Film Grants Selection Panel
DREW AMBROSE is a Senior Producer for Al Jazeera’s Asian current affairs program “101 East”. Based in Malaysia, he has reported from over 25 countries. The 32 year old has produced documentaries and news reports for Australia’s two public broadcasters- often as a foreign correspondent. His work has won the New York Festival Gold Medal, Asian Human Rights Press Award, United Nations Media Peace Prize and a Global Media Award amongst other journalism prizes in Australia.
ERIC PAULSEN started his legal practice in a leading criminal and public interest law firm in Malaysia and also worked at Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), a civil and political rights advocacy organization. Over the last decade, he worked with UN organizations in Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar and also co-founded Lawyers for Liberty (LFL), a human rights lawyers’ organization in 2011. He was its Adviser until 2014 when he became the Executive Director. He has been charged under Malaysia’s Sedition Act for criticizing JAKIM, (The Malaysian Islamic Development Department) of allegedly promoting extremism through its Friday sermons.
VIMALA SUNDRAM has 14 years of working in the Administrative and Diplomatic Service giving her a good grasp of the public sector and ensuring targeted and successful government programs. In 1986, Vimala worked as a public relations consultant in Ogilvy and Mather Public Relations firm and later as the General Manager of another public relations agency. In 1992, she founded Capital Corporate Communications, a PR and communications consultancy firm serving a select client group. Vimala has a BA Hons. Degree (English and Economics) from the University of Malaya and an MSc in Social Planning for Developing Countries from the London School of Economics.
Best International Film
AL JAFREE MD YUSOP began his career as a scriptwriter. He wrote the film “Paloh” for director Adman Salleh and the stage musical “P. Ramlee, The Musical” for Enfiniti Production. His directing career started with “Senandong Malam”, a telemovie which he co-directed with Dain Said. He then directed “Melur vs Rajawali” and “Kembara Nak Dara”, both telemovies for RTM. He directed his first feature film “Mencari Rahmat” in 2017.
MARCUS VETTER (born 1967) graduated in Economics (1991) and Media Theory and Practice (1994). Since 1994 he has been working as a TV editor, producer and director at ARD/SWR in Baden-Baden and Stuttgart. His films have received attention at national and international film festivals and won numerous prizes, among which are 3 Adolf Grimme Awards – the German Oscar and the German Academy Award. Among his portfolio of films and documentations are “The Tunnel” (1999, 90 min.), “My father the Turk” (2006, 90 min), “Heart of Jenin” (2008, 90 min), “Hunger” (2009, 90 min), “Cinema Jenin” 2011, 90 min) and “The Court” ( 2012, 90 min), “The Promise” and “The Forecaster”
NANDITA SOLOMON has worked on award-winning feature films, documentaries and video art installations that have screened in Malaysia and abroad, including “Near Intervisible Lines”, was invited to the Sydney Biennale 2006 and “Karaoke” (2009), debuted at the Cannes’ Directors Fortnight. Her first feature “Bunohan (2011) premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, was pre-sold to Universal Pictures and was Malaysia’s 2nd-ever official submission to the Oscars. Her latest film, “Interchange” (2016), premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival’s Piazza Grande and was screened at numerous festivals including Toronto, BFI London, Singapore, Jogja NAFF, Goa, Sitges and Bucheon.
Best South East Asia Film
Ondřej Moravec is the program director of One World Film Festival, based in Prague, which is the biggest human rights documentary film festival in the world. He graduated at Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU) where he studied screenwriting. He also graduated at the Charles University in Prague, where he studied media and journalism. He work as a reporter in the cultural room of the Czech Television for 4 years and was also the program director of the film festival Čačikano which was about Romani culture. He was also then working as a documentary filmmaker.
SHARMIN PARAMESWARAN heads the Video on Demand Business in Astro Malaysia and in this capacity she keeps abreast with content of digital and broadcast platforms in movies and TV series to today’s short formats. Sharmin believes that content makers today have good opportunities to tell their stories. She is also an independent curator in the Malaysian art visual scene, has collaborated AWAM to stage “The Good Malaysian Woman: Ethnicity, Religion, Politics” which highlighted how female stereotypes affect women’s sense of self, community and nationality. Other collaborations include the acclaimed Obscura Photo Festival on the exhibition Person (a) and her most recent Collective Individuals with Urbanscapes 2017.
SHARAAD KUTTAN is the producer of current affairs at BFM and regulars on its radio talk show, “A Bit of Culture”. He taught journalism at IACT College and currently a columnist with The Malaysian Insider. He obtained MA in Sociology and Anthropology from the National University of Singapore and currently co- editor of “Looking at Culture”, a collection of essays on cultural politics in Singapore. He engages in human rights activism which included election monitoring in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. He also participated in academic researches in the same field. He wrote a chapter on links between civil society and political ferment to “Elections and Democracy in Malaysia” (2005), published by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. In 2006 he was awarded the Nippon Foundation’s Asian Public Intellectual fellowship.
Best Short Film
NALINI ELUMALAI is a grassroots and human rights activist. She is currently the Program Officer of “Article 19”, an advocacy NGO in Malaysia. She also served as a campaign coordinator and later the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)/ Executive Director of Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) for several years. Nalini is also active in grassroots struggles of the rural poor, plantation workers and indigenous people. Since 2006, she has been an active volunteer in the Oppressed People Network, a community-based organization, fighting for safe housing, land rights and workers’ rights.
ANDREW KHOO has been in legal practice in Malaysia for more than 20 years. An elected member of the Bar Council since March 2009, Khoo currently serves as Co-Chair of the Human Rights Committee, Co-Chair of the Trade in Legal Services Committee and Chair of the Legal Profession Committee’s Sub- committee on Anti-Money Laundering. Khoo served as counsel for the Malaysian Bar in two election petitions, and for the Council of Churches Malaysia in the Herald ”Allah” case and the Bible Society of Malaysia in the Jill Ireland case, both regarding freedom of religion. Khoo also represented the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) before the Federal Court, Court of Appeal and High Court.
SHUFIYAN SHUKUR. Shufiyan aka Shuf has been in mass communications since 1992 – practically covering the entire spectrum of the field: publishing, public relations, journalism, and advertising. He covered the Multimedia Super Corridor when it was in its infancy, writing and editing for MSCTimes.com and later provided video content for Cyberjaya.tv and Malaysia.tv, two early adopters of online publishing of video content. He is a firm believer in the power of video, especially in advocacy initiatives. In November 2006, Shufiyan joined Malaysiakini and helmed its video initiative, Malaysiakini.tv right up until 2013 when Malaysiakini.tv was superseded by Kinitv.com under a new management structure and he took on a reduced role as senior producer for video features until April 2014.