WE’VE often seen local films getting more hype internationally! This year alone, Redha and Pekak were brought to Cannes, upcoming movie Interchange premiered in Toronto, and even local Tamil film Maravan came on top at the International Open Film Festival New York & Dhaka (IOFF) in June.
Now that the Luang Prabang Film Festival (LPFF) is approaching, filmmaker and author Amir Muhammad as one of nine Motion Picture Ambassadors will be heading to Laos to bring along selected local films for showcase at the festival.
Malaysia’s filmmakers are producing interesting work despite various constraints, and it is exciting to watch the country’s cinema develop. While they are extremely different films, I think audiences in Luang Prabang will enjoy the two features I selected for the festival.
— Amir Muhammad
After much consideration, Amir chose two Malaysian films that stood out despite the controversy surrounding them back home.
First of the lot is Shanjhey Kumar Perumal’s Jagat — titled Brutal for international release — which underlines the plight of Malaysia’s ethnic Indians. The film features a community forsaken by the estate owners who employed them for generations but were left out of the nation’s urbanization and development plans. The plot centers on a bright but mischievous 12-year-old Malaysian Indian boy named Appoy, played by Anugerah Majlis Pengkritik Filem Kuala Lumpur Best Actor, Harvind Raj.
Second is Keng Guan Chiu’s Ola Bola, the inspiring sports story which follows a team of Malaysian footballers in the 1980s. Harimau Malaya was a diverse Malaysian football team that overcame internal conflicts and unlikely odds to make national history.
The Luang Prabang Film Festival meanwhile is in its seventh year, rapidly gaining a reputation as the Sundance of Southeast Asia. As the only film festival to celebrate Southeast Asian films, it will be featuring 32 films during its run from 2 – 7 December 2016.
Southeast Asian films are very much in the spotlight at the moment. Jaclyn Jose, the lead actress of Ma’ Rosa from the Philippines, won the Best Actress at Cannes this year and the Cambodian film, Diamond Island, took home the SACD prize. Both films will be showing at our festival. But it’s not just about award-winning movies. This event is a true celebration of the profound creativity that exists in this part of the world, and Malaysian filmmakers have a lot to offer, which is why we’re delighted to be showcasing two films from Malaysia this year.
— Gabriel Kuperman, Founder and Director of Luang Prabang Film Festival
This year, the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) will also be in attendance, running a Talent Lab for Southeast Asian filmmakers. TFI will be choosing one Southeast Asian filmmaker to attend a major industry networking event in the United States!