Freedom Film Festival Offers 32 Movies

Freedom Film Festival Offers 32 Movies

7 Sept – The Freedom Film Festival (FFF07), organised by Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS), offers a line-up of 32 social films from all over the world. The festival runs from 14 to 16 September in Kuala Lumpur, from 21 to 23 September in Penang, and from 28 to 30 September in Johor Bahru. For the past three years, KOMAS has been promoting social and community films committed to the ideals of human rights, social justice and equality.

Three film scripts with the theme of "50th Merdeka – The Untold Human Rights Stories" have won a RM5000 grant each for the film-makers to develop into professional documentaries. The winning scripts are: "She's My Son" by Indrani Kopal, a documentary on the life of a Malaysian transgender; "Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka" by Fahmi Reza, a documentary on the history of the struggle and independence of Malaya; and "Forgotten", by Penangite Ong Boon Keong, about the right to land by more than 2,000 jetty settlers in Weld Quay, Georgetown, who have been labelled as squatters. All three documentaries will premiere at the festival.

An open discussion will be held after each screening for the film-makers and the audience to talk about the state of human rights in this country, issues on Malaysian independence and the quality of the films. Tickets can be reserved by contacting KOMAS at 0379685415 or by emailing

Screening details are as follows:

Kuala Lumpur:
Fri 14 - Sun 16 Sep 2007

The Annexe, Central Market,
Jalan Hang Kasturi,
50050, Kuala Lumpur.

KOMAS (03-7968 5415 / 016-653 1167)

Fri 21 - Sun 23 Sep 2007

The Actors Studio Greenhall,
Zhong Zheng School Memorial Centre 32, Lebuh Light,
10200 Penang

Yoke Pin (012-361 9113)

Johor Bahru:
Fri 28 - Sun 30 Sep 2007

JOTIC Auditorium, JB
Suite 5-2, Johor Tourist Information Centre (JOTIC),
No. 2, Jalan Air Molek,
80000 Johor Bahru.

Adrian (012-308 9395)

List of films to be screened at the FFF07:

1.'Sepuluh Tahun Sebelum Merdeka' (Ten Years Before Independence)
by Fahmi Reza – FFF07 Winner
(Bahasa Malaysia – BM with English subtitles)

Unknown to many, October 20th, 1947 was an important and historical day in the people's constitutional struggle for independence from Britain. This documentary chronicles the events that culminated in the Malaya-wide 'Hartal' protest (a non-violent protest) against the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Proposals devised by the British Colonial Government and UMNO. This was the rise of the people's democratic movement in Malaya, 10 years before Merdeka.

Visit the official film blog at

by Ong Boon Keong- FFF07 Winner
(Mandarin with English and BM subtitles)

The clan jetties are at the sea front of Georgetown, Penang. More than 2,000 former port workers whose contribution towards the establishment of the Penang port and Georgetown city had largely been forgotten. They live in an endangered heritage area with their land lease having to be renewed every year. After waiting for more than over a century, the application for World Heritage City status for Georgetown holds hope for getting their right to land recognised.

More information about the film can be found at

3.I Love Malaya
by Asia Witness Production
(Mandarin, English, BM with English and BM subtitles)

In 2005, an 81-year-old man sued the Malaysian government for denying him entry into the country of his birth. This man was Chin Peng, the infamous leader of the Malayan Communist Party that waged the longest and most difficult war lasting more than 30 years. When peace was finally secured in 1989, more than 200 of the members returned to Malaysia. However, Chin Peng and others who remained in Southern Thailand are stateless aliens who are unable to step foot into the country. "I Love Malaya" is the story of their journey home.

4.River Kwai
by Aljazeera, 101 East
(English with BM subtitles)

The infamous Siam-Burma railway was an ugly chapter of World War Two. This story is about how the Asian workers were forced to work as slaves by the Japanese army. For the first time, some of the survivors of that horror have brought their case to court demanding compensation and an apology. The movie follows the battle for compensation by the survivors of the so-called Death Railway.

by James Leong and Lynn Lee
110mins/2007/East Timor
(Timor Leste language with English subtitles)

The remote village of battle-scarred Passabe lies on the precarious border between East and West Timor. In the run-up to the vote for independence in 1999, Passabe was a base for hundreds of pro-Indonesia militiamen – East Timorese who participated in the rampage that climaxed in a bloody massacre. As families continue to grieve, questions remain unanswered; who took part in the killings? Who is to blame? Five years on, one man decides to publicly own up to his role in the massacre. It was a move that not only exposes him to possible prosecution, but also persecution from his own people. Shot over the course of a year, this film documents a quest for redemption and forgiveness. It is an intimate look into the lives of ordinary folk struggling to rebuild their lives after an armed conflict, and an exploration of the very universal themes of justice and reconciliation.

6.'Anak Kampung Chubadak'
by Komas
(Bahasa Malaysia with English subtitles)

As a mother, an ustazah, and a daughter of Kampung Chubadak, this woman showed us how it is like to be all that and at the same time struggle to organise her community. Her village, located close to Sentul, had long been eyed by developers and City Hall. The community must learn to stand up for themselves or face losing their homes forever; one thing this woman would not want to wait and see.

7.Idiot Nation
by Tan Meng Yoe

Idiot Nation is set in a fictional country called Faltasia. The film is set during the height of election season, and 4 candidates, including the incumbent, get a chance to address the nation on television.

8.That The Mountains May Chant The Truth
by Cordillera Human Rights Alliance-KARPATAN
(English and Filipino, with English subtitles)

A documentary on the political killings and forced disappearances under Operation Bantay Laya led by the Arroyo government.

9.Imagine Being Sued for Caring
by Heidi Douglas

In Tasmania, communities that protested against illegal logging are sued by timber companies in return, alleging that the environmentalist are trying to affect their business.

10.'Penusah Tana' (The Forgotten Struggle)
by Hilary Chiew and Chi Too
(Penan and Bahasa Malaysia with English and BM subtitles)

For over 20 years, Ajang Kiew, a Penan leader, has been setting up blockades to protect his Native Customary Rights land from logging companies. To his dismay, his cries and efforts have fallen on deaf ears. Now, he sets up one final struggle before palm oil plantations takes over for good.

11.Modern Heroes Modern Slaves
by Marie Boti
(English and Filipino with English subtitles)

A behind-the-scenes look at overseas contract workers in the wake of the death sentence imposed on domestic worker Flor Contemplacion and the imprisonment of Sarah Balabagan in Canada.

12.There's Blood in Your Coffee
by ST Exposure
(Filipino and English with English subtitles)

A documentary of the massive protests launched by the striking workers in Nestle Cabuyao, Laguna, the largest Nestle Plant in Asia. The camera captures the violence that eventually erupts and thrusts the viewer into the front lines of the struggle.

13.Suicide Jumpers
by Herbert Docena

The plight of migrants in warring state of Lebanon and what drove them to desperate measures by jumping out of the very homes they were working in.

14.Turbulent Waters ('Navires de la Honte')
by Malcolm Guy and Michelle Smith

Most of the goods we consume are transported by ships where working conditions recall those of the galley ships of another age. "Turbulent Waters" takes us into this murky world where ship owners avoid operating standards of their own countries by registering their ships offshore in tax havens like Panama, the Bahamas, or Liberia. They then hire seafarers from the Philippines, India, China, or the Ukraine for low wages.

15.WTO – why is it bad for you
by Ra Riviera
5 mins

Have a look at what some experts and lay people have to say about the World Trade Organisation, delivered in the most interesting way.

16.Trade Talking in Indonesia, Zambia and Brazil
by Rimba Media
24mins/2006/ Indonesia, Zambia and Brazil
Smaller businesses like dairy farms and textiles in developing countries are facing threats from the globalisation of trades; this video shows how these small communities are working to stand on their own against multinational giants.

17.Half Widows
by Sushil Kumar
(Kashmir with English Subtitles)

This is a story of missing people - boys and men who were picked up by security forces and then simply disappear. The location is Kashmir. Sandwiched between India and Pakistan, Kashmir is a battleground for both. Since the men are missing and not declared dead, their wives are not widows but 'half widows.'

18.Drying up Palestine
by Rima Essa and Peter Snowdon
(Palestinian with English subtitles)

A portrait of the stresses and strains imposed on Palestinian society by Israel's almost total control over access to water and sewage facilities in the West Bank, told in the words of ordinary people. A compelling picture of the impact of military occupation on everyday life.

19.She's My Son
by Indrani Kopal – FFF07 Winner
(Tamil and English with English and BM subtitles)

Transgender issues are real, but it is a reality many Malaysians will not admit to. Treated as a sex object and often the butt of lewd jokes, many boys who had the urge of becoming a girl, resisted it. Suganya begs to differ. "She's My Son" is the story of Suganya from her mother's point of view.

by Sherman Ong
(No dialogue)

Two women and a man in cinematic dance, revealing truth and deadly beauty. "Exodus" deals with the unspoken nuances of human emotions. An encounter between a lower-class ethnic Chinese shampoo girl and a Javanese court dancer sparks an awakening that manifests the dialectics of obsession and the transient nature of human affection. Set against the backdrop of the dominant Javanese culture, this story deals with the aspirations and identity of the two women, each gambling for a better life in a post-Suharto era.

21.24 hrs
by Royston Tan
Two men meet and probably spend the night together. One must leave. They would like to talk and understand what happened between them, but they speak different languages.

22. Brokeback Sharbat
by Namita Malhotra
Brokeback Mountain - Ang Lee's Oscar winning film, is a story of gay love. It has spun off many parodies and take-offs. This trailer is part of the campaign against the law that makes homosexuality in India illegal. (Malaysia has a similar law).

23.A Place to Pray
by Hindraf
(Tamil and BM with BM and English subtitles)

An expose on the Hindu temples that are being systematically demolished over the past years in Kuala Lumpur. Watch how communities are used by and torn apart by forces with little respect for the way of life of others.

24.My New Home
by Amy Lim
(Mandarin and Tamil with English and BM subtitles)

Little Mei Mei just moved into a new community and has made some friends. However, her family do not feel the same as they face culture and language differences.

25.Training video for Keris, Wushu and Bow and Arrow
by Fahmi Fadzil
7 mins/2006/Malaysia
(English with English and BM subtitles)

There are many ways to use traditional weapons these days, as sometimes demonstrated during political party assemblies; this video will show you some samples.

by Brenda Danker
(English, BM, Mandarin, Tamil with English and BM subtitles)

This video captures glimpses of lives in these three eras, their hopes and dreams and things that changed along the way.

27.Speakers Cornered
by Martyn See

When Singapore hosted the World Bank's and International Monetary Fund's Annual Meetings, "Speakers Cornered" captured the thwarted attempts of non-violence activists to protest at Speakers' Corner, a park designated for those with the urge to speak out. In Martyn See's latest film, the park's legendary status as a white elephant is cast in cold hard stone. Living up to its title, its 17 chapters reveal that to be shackled in Singapore is no metaphor. Stunning and yet strangely amusing, the litany of oppressions catalogued here is nothing if not an embarrassment to Singapore.

28.Old But Not Dead
by The Bus Group

A short film following an old man's journey with a suspicious package on the bus to reach a mysterious destination. Watch as events unfold, especially how he plays his part for the change he wants to see.

by Royston Tan
(English with BM subtitle)

A musical that satirises censorship in Singapore and lampoons Ms Amy Chua, director of media content at the Media Development Authority (MDA).

by Pekka
11 mins/Indonesia
(Indonesian with English subtitle)

A group of widows and single mothers learn to tell their own stories to the camera.

by Royston Tan

A semi-documentary on the lives of young people involved with gangsterism in Singapore. Fast, frenetic, and furious, "15" is about five teenagers who build their own world in which gangs, drugs, fighting, piercing and suicide are common, and brotherhood is important above all else. Shot in stunning, jarring style, Royston Tan manages to capture the chaotic lives of these boys, living in the shadows of a sprawling metropolis and with only each other to rely on.

32.'Jom Gi Minum' (Let's Go For a Drink)
by Sevan Doraisamy
(BM, Tamil with English and BM subtitles)

We follow Arasu on his hunt for jobs after graduation as he experiences more than just racial discrimination.