It was like only yesterday when the results of the last Malaysian film festival surprised many in the industry - Mamat Khalid won the Best Film and Best Director awards for his Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang. And now, within the next three weeks, the next Malaysian film festival will be on us again...huh? Really?
Yes, really...not that many people care or even know about it. This year, the festival or rather the awards night will be held in Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. Why? Who knows.
Maybe, when the idea was mooted, the Minister in charge of the local film industry was Datuk Shafie Apdal, a Sabahan. So FINAS could have suggested hosting the festival in Sabah to 'ampu' him, but alas, there was a cabinet change and now the Minister is Dato Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim, from Negri Sembilan. But it is now too late to change.
So, it will be held in Kota Kinabalu, a state that has maybe less than a dozen movie screens that regularly show Malaysian movies. A state that has not produced a single local film since Sabahan Deddy M. Borhan single handedly brought back the local film industry from the dead in the early 70s.
Now, come 5th August, one day before my father's 83rd birthday, scores of Malaysian actors, actresses, filmmakers, journalists, hangers ons and many others who have nothing to do with the film industry, will descend on Kota Kinabalu. For many, it's going to be a free holiday, free golfing, free makan and lots of schmoozing.
I don't even know what films are contesting. There had been too many Ahmad Idham and Razak Mahideen movies released last year for me to remember any other titles. Mamat Khalid also did not release his latest movie Estet yet...so I am not sure if he is entering that movie for competition. Hatta Azad Khan whose film Wayang bombed critically and commercially also did not have any new movie to participate in the festival.
What about Yasmin Ahmad? I don't know if she'd bother to enter her films anymore.
Grand Brilliance had some minor box office hits with sleeper movies, but not sure if those movies can vie for the top awards. James Lee's hysterical Histeria could be too main stream to be considered for the Best Film award.
Cicakman 2? Come on....you can't be serious. Jangan Pandang Belakang Congkak? Forget it...just let David Teoh laugh all the way to the bank. Evolusi KL Drift? Bohsia? Nahhh.
Maybe it's time for an animated movie to win awards? Yes, maybe it's the year of Geng The Movie.
Isn't there any good movies released the whole of last year? Did I forget any title?
How about the indie crowd? Did they produce any gems this past year? I don't know, they've been quiet. But maybe Sell Out! could be the one movie that could cause a surprise! Nahh..it wasn't shot using Bahasa Malaysia - a prerequisite in winning the Best Film award.
Is there anyone outside the film industry that really cares who will win come August 8th?
And doesn't anyone want to know how much the Ministry and FINAS are going to fork out to organise the festival in Kota Kinabalu or is Sabah, as hosts, going to absorb the millions of Ringgit to be the tuan rumah this year?
Whatever it is, I will keep you guys out there informed. I wasn't invited but somehow and because my father cannot make it due to his health concerns, I was offered the invite in his place. So I am going, unless FINAS decides that I'm such a nuisance that I shouldn't even be allowed to take over my father's invite.
So, I will keep you posted.