20th Malaysia Film Festival Mired in Controversy and Complaints

20th Malaysia Film Festival Mired in Controversy and Complaints

26 Jul – The 20th Malaysia Film Festival, scheduled for 3 – 5 August in Penang, looks mired in controversy and complaints as industry observers questioned its list of nominees.

Hassan Muthalib, a regular contributor to the Malaysian-Cinema Group (a forum discussing issues of film production in Malaysia) questioned why Yasmin Ahmad's "Mukhsin" was not chosen for Art Direction, Cinematography, Screenplay and Editing. He also wondered why "Love Conquers All" was not nominated for Best Digital Film.

"Love Conquers All", directed by Tan Chui Mui, swept two awards at last year's Pusan International Film Festival, helping to bring recognition to the status of local independent films in Malaysia.

"Do these jokers know how to evaluate films? Why don't we ask them to be in a public forum and tell us how they come to their conclusions and the criteria they use?" Hassan said.

His sentiments were echoed by 'kairospirit', another Malaysian-Cinema member, who said: "A Berlin winner can lose out to a Ghost Finger and a Baju Merah, and a certain 'trolley film' (but) a Pusan winner is nowhere on the list."

"Mukhsin" was nominated for Best Film, Best Director, Best Original Story, Best Young Actor (Mohd Syafie Naswip) and Best Poster. "Love Conquers All" is conspicuously missing from the new Best Digital Film category which has only three contenders: "The Bird House", "Chalanggai (Dancing Bells)" and "Goodbye Boys".

The movie with the most nominations is Shuhaimi Baba's mystic thriller, "Waris Jari Hantu" which leads with 14 nominations covering all the major categories. "The Red Kebaya", "Chermin" and "Cinta" each have 11 nominations.

The FFM 20 Awards will be presented at the Dewan Canselor Tuanku Syed Putra of Universiti Sains Malaysia on 4 August.

The 20th Malaysia Film Festival is from 3 to 5 August 2007 in Penang.