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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Returning to Dubai International Film Festival with my short film, EXHALATION

I'm actually leaving for Dubai tonight.

My short film EXHALATION is making its world premiere in the Muhr AsiaAfrica Shorts competition section at the Dubai International Film Festival.

[Exhalation] Naoko (Kiki Sugino) and Sayuri (Tomoe Shinohara) brooding

I shot EXHALATION end of last year, its postproduction was a little complicated, so I ended up shooting INHALATION (trailer) a few months later, yet INHALATION premiered first and had been doing the festival rounds since then.

[Exhalation] Sayuri (Tomoe Shinohara) contemplates as Naoko (Kiki Sugino) is asleep

I always joked that INHALATION is the Chungking Express to EXHALATION's Ashes Of Time. (Wong Kar Wai shot Chungking Express during a 2-month break from the editing of Ashes Of Time, deciding to do something lighter and more contemporary instead). It was the same for me, EXHALATION was a bigger production, really melancholic in tone, very controlled and formal in terms of style, that's why I used a different approach with the more spontaneous INHALATION.

There are no relations between the two films, just some common themes. INHALATION is set in Klang, Malaysia, while EXHALATION is set in Japan.

[Exhalation] Sayuri (Tomoe Shinohara) in mourning robes

Here's an excerpt from Dubai International Film Fest's press release describing EXHALATION:

Award-winning Malaysian filmmaker Edmund Yeo's Exhalation is a brilliant road movie where the protagonist, Naoko returns home following the death of her former class-mate. She takes a journey with her friend, one that turns into a trip of bittersweet remembrances and unspoken regrets.

EXHALATION stars Kiki Sugino (also a producer) and Tomoe Shinohara. Written by me and Maiko Itagaki (also a producer). Cinematography by Shin Hayasaka. Music by Wong Woan Foong (she also composed for INHALATION). Sound by Sota Torigoe (who also did my KINGYO).

Here's the trailer of EXHALATION.


Yeah, very cheerful film.

It's good to go back to Dubai again. The Dubai International Film Festival 2008 was the first ever film festival I attended as a director (with my first short film CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY), and it was an eye-opening experience.

Come to think of it, two years don't really seem that long, but for me, it had felt like another lifetime.

When I was there, I had already done FLEETING IMAGES (but didn't know what to do with it), and had a rough cut of LOVE SUICIDES. I was also a little more than a month away from shooting KINGYO. It was at the festival, watching the works of other filmmakers that I told myself that I had to continue to push myself, make more films, constantly try to learn from my mistakes, try to improve.

Many things had happened since then. It's a little odd that this many things could happen in two years. I have since made 6 more short films, produced two more feature films, went to quite a number of film festivals, Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Pusan etc.

But it all started in Dubai.

It's good to come back.