anak Perawan,” “Bawang Merah Bawang Putih,” “Layar Terkembang,” and “Salah Asuhan,” collaborating with various film production houses.

Regarding digital media such as games and digital comics, these projects are currently undergoing development, involving experts in their respective fields. Achmad stated that the products will be announced once the development process is complete.

The introduction of films and digital media is expected to familiarize the younger generation with Indonesian literary works, instilling a deeper love for their country. Minister Erick Thohir has repeatedly directed PT Balai Pustaka to focus on the intellectual property (IP) of existing creative works owned by Indonesia and not to compete with new IP created by young Indonesians.

“Furthermore, the IP held by Balai Pustaka, we are discussing with the management and board of directors that Balai Pustaka should focus on the IP owned by Indonesia, without competing with new IPs created by young Indonesians,” said Minister Erick during an online seminar in Jakarta on July 16.

Minister Erick also cited examples of Indonesian folklore such as “Lutung Kasarung,” “Legenda Tangkuban Perahu,” and others that can be turned into IPs. Additionally, well-known works like “Siti Nurbaya” and “Tiga Dara” can be transformed into IPs as well.

Minister Erick emphasized that the IPs could be handed to private producers for further development. The goal is to collaborate with local content creators while maintaining ownership of the IP.

To foster creativity, innovation, and enthusiasm within PT Balai Pustaka, Minister Erick urged the management and team to produce engaging content and revitalize their intellectual properties to cater to modern audiences.

Furthermore, Minister Erick expressed his desire for Telkom and Telkomsel to become aggregators for local content such as films and music to support the Indonesian film and creative content ecosystem. He has also requested that the State Film Production Company (PFN) refrain from competing in film production but rather serve as a film financing institution under the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises.

The transformation of PFN into a film financing institution will facilitate funding for Indonesian film productions, aligning the company with the financial services sector.