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Friday, September 17, 2010

Catch KINGYO and a sneak peek of INHALATION at Malaysian Shorts, 20th Sept

UPDATED: This is my short film Kingyo, in its entirety

A while ago, Allan Koay the journalist once asked whether I noticed that my short films looked alike.

I disagree.

Aside from having scenes of brooding young women.

The Maid (Luchino Fujisaki) has a solitary moment
Luchino Fujisaki in KINGYO

[INHALATION] Mei (Susan Lee Fong Zhi) musing in a butcher shop

And regularly centering around two protagonists walking around somewhere at night, chit-chatting, and reopening old wounds etc etc.

[kingyo] A nocturnal conversation at the carpark

[INHALATION] Seng (Ernest Chong) confronts Mei (Susan Lee)

I think each and every single one of my shorts look different!

Kingyo has split screens and a girl in maid costume.

Inhalation has, er, no split screens and a girl working in a pig farm and butcher shop.

See? Massive differences, both.

However, if you live somewhere in Klang Valley and you want to check it for yourself, and you have never got the chance to watch KINGYO (even after I accidentally leaked it via Twitter yesterday), you can catch both of them, including, yes, a sneak peek of INHALATION at this edition's Malaysian Shorts in HELP UNIVERSITY.

I have lots of fond memories of Malaysian Shorts, despite the event's relative obscurity to the masses, it is a launching pad for many of the most well-known Malaysian filmmakers today. Imagine my elation when my student shorts from Australia, VERTICAL DISTANCE (2006) and GIRL DISCONNECTED (2006) were selected for screening 3 years ago.

And then, the rather chilly responses I got subsequently gave me a lot of motivation for self-examination and soul-searching. Thus I realized I had to 'up my own game' when making short films.

So yup, nearly 4 years later, I'm honoured to have two of my shorts playing at this year's edition of Malaysian Shorts.

Unfortunately, I never really had the chance to attend most of the Malaysian Shorts. The only one I went to was the one in early 2007 for GIRL DISCONNECTED's. I missed the one showing VERTICAL DISTANCE in August 2007 cos I went off to Chile, then I missed the one showing a rough cut of LOVE SUICIDES early last year cos I was here in Japan.

I'm afraid I'm not going to break this streak, being stranded in Tokyo right now and all.

But please, please, PLEASE. If you have nothing better to do on this Monday, and you want to catch some of my short films, please have a look.

Even if you obviously want to AVOID my shorts, you can still catch the other, more worthwhile short films in the program. You can just go through those, wait until mine appear, walk out for a 40 minute toilet break when KINGYO begins (it's the pretty one with the split screens), and then go back into the hall when INHALATION ends (it's the stylish one with all those falling cherry blossom petals).

Kelab Seni Filem presents the long awaited new edition of --

Malaysian Shorts

Presented by Amir Muhammad

Q&A with the directors (Edmund: except ME!!)

Free admission – all welcome

Monday 20 Sept, 8.00pm

HELP University College, Pusat Bandar Damansara, KL

Enquiries: 012-2255136

Focal Point

Dir: Alireza Khatami & Ali Seiffouri (12min, Malaysia-Iran, 2009)

An old photographer has a magical camera, a legacy from his ancestors. People come to him to find out who their soul mates are. It is not always a happy story when a couple discovers they are not meant for each other. Once in a while he takes his own pictures to add to the growing collection of his loved one's photographs. Then one day she herself shows up. Fearing that he might not appear in her photograph he lies awake at night. Next day he places his own photograph in the package that he has to hand to her.

Iran-born Alireza Khatami & Ali Seiffouri studied at Multimedia University, Malaysia, and they made several acclaimed and award-winning shorts. They are currently pursuing their MFA in the Savannah College of Art and Design, USA in film directing and cinematography.


Dir: Anwari Ashraf (8min, Malaysia, 2009)

Kiamu!!! is set in a boarding school… or, more specifically, in the hyperactive mind of one of the boys, as he takes us through the place. What does a guy have to do to fit in?

Anwari's first attempted film directing at the age of 14. His debut short film; Humpty Dumpty's Scientific Escape (2003) brought him to Hong Kong for the 2004 APICTA awards. He was a pure-science stream student and was aiming to study Medical Science on a government scholarship. But he has just completed his BA in Film, Video & Interactive Arts at Middlesex University, London under the sponsorship of Astro.

The Colour of Ideas

Dir: Low Weiyan (7min, Malaysia, 2010)

Quirky, stop-motion work set in the context of political agitation, but with an underlying humanist agenda. The colour-coded blobs represent the main Malaysian political parties, as well as the colours of the flag.

Low Weiyan is a student of life, and, to a less important degree, at a university. He wants to make films and contribute to humanitarian causes.

kingyo (goldfish)

Dir: Edmund Yeo (25min, Malaysia-Japan, 2009)

Poignant film which uses split-screens to tell the story of two former lovers who meet again to discover a shared guilt. Shot in Tokyo with a largely Japanese cast and crew. Based on a Yasunari Kawabata short story, kingyo was in competition at the Venice International Film Festival 2009. "A rich and stunning film that chooses to approach emotionally complex themes from a strictly cinematic standpoint and emerges triumphant" (Marc Saint-Cyr, Toronto J-Film).

Edmund Yeo obtained a graduate diploma in media production at Murdoch University after completing his BCom there. He produced Woo Ming Jin’s films The Elephant and the Sea, Woman on Fire Looks for Water and Tiger Factory. Edmund’s shorts - Chicken Rice Mystery, Fleeting Images, Love Suicides and kingyo - have screened and won awards at film festivals.

Dir: Edmund Yeo (17min, Malaysia-Japan, 2010)
A spin-off of Woo Ming Jin's The Tiger Factory (2010), it follows the story of Mei, a disgruntled worker on a pig farm and a butcher shop. One night she takes money from boyfriend Seng, breaks his heart, and smuggles into Japan. A month later she gets deported. Her ex-boyfriend Seng picks up her up from the harbour. The young couple spend the night trying to come to terms with how they came to their lives of shattered dreams and forsaken love. Angry words are exchanged, but as morning comes, in the face of fate's inevitability, they inhale in resignation.

Festivals: Pusan International Film Festival 2010 (in competition), Vancouver International Film Festival 2010, Tokyo International Film Festival 2010.


Dir: Shanjhey Kumar Perumal (28min, Malaysia, 2010)

Rebellious conversation between two gangsters from different eras while they recap certain chapters from their lives. Made with prize money from Shanjhey’s win in the 2009 BMWshorties competition with his short film Machai.

Shanjhey: “Jagat is the Indian way of pronouncing the Malay word jahat which means bad. It’s a common word among gangsters. I found it catchy and it’s kinda very Malaysian in a way. In another respect jagam in Tamil and jagat in Sanskrit mean universe. The universe plays an important role in this film.”

The Other One

Dir: Ng Ken Kin (10:36min, Malaysia, 2010)

Ali, Chong and Muthu are talents for a multiracial commercial shoot which takes place in the middle of nowhere. A case of food poisoning forces Muthu into the woods to relieve himself. They find out later that they are not the only presence there. Winner of the Best Short Film award (Semi-Pro category) at the Panasonic Digital Film Fiesta 2010.

Ken Kin's last short film was in 2006 as part of the Beautiful Malaysia series. Since then he's been directing tv series and getting his hands dirty doing location sound for various shoots. In 2007 he co-founded Soundwise Sdn Bhd (www.soundwise.com.my). ken@soundwise.com.my/ ngkenkin@gmail.com


Dir Aaron Chung (4min, Malaysia, 2009)

Carwash is a live-action short film set in a 24-hour carwash centre. Constantly a victim of local thugs, a migrant worker encounters an international assassin who himself is having a rough night’s work. Carwash premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam earlier this year.

Aaron Chung is a working cinematographer who was trained at Akademi Filem Malaysia. His student short Crook was chosen as Best Malaysian Student Short in 2004. His work as director of photography includes Jarum Halus (2008), House (episode in 15Malaysia, 2009), and The Other One (2010).

ByeBye Birdie

Dir: Akashdeep Singh (12min, Malaysia, 2010)

A father and son's big day out.

At Festival Filem Malaysia 2007, Akashdeep Singh won Best Short Film for his short film Pintu and Best Editor for Cinta (2007). His work as feature film editor includes Histeria, Hooperz and Kapoww.

Total screening time: 123min