LAST night, popular actor Afdlin Shauki responded to Persatuan Penerbit Filem Malaysia (PFM)‘s surprising Festival Filem Malaysia ke-28 (FFM28) nominees list with a social media posting detailing his decision to boycott the awards ceremony. Expressing his disappointment at the awards ceremony’s decision to split films, directors and screenplays into Malay and non-Malay categories, Afdlin also gave his best wishes to all nominees in the posting.
The move gained the support of Airasia mogul Tony Fernandez and CIMB Chairman Nazir Razak who were both unhappy with the exclusion of OlaBola from the film’s Filem Terbaik FFM28 category.
But PFM stands by its decision, explaining today that it will not budge on its stance to “promote use of national language”, while actress Nancie Foo, Chairperson of the Judging Committee, called on producers to be “more grateful” in an interview with Utusan Malaysia.
Nancie also reiterated that to be in the Filem Terbaik FFM28 category, at least 70% of a film must be in the language.
Trying to soften the blow is National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS) Director-General Kamil Othman, who stated that the Filem Terbaik Bukan Di Dalam Bahasa Malaysia category is meant to be temporary.
But today, Best Cinematography nominee Md Nor Kassim announced that he is officially pulling out of the competition. In a posting on social media, the Bravo V (2016) cinematographer stated that he will not participate because he “does not condone racism”.
Dengan rasminya sy mohd noor kassim i/c730724145315 menarik diri dari calon akhir ffm28 , bukan takut bertanding tp sy menolak keras unsur Rasic .. sekian terima kasih ..
— Md Nor Kassim, 5 August 2016
Md Nor Kassim is a six-time nominee at FFM and has won twice for Setem (2009) and Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa (2011) for cinematography. He is also known for his photography in Sepi (2008) and Hoore Hoore (2012).
His refusal to partake in the awards ceremony gained support from screenwriter and Persatuan Penulis Lakon Layar Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor (PENULIS) president Alfie Palermo.
Yesterday, producer’s association PFM was revealed to have sent a letter to FINAS weeks prior to the nominations insisting on two new categories which would further segregate filmmakers and screenplays into Malay and non-Malay categories. The move immediately gained lashback for its racial undertones.
PFM’s nominations list also indicated potential conflict of interest, as it placed films like Munafik and Mat Moto: Kami Mat Moto Bukan Mat Rempit in the ceremony’s most coveted categories.
Munafik was a mass commercial hit which starred and was directed by President of PFM Yusof Haslam’s own son Syamsul Yusof on top of being produced by Yusof’s production house Skop Productions. Road film Mat Moto meanwhile was co-directed by Yusof’s younger son Syafiq Yusof and was a joint production between Skop and Viper Films.