The FreedomFilmFest is happy to announce this year’s recipients of the Malaysia Film Grants for the production of short documentaries with human rights theme.
The submitters of 7 shortlisted proposals pitched their story idea to a panel of judges comprising of Drew Ambrose, a Senior Producer for Al Jazeera’s Asian current affairs program 101 East; Vimala Sundram, managing director of Capital Corporate Communications; and Eric Paulsen, executive director of Lawyers for Liberty.
The Malaysian winners are:
Andrew Ng Yew Han for his pitch on a film entitled, The Hills and the Sea, an original story on how the development of Penang is having an impact on the human rights of locals. Andrew’s pitch made an impression on Drew Ambrose who is an award winning documentary producer and foreign correspondent. “Given the rich history of Penang, Andrew has found a topic of international interest that goes beyond the usual story pitches that you get in a competition of this nature. The entrant gave a solid presentation with a clear understanding of the characters and story structure”
Human rights lawyer Eric Paulsen concurred that “It was a good and sincere pitch on the issue of environmental degradation affecting the lives of both humans and animals. In today’s rush to develop and gentrified our surroundings, coming up with Instagramable worthy decorations, we tend to forget the common people and the environment, and huge impact it will have on them. We hope that this short documentary will be able to redress this imbalance.”
Arlene Tan and Grace Cho for their pitch on film entitled “Silent Suffering’.
“It is a documentary that focuses on refugees in Malaysia by visually articulating the thoughts, feelings and challenges of one Rohingya man. It speaks of the indomitable human spirit and demands we examine our common humanity” says PR and communications strategist, Vimala Sundram.
“While the plight of refugees is a common topic at human rights documentary festivals, the team were able to articulate how their central character- a Bangladeshi asylum seeker- is different. They have showed initiative in filming sections of his story already and a commitment to portraying his story in a balanced light. The status of refugees in Malaysia is an issue of national importance that doesn’t get proper attention by the local media”, added Drew.
The winners will each be awarded a cash sum of RM 5000 plus the loan of professional audio and video recording equipment. They will also receive production guidance from a panel of professionals mentors.
A third pitch by Muz Amer entited “Ru(W)ang” on the significance of public spaces was singled out for a special mention and will receive production support and guidance from the mentors.
The teams will now go into production and the completed films will premiere at the FreedomFilmFest from 2-9th September 2017 at PJ Live Arts in Jaya One, Petaling Jaya and subsequenty in Penang, Johor, Perak, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.