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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The CON-CAN Movie Festival Awards Ceremony and Ando Lab screening in Waseda

Last month, the people of CON-CAN Movie Festival decided to hold an awards ceremony in Waseda University because, aside from me, another award winner Nishihara, was also a Waseda student.

A couple of stuff happened, and my professor Ando, who was already planning for a public screening of productions from our lab, made this a joint event with CON-CAN Movie Festival.

The event was held last Tuesday (15th of December), just a day after the screening in Keio University.

Once again, the four award-winning films of the CON-CAN Movie Festival were screened. Along with six productions from the members of Ando Laboratory.

The event began with the Ando Laboratory screenings. The films screened were:

1) Kong's debut short film CENSORED (I took some really nice photos of the production)

2) Zifeng's short film BUBBLES (shot by THE WHITE FLOWER cinematographer Niklas)

3) My often-underrated and overlooked short film LOVE SUICIDES

[Love Suicides] The girl (Arika Lee) plays with the red balloon

Then there was a break. Then the rest of the films screened were:

4) MIURO by Erika Matsushita (cinematographer of my 'lost' short film, 3PM)

5) A documentary called SHAOLIN KUNGFU, edited by ZiFeng and Yang Yang that also picked up an award at the Eibunren Awards.

6) My KINGYO... not going to talk much about it.

That was followed by the CON-CAN Movie Festival events.

I managed to meet Junko, who did the wonderful Japanese translations of FLEETING IMAGES. Here's a photo of me and her, with Ando-sensei.

With Ando-sensei and Junko the translator

CON-CAN Movie Fest jury member and filmmaker Naomi Kawase left a video message commenting on each of the four award-winning films. Here's when she commented on FLEETING IMAGES:

(click here if you cannot view embedded video)

A (very) rough (and possibly inaccurate) translation:

"In 10 minutes, the director made it clear what his thoughts were. And the title gave an idea what the film was about as well. The images were very beautiful."

After that, jury member and film critic Chris Fujiwara came onstage to talk about the role of short films and film festivals. To him, the main purpose of film festivals is to educate audiences.

Jury member Chris Fujiwara gives a speech

Here's Nishihara, winner of Best Fiction Film.

Best Fiction Film Award winner Nishihara

And here's Monica, Special Jury Prize winner.

Special Jury Award winner Monica Gallab

I finally went up to retrieve my award.

Receiving the Grand Prix award

And then I gathered myself to give an acceptance speech. Not realizing that I looked like an idiot then.

My acceptance speech at the CON-CAN Award Ceremony

I finally revealed that I actually knew about the CON-CAN Movie Festival since 2005, during my days in Perth. At that time, I had just made my ah, home video, FORCED LABOUR (... you can watch it here, but it's not for the faint of heart), and thinking that I had just made a supreme gangster film, I went around to look for short film festivals that I could submit the film to.

That was probably how i found CON-CAN by accident. Yet when I looked at the films selected by the festival, I was shocked by their quality and production values, and I knew I wasn't ready. And that was why I decided to stay in Perth for another year to do a one-year course in filmmaking. Therefore Chris was right, I was indeed one of the people educated by this festival.

Since then I continued making short films, hoping that one day I could make a short film worthy of the CON-CAN Movie Festival. So it was a tremendous honour, and surprise, to be there, picking up the Grand Prix award.

FLEETING IMAGES was a one-man film, but I wouldn't have gotten it done without the help of my Chinese translators, but most importantly, it was my 2007 trip in India that gave me something to say. To see the school of the visually-impaired children and also the nursing home of the Tibetan refugees, I was reminded of the world's imperfection. We all live in an imperfect world, that's why we all have something to say, perhaps that is why we exist.

But saying that, I feel a little hesitant about my self-importance, therefore I can only assure you that I am humbly dedicated to my arts, and to be standing here, before others who are chasing after the same dreams as well, I am inspired. Therefore I will continue to make films.

So that was what I remembered about my largely-improvised speech. I don't have a video of it, but An-chan does, so I will get it from her later. (UPDATE: added video)

Giving an acceptance speech at the CON-CAN Award Ceremony

click here if you cannot see embedded video

And after that. A party was held. Many came. I was suddenly approached by a few people who turned out to be ex-staff members from CON-CAN 2005, they told me that they were very moved by my speech, not expecting what they did back then could lead to what I'm doing right now.

It was a great night.

Here's me with Juan the videographer and Yumi the photographer.

With Juan the videographer and Yumi the photographer

Then with CON-CAN Movie Festival director Tanimoto.

Tanimoto the CON-CAN Movie Fest director

My trophy.

My CON-CAN Movie Festival paper fan trophy (front)

My CON-CAN Movie Festival paper fan trophy (back)
The CON-CAN logo

I then headed off for the (much-delayed) KINGYO wrap party. (couldn't have that because main actor Takao was always touring around for his dance performances, and I went back to Malaysia the day after the shoot back in January). More on that later, yup.