Yeo wins award with "Sell Out" in Venice IFF | News & Features | Cinema Online

Yeo wins award with "Sell Out" in Venice IFF

Writer: Syahida Kamarudin

19 Sep – The 65th Venice International Film Festival held from 27 August to 6 September has ended with Malaysian filmmaker Yeo Joon Han sweeping up the Altre Visioni Award for his debut feature film "Sell Out!"

Seremban-born Yeo, who last surprised everybody by winning a Special Mention at the Venice Film Festival 2006 with his short film "Adults Only", is a lawyer by qualification and had a brief career in advertising before deciding to become a filmmaker. The only movie other than the two Venice IFF favourites he has made was "Girl In A Soap Bubble".

Produced by Yeo's own production company Amok Films, "Sell Out!" or "$ell.Ou7" (in its stylised form) is different from the typecast of a 'slow-moving' films that mass audiences associate with film festivals. Indeed, the movie itself is a comedy with songs starring Jerrica Lai, Peter Davis and Kee Thuan Chye among others.

When asked about his feelings, Yeo enthused, "I feel happy, of course! It's also heartening to know that at least some critics are able to see beyond the surface comedy (designed to entertain the general Malaysian audience) and noticed that we are attempting something different and hopefully original. I don't say we succeeded but we did try. I also keep in mind that winning the award doesn't necessarily mean "Sell Out!" is better than the other competing films. It just means the people on our jury (80 young Europeans) happen to like or appreciate our film more."

According to Yeo's official website, "Sell Out!" is bound for the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Zurich FF next, and then to Pusan, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Taipei and Argentina.

"We are not in competition in Vancouver, so I'm just hoping that our first North American audience will enjoy the film as much as the Europeans did in Venice. And if they do, I hope they will write or talk about the film. Although we have many very positive reviews of "Sell Out!" only a couple of these are in English. It would be nice if our investors are able to read first-hand how audiences feel about "Sell Out!" and maybe they will finally talk to me about my next project!"

Cinema Online, 21 September 2008