Sunday, August 23, 2009

TRANSITIONS 01.2 | A Salute to 5 New Maverick Directors

The recently concluded BMW Shorties (2009) short film competition has unearthed some shimmering talents. A ray of light has pierced our film industry with the emergence of these gifted young directors. Their films not only provoked the viewers cerebrally but are executed with technical brilliance unseen in many local productions. The joint-winners of this year's Shorties, Brandon Loh's 'Conversation with A Mad Man', dissects one man's distorted (depending on one's own judgement) view of society, while Shanjhey Kumar's 'Ma Chai' takes a comical look at two village goons who are forced to earn a living by selling salted-fish. Both works discretely takes potshots at a society that has been overwhelmed by capitalistic tendencies.

Two other directors, John Cho & Katak Chua showcased existentialist qualities through their honest depictions of emotional detachment within a suicidal person & how an eldest brother of three squanders his sibling's tuition money through his gambling habit, in 'Resonance' & '1:19' respectively. John's 'Resonance' obtained a Special Mention at the shorties, while Katak's '1:19' impressed us all with its raw one-take on domestic violence in the vein of Mathieu Kassovtiz's, 'La Haine'.

The non-conventional routes taken by the aforementioned directors through their diverse storytelling styles show that these new generation of filmmakers are breaking out of the mold of mundanity that has so long plagued Malaysian film industry, albeit a resurgence in the form of the late Yasmin Ahmad who has paved the way for these new talents with her own groundbreaking films.

Among the upcoming names to be on a lookout for too is Yeo Joon Han of 'Sell Out!' -A local feature film released last year which turned the tables on the viewers by making them laugh out loud at their own shorticoming as Malaysians. Its sarcastic & witty social commentaries about our nation drew loud applauses at various film festivals. Sell Out! world-premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2008 and won the Young Cinema Award for Alternative Vision. It also won the NETPAC Award at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival.

Join us in our humble salute to these 5 young mavericks. -Jon Wong

Watch their films below:

Conversation with Mad Man from brandon loh on Vimeo.

m a c h a i from shanjhey kumar on Vimeo.

Resonance from John W J Cho on Vimeo.

1:19 from Katak Chua on Vimeo.

Sell Out! Trailer by Yeo Joon Han

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