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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Woo Ming JIn's RETURN TO NOSTALGIA @ Busan International Film Festival 2015 + its media coverage

Been back from Busan for more than a week, and immediately dove into the production of a music video (well, if you are still following this blog, or my Instagram feed, you'll see the photos), hence the lack of recaps.

On the 4th of October, Ming Jin's documentary RETURN TO NOSTALGIA finally had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival.

RETURN TO NOSTALGIA is part of the POWER OF ASIAN CINEMA program, in commemoration with the 20th anniversary of the Busan Film Fest, 10 Asian directors were each commissioned to make a 50-minute documentary about their own cinematic history.

Ming Jin chose to make a film about the search for SERUAN MERDEKA, the very first post-war Malay film which is missing.

Before the screening of RETURN TO NOSTALGIA, however, I went to catch the first two volumes of Miguel Gomes' sprawling three-part ARABIAN NIGHTS. The films began with a disclaimer that they are not adaptations of the novel (more like a film that's very loosely inspired by the novel)! Structurally they are similar, they are mostly tales of modern-day Portugal, being told by Scheherazade to the Sultan. So there are least 3-4 different stories of different genres in each film, done in very different styles.

If it weren't for the RETURN TO NOSTALGIA screening, we would have been able to finish Volume 3! (or go to the gala screening of Hirokazu Koreeda's OUR SISTER) Never have I felt so sad during a screening of my own production.

I jest.

The screening of RETURN TO NOSTALGIA went on pretty smoothly. It was good to present a small glimpse of our country's cinema history to a foreign land.

The local media had kindly covered this documentary since then.

Thanks, Malay Mail Online, for sharing the news! Yup, RETURN TO NOSTALGIA by Woo Ming Jin will have its world premiere...

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Saturday, October 3, 2015

感恩中国报的报导。 希望有那么的一天能与马来西亚的观众们分享《眷念重来 RETURN TO NOSTALGIA》。

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Many thanks to THE STAR for covering Woo Ming Jin's RETURN TO NOSTALGIA. It's the documentary that was in Busan last...

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday, October 05, 2015

Busan International Film Festival 2015 Day 2 recap: Experiencing the past, present and future of Taiwanese cinema

Oct 3, Ying Xian (producer) and I were invited to eFM 90.5, Busan's one and only English radio station, to talk about RETURN OF NOSTALGIA. Ming Jin was only going to arrive a day after, so we had to handle promotional duties :)

Whoa, I was on a radio show in Busan! We are talking about Woo Ming Jin's RETURN TO NOSTALGIA, which is the only Malaysian film screening in Busan Film Fest this year!
Posted by Edmund Yeo on Friday, October 2, 2015

Right after that, I got to catch the restored print of Edward Yang's monumental masterpiece BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY.

I didn't expect this but I finally managed to catch Edward Yang's masterpiece BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY on the big screen just...
Posted by Edmund Yeo on Saturday, October 3, 2015

Yes, I was absolutely excited to catch the film in its full glory, after having already watched it a few times in low-res. So many details missed. Prior to this screening, I already believed that BRIGHTER SUMMER DAY is one of the greatest films of all time, yet improbably, the big screen made me love the film even more. Now I will share the obligatory film excerpts.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Busan International Film Festival 2015 Day 1: Catching up with the Cannes Films

I'm at Busan for the Busan International Film Festival. Ming Jin's documentary RETURN TO NOSTALGIA, which I served as executive producer (and final editor, and colorist, among others, as usual), is going to have its world premiere tonight.

Thanks, Malay Mail Online, for sharing the news! Yup, RETURN TO NOSTALGIA by Woo Ming Jin will have its world premiere...
Posted by Edmund Yeo on Saturday, October 3, 2015

So, today's my third day. It wasn't exactly easy to get to Busan this year. On the day of the opening ceremony, there was a typhoon, and our plane was unable to land, so we ended up in Incheon Airport for a while.

Urgh, arrived at Busan. Finally. Flight stopped by at Incheon for a couple of hours because of bad weather. Looking forward to another great festival!!
Posted by Edmund Yeo on Thursday, October 1, 2015

The next day, I decided to catch up with the Cannes films. The first I saw was Jacques Audiard's Palme D'Or winner, DHEEPAN.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

River of Exploding Durians @ Jaffna International Cinema Festival 2015

I came back from Sri Lanka a few days ago, since then it's back to work for me. The two week break I've taken due to my trips in Nagoya and Sri Lanka have left me with piles of projects to juggle with (treatments to write, music videos to edit, documentaries to finish up)

Nevertheless, like most good film festival trips, I find myself creatively rejuvenated. It happens when you got to watch a lot of different films, experience different cultures, surround yourself with filmmakers, and discover new parts of the world. It's great.

So, back to the Jaffna International Cinema Festival, the screening venues of the festival were in a multiplex, the public library, and the University of Jaffna.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The journey to the Jaffna International Cinema Festival in Sri Lanka

After I returned from Japan, I immediately flew off to Sri Lanka the next morning.

My film RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS had been invited to the Best Debut Film competition section of the inaugural Jaffna International Cinema Festival.

Naturally, I was excited.

Jaffna is at the northern part of Sri Lanka, so when I arrived at the capital city of Colombo, it was necessary to take a 7-hour train ride to Jaffna.

But before that, I was able to rest for a night at the YWCA International Guesthouse.

Arrived at the YWCA International Guest House Colombo. Building's been around for 200 years!

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Thursday, September 17, 2015

The building has existed for more than two hundred years, and it was converted into a guest house almost a hundred years ago. It's cool that you write your guest registration on a thick book.

My time in Colombo was quite short, I managed to visit the famed Gangaramaya temple. But only for a short while.

Buddhist statues in Gangaramaya Temple

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Friday, September 18, 2015

I woke up at 4am the next morning, and prepared myself.

My train was supposed to be at 5:45am. I arrived at the station at 5am, I met the famed Sri Lankan director Asoka Handagama, who also taking the same train to the festival for a screening of his film.

Colombo train station at 5am

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Friday, September 18, 2015

While I was in the station, I was reminded of a long train journey I had taken back in 2007, from New Delhi to Bodh Gaya, how long was that ride? I think it was around 15 hours. There were no air-conditioner, the journey lasted from afternoon to the next morning. It was an unforgettable journey. It was eight years ago, but it felt like an eternity.

I didn't mind reenacting such a journey again, until I realized that the train this time was absolutely brand new. (and with air-conditioner!!)

Beginning of a 7-hour train ride. The screen was showing the last Harry Potter film when I got in.

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Friday, September 18, 2015

I slept through most of the journey, but sometimes I got to admire the nice scenery outside.

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Friday, September 18, 2015

The screen was playing an eclectic mix of films. It was HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2 when I got onboard, during Harry Potter and Lord Voldermort's climatic battle.

I drifted to sleep and woke up 2 hours later. This time, it was playing RIO, the very entertaining animated film which I have seen before. So I went back to sleep.

When I got up, I was surprised to see a kungfu scene happening onscreen (with Dutch subtitles!). This time, they were playing the 2010 film IP MAN: A LEGEND IS BORN by Herman Yau, which I have not seen before. Back then, I dismissed it as a cheap cash grab of the previous IP MAN films with Donnie Yen.

Thankfully, I was wrong, and the film turned out to be more entertaining than expected, and more ambitious than I thought. I wonder whether it had anything to do with the fact that I felt a strange warmth watching a familiar Chinese film in a Sri Lankan train. Nevertheless, in the 2 hours that I was awake during the 7-hour journey, it was mostly spent on watching this film.

Arrived at Jaffna during the afternoon. I got the director's pass and the festival catalog.

Director pass and Jaffna International Cinema Festival catalog

Posted by River of Exploding Durians 榴莲忘返 on Friday, September 18, 2015

Director pass and Jaffna International Cinema Festival catalog

Posted by River of Exploding Durians 榴莲忘返 on Friday, September 18, 2015

In the evening, I even took a Tuk Tuk with a large TV on it!

Took the Tuk Tuk to University of Jaffna with director Asoka Handagama ( was going to his screening) There's a TV in the Tuk Tuk! Showing epic Tamil films.

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Friday, September 18, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

The very unique World Children's Art Museum in Okazaki おかざき世界子ども美術博物館

As you can see from my latest barrage of photos, I've been wandering in Japan again. At places I've never been to, Nagoya, Gifu and Okazaki.

I saw a lot of wonderful things, beautiful things, preserved from the past, relics of proud history.

Yesterday I went to Okazaki, an idyllic little city with its own proud history. It is the site of the great Okazaki Castle (birthplace of the famous Tokugawa Ieyasu) and the 1300 year old Takisanji Temple.

Before I went to these two famous places, I visited the very unique World Children's Art Museum in Okazaki.

Outside the World Children's Art Museum in Okazaki

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Sunday, September 13, 2015

The museum had gathered the works of many world-famous artists when they were children, or in their teens.

Aside from that, it was also displaying the (admittedly impressive) artwork of children from nearby schools.

Yesterday was also the very last day of their special exhibition of optical illusion-related artwork.

But what truly fascinated me was their so-called "Do Zone", a place with four different workshops for parents and children to work on drawing, clay modeling, handcrafting etc. It was Sunday, yesterday, so it was crowded.

Entering the zone of parent/children art workshops

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Sunday, September 13, 2015

EB (acrylic) classroom, kids can turn their designs into coasters, beaches and other stuff.

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Sunday, September 13, 2015

Drawing class.

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Sunday, September 13, 2015

It was heartening, and absolutely inspiring, to see the children of Japan being exposed to the beauty of art at such a young age, and also given the opportunity in participating, in creating their own art. That explains why Japanese people in general are more appreciative of the arts and culture. While in Malaysia, "art" is usually used as a dirty word. "Being an artist" is the scariest thing a parent could ever hear from their children. Creativity is often being stifled, having an imagination is often being scoffed at, this is the environment most Malaysian children had to deal with, for generations. No wonder we grow up so cynical and disdainful of things we don't understand.

I am envious of the Japanese children, and in awe of their parents, who would let, or even join their kids in these activities.

Outside the museum is a large park, there are statues, an observation deck, and soothing music blaring from the outdoor speakers. It's almost fantastical, wandering about in such a place.

Forest of Art?

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Sunday, September 13, 2015

The park surrounding the World Children's Art Museum in Okazaki is full of nice statues

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Sunday, September 13, 2015

Observatory deck

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Sunday, September 13, 2015

Dragon fountain

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Sunday, September 13, 2015

My photos didn't really do the place justice. This series of short Youtube clips might give you a better idea what the museum and the area surrounding it are like.

I visited the World Children's Art Museum in Okazaki. It's quite a unique museum, collecting paintings from famous...

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bersih 4, Malaysians marching for the good of their nation

Malaysia will be celebrating its 58th year of independence tomorrow (August 31st).

But at this very moment, on the eve before our Independence Day, tens and thousands protesters have taken to the streets to call for reforms, flooding the cities with yellow. We have reached the second day of this 2-day large-scaled rally. This time, people are calling not only for electoral reforms but also for the resignation of the current Prime Minister. It's ongoing, but I need to remember this. Perhaps this Bersih 4 of 29th and 30th of August, 2015 will be remembered as a watershed moment in our nation's history, even though, unsurprisingly, and typically, such things will surely be struck off from our history books.

Here's the Great Leader, condemning the people who wanted to march for the good of the country.

Najib said the actions of Bersih were seen as deliberately trying to discredit Malaysia's image at the international level.
Posted by The Star Online on Saturday, August 29, 2015

In the past few decades, the authorities have used numerous questionable methods to spread fear among the people, to divide the nation, to suppress all dissent. Having to go through two generations of this is more damaging than I can ever imagined. The previous generations are constantly living in fear, condemning all kinds of street demonstrations, all kinds of rallies, believing that the known status quo is better than the unknown. This is the upbringing that I have endured. It never failed to baffle me.

It's a faraway possibility, but if I ever have children, I want them to stand up for what they believe in, instead of living constantly in fear. I want them to believe that people have to voice out what's good for the country, and drastic measures have to be taken to let these voices be heard, instead of just being quiet and subservient and letting the words of the the previous generations trample over them.

If this blog can still survive til then, I want to use this post as a constant reminder to myself.

So these are the Facebook posts I have posted leading up to, and during Bersih.

Because it is necessary #Bersih
Posted by Edmund Yeo on Saturday, August 29, 2015

Today, I think this photo is rather appropriate. #bersih
Posted by Edmund Yeo on Saturday, August 29, 2015

Former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir and his wife Siti Hasmah arrived at #Bersih4 too. It's all for Malaysia.
Posted by Edmund Yeo on Saturday, August 29, 2015

Singing the national anthem at midnight #Bersih4 A day before, our Almighty Leader Najib condemned the protesters for being shallow and not patriotic.
Posted by Edmund Yeo on Saturday, August 29, 2015

A sea of yellow at midnight.
Posted by The Star Online on Saturday, August 29, 2015

A day that ran smoothly from all corners.
Posted by The Star Online on Saturday, August 29, 2015

當權者看到民意嗎?【A1頭條】傘落大馬 20萬人上街促首相下台http://bit.ly/1LCTjuM#bersih4
Posted by 蘋果日報 on Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sunday, August 23, 2015

More photos from a music video shoot

The second music video I did with the rock band Alienoid 異種 revolves around a love-hate relationship between a young couple played by renowned actress/ model Agnes Lim 林莉幃 and rising actor Soo Xu Ze 苏熙喆. In which they were willing to do crazy things for love!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Photos from a music video shoot

I was shooting two music videos of a local Cantorock band Alienoid 異種 earlier this month. Both are in post-production. Music video shoots have a lot of their own pleasures, especially when you get to experiment with new things, new people, new filmmaking styles etc. I even got to test the Ronin-M Gimbal, too bad it worked only for the DSLRs. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera, which was my main camera, was too big for it.

The first music video I shot on the 1st and 2nd of August was more of a heartwarming family story thing, because the song is about the passing of time 時日如飛. It stars local actors Kenji Sawahii (whom I've worked with before in RIVER OF EXPLODING DURIANS, he played the father of Joey Leong's Mei Ann character), Chythia Tan, Veron Lin and 6-year old Estellis.

I worked with Estellis last year before.

The reluctant lead actress of my new short.

Posted by Edmund Yeo on Wednesday, August 27, 2014

She's now a bit older.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


While I'm writing this, S.S. Rajamouli's BAAHUBALI: THE BEGINNING is the 4th top-grossing Indian film of all-time. (It's written by Vijayendra Prasad, the director's father)

The first film in a two-part epic, and reportedly the most expensive Indian film ever made, I didn't know about it until the few days leading up to its worldwide release, and was surprised to find out that the film was showing in Malaysia too!

After I saw the film last Friday, I couldn't stop raving about it! And I'm proud to say that I managed to convince some other friends to catch it too :D

Friday, July 17, 2015

Conversation with the family of Yasmin Ahmad

Today is Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Eid al-Fitr), and most of our brethren in the country are celebrating.

Aside from being a public holiday, Hari Raya is about seeking forgiveness from family and friends.

These beautiful values of familial love, friendship, forgiveness and compassion are reflected very much from the films of the late filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad.

Last week, for a documentary that Ming Jin's directing (I'm executive producing), we had the pleasure of interviewing Yasmin's parents, Pak Atan and Mak Inom, and sister, Orked. (yup, she's the namesake of the protagonist in the "Orked trilogy")