Six short films receive awards

A snapshot of the ‘Best Short Film’ (‘Students’ category), ‘Pulang’ by Yam Kin Wai.

KUCHING: Six short films out of 20 competing in the 17th Mini Film Festival (17thMFF), organised by the Cinematography Programme, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) were bestowed awards in the Malaysia’s longest running short film festival.

The festival director Yow Chong Lee said this record of high awards number is unprecedented in the festival’s history.

He said previously, juries commonly settled for four awards with ‘Best Short Film’ and ‘Special Jury Award’ for both ‘Open’ and ‘Students’ categories.

“Short film is often the door to feature length film. Filmmakers who make feature length films today are likely to have started their career with short films about five or 10 years ago. Hence, our objective for this festival is to provide a platform that encourages emerging voices which could potentially spearhead the future of Malaysian cinema one day,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Yow said for the ‘Students’ category, ‘Pulang’, directed by Yam Kin Wai who recently graduated from National Taiwan University of Arts, and ‘Bagan’, directed by Firdaus Balam who recently graduated from Multimedia University (MMU), won the ‘Best Short Film Award’.

‘Best Short Film’(‘Students’ category), ‘Bagan’ by Firdaus Balam

He added that the festival also awarded ‘Were the Sun and the Moon to Meet’ by Nadira Ilana, a Sabahan filmmaker, with ‘Best Short Film’ for the ‘Open’ category.

“Three other films were bestowed ‘Special Jury Awards’, namely ‘Burung-Burung’ by Anwar Johari Ho, ‘Ayahku, Dr. G’ by Hidayah Hisham and ‘Who the F**k Are You’ by Ng Kai Soong.

“Two other films were given honourable mentioned as to recognise their efforts in creatively presenting timely subjects matter like a caretaker of an Alzheimer patient during the pandemic (‘Menanti Kau Pulang’ by Izaq Yuzaini) as well as a film inspired by the folklore of sape (‘Echo’ by Jeremy Jecky),” he said.

On another note, Unimas stated that the festival received more than 11,000 audience registration with not less than 7,000 viewings from Malaysia and around the globe throughout its festival week.

It said this is another record for a small festival run virtually by a group of students and lecturers from Unimas.

“The 17th MFF ended its week-long online festival on Sunday. Bridging both the filmmakers and their audiences by screening 47 short films and three webinars, the festival brought filmmakers and audiences virtually together with record high audiences’ registration and viewing throughout the festival week,” it said.

Yow noted that the high viewership and response is very encouraging.

“This is very encouraging to us as we are running the festival on a small budget and skeleton students’ crew connected through online communication in the past few months to ensure a successful festival.

“This is certainly reflected through the festival’s motto, ‘mini in scale, big in ambition’, as the festival aims to strive for its best in creating greater film appreciation among audiences in Malaysia and beyond despite challenges posed by the pandemic,” he added.