Celebrating Malaysian films


AFTER a successful inaugural edition early this year, the Malaysia International Film Festival (MIFFest) and the Malaysia Golden Global Awards (MGGA) will return once again next year.

Supported by the National Film Development Corporation (Finas), Tourism Malaysia and several local film associations, the coming festival will follow the theme of humanity.

MIFFest will have a six-day run from Feb 25 to March 2, culminating with the MGGA awards ceremony on March 3.

“This year, we had 23 international films that were screened. We’re looking at more than 25 for the next edition. This will be films from all over the world, including from Malaysia and the Southeast Asian region as well,” said Joanne Goh, chairman of MGGA and MIFFest.

When met during the recent launch of the two upcoming events at Menara PNS in Kuala Lumpur, she explained that they would provide an international platform for film cooperation and communication.

“They will also promote the Malaysian entertainment industry by sharing its diverse development of film, art and cultural offerings to the world,” said Goh.

It was announced that Malaysian singer-actress, Lee Sin-jie will return as ambassador for the second instalment of the events.

The international films that are screened in Malaysia will also see the individual cast members and directors attending special gala premieres in order to conduct Q&A sessions with the audience.

“This is an interactive way to get viewers to gain deeper insights into the individual films and the creative people themselves behind these wonderful works,” said Goh.

She added that there will also be forums organised during the festival.

More exposure for Malaysia
This year saw a panel of six individuals from the international industry talking about cinema in the digital age.

“Next year, we plan to have around three forums. A focus on female directors and a focus on Southeast Asian films. For the other, we plan to invite filmmakers and producers, as well as key personnel from Finas and the local tourism board to talk about encouraging international companies and people to film in Malaysia and to collaborate with Malaysians,” she said.

Goh, who is also the CEO of the Jazzy Group of companies, added that this would create more opportunities and jobs for locals to showcase their talents in co-productions.

“There are many Hong Kong and China-based productions that are interested in this region and we have Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios in Johor, as well as other beautiful locations around the country to offer,” she said.

The upcoming MIFFest will also showcase a retrospective celebration of older Malaysian films.

“We will announce the works at a later date and it will consist of one Malay, one Chinese and one Indian movie for fans to enjoy,” said Goh.

MIFFest and MGGA will be broadcast live on Malaysian TV, as well as in Hong Kong and on a China-based web TV platform.

“Harith Iskander will host the events once again. And we’re currently in talks to bring in a Bollywood star to join in as well.”

Working together
Jazzy Group and Bront Palarae’s Pixel Play will co-produce local thriller One, Two, Jaga, which will be release early next year.

Directed by Nam Ron, it stars Bront, as well as Indonesian actor Ario Bayu.

“We’re rushing to edit the film now to submit it for the 2017 Venice Film Festival (runs Aug 30 to Sept 9). We’re also looking at the Japan and Busan international film festivals.

“I want to bring Malaysian films outside and I want foreigners to look at our Malay films, which are powerful works too,” said Goh.

“We wish that more Malaysian filmmakers, regardless of race or creed, can be part of MIFFest and MGGA.

“I hope that this festival will be recognised by Malaysians. I welcome all filmmakers. If they’re willing to come along with me, I would like to bring them abroad.

“I’m trying to share more Malaysian movies on the international level,” said Goh, who also welcomes collaborations with fellow Malaysians.

“We can share our thoughts, ideas and scripts. I think when the script is good and the director is ready, we can do something.

“We can work together,” she said.

Right now MGGA is calling for feature-length film entries worldwide. Goh said that the juries are searching for heartwarming films that break boundaries and will touch hearts and souls.

Source: New Strait Times


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