Sunday, December 13, 2009

ASIA-PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL COMES BACK FROM THE DEAD

Come 17th December, Kaohsiung Taiwan, will host the 53rd Asia-Pacific Film Festival. This is a surprise as most people have already thought the the festival had died an untimely death.
Only five years ago, the 50th APFF was held in Kuala Lumpur. The year after, the 51st edition was held in Taipei.
Hong Kong was supposed to host the 52nd edition but due to the global recession, the festival was cancelled. The next host - Jakarta, in 2008, also decided against organising it.
After two years of cancellations, most people in the industry have already assumed that the festival, the oldest film festival in Asia, had run its course.


However, Taiwan seemed to want to revive this festival, and next week, it will welcome one of the smallest numbers of entries ever recorded for the festival.
Malaysia is sending three films - Afdlin Shauki's Papadom, Hatta Azad Khan's Wayang and Yasmin Ahmad's Talentime.
Selection criteria? Papadom was best film at the recent Malaysian Film Festival held in Sabah. Talentime won best director plaudits for the late Yasmin. And somehow, Wayang, which did not many awards at the recent Malaysian Film Festival, received accolades as the Best Film in TV3's annual Skrin Awards.
Not many Malaysian filmmakers will make the trip to Taiwan next week. Most in the industry knew nothing about the festival (until today's newspaper article in Berita Harian), but those who were informed realised that unless their producers pay for the trip or if FINAS picks up the tab, only then would they go.
The biggest surprise however is the sad omission of Karaoke, the first Malaysian movie to be shown in Cannes after 14 long years.
Malaysian filmmaker Chris Chong's internationally acclaimed Karaoke was screened at the Directors’ Fortnight of the 62nd Cannes Film Festival from May this year.

Karaoke (scene from the movie shown above) was nominated for the Camera d’Or (Golden Camera), the award for the best first feature film presented in any one of the Cannes’ selections (Official Selection, Directors’ Fortnight or International Critics’ Week). This distinction went unheralded in Malaysia and Karaoke's entry in Cannes this year was a bigger coup than Uwei Haji Shaari's Kaki Bakar which was screened under the Un Certain Regard category in 1995.
I guess a Malaysian movie which was selected to be screened in Cannes is not good enough to be selected by the Persatuan Pengeluar Filem Malaysia (PFM) as our country's representative to the 53rd APFF next week. I know the reason too. Firstly, the movie did not use Bahasa Malaysia as its main language (the filmmaker thought the most important language in his piece is film language) and the most glaring - the producer is not a member of PFM. Errmmm wait a minute, are Primeworks/Chilli Peppers and Uitm members of PFM?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dah tengok ke filem Karaoke ni Pak Anwardi? "bigger coup" tang mana tu? Un Certain Regard tu salah satu kategori utama di Cannes. Directors' Fortnight pula salah satu dari Sidebar di sana. Directors' Fortnight sekarang ni lebih dikhususkan untuk pembikin filem baru. Cuma sekali-sekali pengarah otai seperti Coppola yang ditolak dari Official Competition termakan pujukkan untuk ke Directors' Fortnight. Filem Karaoke ni lebih banyak guna Bahasa Malaysia kalau nak dibandingkan filem Sham Moh yang bertanding di Locarno. Saya harap penyertaan filem Malaysia dalam kategori rasmi di Cannes dapat menjadi kelaziman seperti yang dialami jiran kita di Filipina dan Thailand misalnya. Jadi tumpuan lebih dapat diberikan kepada sama ada kita suka atau tidak, dengan sebab-sebab yang betul, filem itu.

anwardi said...

Anonymous,
Would be nice if you identify yourself kalau nak discuss stuff with me. No, unfortunately, I haven't had the pleasure of viewing Karaoke. I think you have your facts wrong. Un Certain Regard is a section that showcases young new filmmakers. It was non-competitive until 1998 (three years after Kaki Bakar) when it was decided that an award be created for that section.
And whilst the feature films in the independant section called the Directors' Fortnight do not compete with each other, some titles in that section can be nominated for prizes in the competitive section if their quality merits it. Karaoke was nominated for the Camera D' Or, which is an achievement in itself and should be lauded.
A yardstick for a film's critical success around the world is when they are feted in the top film festivals in the world - and we know which festivals these are: Cannes, Locarno, Venice, Berlin and the Academy Award's Best International Film award. Even Sundance cannot match these festivals. Yet. The Philippines actually won an award at the Cannes film festival after so many years of not catching the eyes of critics since the untimely death of Nino Brocka. We should promote and support these young filmmakers who has made it to top class festivals where even selection is an honor.

Anonymous said...

Just call me Wichita, Sir.
You're right about about Un Certain Regard being non-competish prior to 1998.
But you're misinformed about a bunch of other things.
Every debut feature films in almost all sections of Cannes are eligible for "Camera D' Or". (The market or Marche Du Film is just a market, of course.)
Let’s use the next two names that participated in Un Certain Regard 2009 and one Directors Fortnight 2009 alumnus for example.
Koreeda, 47 years old, was nominated for Golden Palm (Biggest prize at Cannes) in 2004 and 2001. He won Best Director at Venice back in 1995.
Joon-ho Bong is 40 years old. He had his previous two feature films screened in the Directors Fortnight in 2003 and 2006.
Xavier Dolan cuma berusia 20 tahun ketika memenangi tiga anugerah di Cannes melalui kategori Directors Fortnight.
The Filipinos won their first Golden Palm (for short film) in 2005.
Ya, sokong mesti sokong. Tapi fakta-fakta yang digunakan dalam memberi sokongan dan sebab musabab untuk menyokong tu takde salahnya kalau betul.
I got some of my facts from here: http://www.festival-cannes.com/en.html , here http://www.quinzaine-realisateurs.com/?LNG=us and here www.imdb.com
Ah, asyiknya internet.
Teruskan menulis, tuan.

fadz said...

Sokong-sokong!

anwardi said...

Thanks for checking things on the internet for us Wichita, but apart from debating the value of getting facts right (and which by the way your comment only seemed to prove the importance of Director's Fortnight as opposed to Un Certain Regard), what are we debating here? You seemed irked that I used the term 'bigger coup' as if I maligned Uwei. I don't think I did. Uwei, one of the best filmmakers we have, created history for our country when Kaki Bakar was invited to Cannes in 95 and won a few accolades at other festivals too.

nandita said...

'For-the-record', Karaoke's director-producer has all his fdam, ppfm, lpf, etc. etc. in good order.
n

Anonymous said...

on the contrary sir, traditionally, a lot of young and upcoming directors entered cannes through directors' fortnight. herzog was one of them. xavier - dolan - whom is much much younger than the director of karaoke - is one fine example.

perhaps the more interesting concern here - with or without whatever kind of accolade the film had received - i wish more people had seen karaoke when it screened in kuala lumpur. the theatre was quite lonely, or maybe the film was lonelier.

majulah negara untuk filem.

- wichita