Free Societies

CIPS new short film 'Bakoel Kosong' plays its part in Indonesia's reforms


To promote free trade policies that would make it easier to access food in Indonesia, the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS), an Atlas Network partner in Jakarta, produced Bakoel Kosong (Empty Bowl), a humorous short film that appeals to Indonesia’s young audiences.

Bakoel Kosong, which was created in collaboration with the Cameo Project, explains how trade restrictions cause higher food prices, especially for those in poverty. “When we held screenings and discussions, we asked participants whether they saw imports as necessary to achieve affordable food prices. The majority said they disagreed with this,” explained Anthea Haryoko, head of external relations at CIPS.

Haryoko believes that a strong nationalist rhetoric around the issue is responsible for the public’s negative views of reform. However, Bakoel Kosong has had a massive impact on shifting students’ perceptions, with most agreeing that imports and free trade are necessary after watching the screening.

The idea for the film came from Haryoko’s participation in Atlas Network’s 2018 Lights, Camera, Liberty! film workshop, and she and her colleagues were inspired by other Atlas Network events “where we get to see the wonderful results of what other think tanks are doing around the world to advance freedom.”

Bakoel Kosong, which has been posted to YouTube, has more than 23,000 views and has been shown to over 500 college students throughout Indonesia. “Atlas Network has been such a key supporter of CIPS since we started 5 years ago”, said Haryoko. “It’s not just through grant making, but through the network. We’ve been exposed to so much knowledge and experience.”