去年十月， 我母校培才华小欢庆建校90周年， 出版了纪念特刊。 很荣幸被列为培才杰出校友校友之一。 感恩。
杨毅恒同学的童年梦想是当一位导演, 可是在他的小学6年生涯, 很多老师及同学们都记得他曾经在92年儿童节的才艺表演中扮“忍者乌龟”。 也因为这样子, 很多人都叫他“忍者乌龟 NINJA TURTLE”。 虽然这并不是他想要的, 但也算他人生第一次跟表演艺术结了一个缘。 他在UPSR考获6个A, 对平时成绩一般的他而言, 是非常以外的。
当他升上八打灵公教中学就读的时候, 他爱上了写作, 依然希望可以实现自己的导演梦想, 写自己的剧本或小说。 他开始觉得可能导演梦太遥远了, 还是当小说家比较有机会吧。 老师们常称赞他的文笔以及想象力, 可惜他写的作文总是离题。
中学毕业之前, 杨毅恒当了英文学会的主席。他借用这机会在学校举办了一场“舞台剧比赛”, 让全校同级的同学们参与, 希望大家可以在那一段时间内, 享受创作及表演的过程。 因为那时候的杨毅恒, 真的很想让同学们知道为什么他那么热爱电影和写作。
毕业后, 他到西澳的梅铎大学(MURDOCH UNIVERSITY), 主修市场学, 副修英文文学。 修成学位后, 虽然他知道毕业以后回国可以庸庸碌碌的当一个上班族, 脚踏实地的过每一个人都在过的生活, 可是, 内心有一把声音叫他留下来, 实现儿时的梦想。 于是他决定在澳洲留多一年, 修读电影制作。
2007年, 他回马来西亚参与本地很多不同的拍摄———— 独立电影, 短片, 电视电影等等, 为了学习更多, 他在拍摄中扮演很多不同的角色。 副导演, 编剧, 监制, 剪接师等等, 虽然电影过程很辛苦, 但是他很享受拍摄过程中的满足感。
2008年, 他获得奖学金在东京的早稻田大学念电影硕士。 他去东京之前所执导的首部短片《神秘鸡饭》, 在马来西亚BMW SHORTIES短片比赛获得《特别评审奖》, 而他作品里的女主角也在比赛中获了《最佳表演》奖。 这是他导演生涯中的第一个奖项, 给了他很大的鼓励。
2009年, 杨毅恒以日语短片《金鱼》入选威尼斯影展竞赛片, 为马来西亚历年入选该影展的导演中最年轻者。 这平台让他开始引起了国外的注目。 2010年, 他的另一部作品《都是正常的》在釜山影展赢得最佳亚洲短片奖。 除此之外, 杨毅恒以编剧, 制片及剪接师身份参与的电影《虎厂》, 也在2010年闯进康城影展, 成为马来西亚有史以来第三部入围该影展的电影(也是第一部本地中文电影)。
2011 年,考获了硕士文凭后, 他获得日本早稻田大学“2010年度小野梓纪念奖 —— 艺术纪念奖”,这奖设立于1959年, 以表扬上学年度, 在学校领域, 艺术创作及体育方面有杰出表现的学生或学生团体,并且杨毅恒是该奖项设立52年以来, 首位获颁该奖项的外国留学生。 2013年, 他完成了早稻田大学的博士学位 (Doctor of Science in Global Information and Telecommunication Studies), 被选为该年的学生代表, 在毕业典礼的时候致词。 对一向学业成绩非常平凡的杨毅恒而言, 这是一个不可思议的荣誉。
今天, 杨毅恒已经成为了各大国际影展的常客, 获奖无数, 然而, 他始终相信, 一切都起源于“忍者乌龟”。
Late last year, my primary school, Puay Chai 培才华小, celebrated its 90th anniversary. Surprisingly, I was contacted by the school because they want to list me as one of their notable alumni in their special magazine, I guess it had something to do with the filmmaking thingie that I spent the last few years doing. I was truly honoured and humbled by the gesture, I have had a lot of fondness for my school.
Here's a rough translation of what was written in the magazine:
Edmund Yeo's childhood dream was to become a film director. Unfortunately for him, during his six years in primary school, teachers and students remember him more for dressing up as a Ninja Turtle on a Children's Day talent competition. And so most called him "Ninja Turtle" instead. It wasn't what he wanted, but one could say that this was his first exposure to... performance arts. He scored straight As in his UPSR (the final exam in primary school), for someone whose academic grades had been merely average, it was a surprising achievement.
For secondary school, he went to Catholic High. At that time he fell in love with writing, and continued hoping to achieve his dreams of directing, writing his own scripts, or even a novel. By then he started to realize that maybe his directing dreams were too far away, and it seemed more plausible to become a novelist instead. Teachers had often praised him for his writing and imagination, unfortunately, his essays usually veered off-topic.
Slightly before graduating from high school, Edmund took over as president of the English Language Club, he used this opportunity to organize an "Inter-class Drama Competition" for everyone in school, hoping that the people can learn to enjoy the pleasures of creativity and performance. He was hoping that his fellow schoolmates could understand why he had loved cinema and writing.
After that he went to Murdoch University in Western Australia. Majoring in Marketing, minored in English Literature. Once he finished his studies, he knew he could go home and find a office job with stable financial income. But he decided to stay around and chase after his childhood dream, he chose to do a one-year course in film production.
2007, he returned to Malaysia and was involved in numerous different productions: independent films, short films, telemovies etc. In order to learn more, he played different roles in production: assistant director, screenwriter, editor, producer etc. Filmmaking was tough, but he enjoyed the excitement.
2008, he received a scholarship and went to Waseda University in Tokyo to do his Masters in filmmaking. A short film he directed before going to Japan, "CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY", received a Special Jury Award at Malaysia's premier short film competition, BMW Shorties, his lead actress won a "Best Acting Performance" too. This was his first ever award as a filmmaker, and it reinforced his confidence.
2009, his first Japanese short film "KINGYO" was invited to the Venice Film Festival, he became the youngest Malaysian director to ever compete in this prestigious festival. He slowly gained more attention from international film festivals.
In 2010, his other short film "INHALATION" received the Best Asian Short Film award at the Busan International Film Festival. During the same year, "THE TIGER FACTORY", a film he produced, co-wrote and edited, was selected for screening at the Cannes Film Festival. It was the 3rd ever Malaysian film screened at Cannes.
2011, he received an Azusa Ono Memorial For Art Award from Waseda University, at that time he was the first-ever foreign recipient in the award's 52 year history.
In 2013, he finished his doctorate and was selected to give a speech on behalf of other doctorate students at the graduation ceremony. For someone whose academic results had always been average, it was an unexpected honour.
Today, Edmund Yeo's films have shown in numerous film festivals around the world, winning several awards etc. But he still believed that it all started with "Ninja Turtle".
Thanks, Puay Chai, I'm happy that I can make you guys proud.
(On the other hand, my relationship with my high school, Catholic High PJ, is much more complicated)