Thirteen years have gone by and the Freedom Film Festival has become one of the staples in the film scene in Malaysia. Starting out as a very (very!) small screening event, it has grown into a multi-city touring festival that even gives out grants for filmmakers to make their projects a reality.
Zan Azlee, Astro Awani | Updated: March 23, 2015
(First published on: March 23, 2015 12:16 MYT)
PETALING JAYA: Thirteen years have gone by and the Freedom Film Festival has become one of the staples in the film scene in Malaysia. Starting out as a very (very!) small screening event, it has grown into a multi-city touring festival that even gives out grants for filmmakers to make their projects a reality.
Organised by the NGO Pusat KOMAS (Pusat Komuniti Masyarakat), the theme of the festival has consistently be about highlighting human rights issues in Malaysia.
The 2015 edition kicked off with the screening of a groundbreaking film which aptly set the tone for the film fest.
Renowned American documentary filmmaker, Joshua Oppenheimer, famed for ‘The Act of Killing’ in 2012 (the documentary about the 1965-66 Indonesian killings of ‘communists’ which saw an approximate 500,000 people murdered), offered his latest film, ‘The Look of Silence’, as the curtain-raiser of the fest. ‘The Look of Silence’ which was released in 2014 came about as the sequel of ‘The Act of Killing.’
The latter follows Adi Rukun, the younger brother of one of the alleged communists who was accused of being a communist and was brutally killed, milling around the village confronting those who were involved in the killing. From the lens of Oppenheimer’s camera, his meetings which took place more than 40 years ago are nothing short disturbing, to say the least.
And as Oppenheimer’s films have inevitably opened up the flood gates (and occasionally heated) discourse in the neighbouring country in Indonesia.
This is the aspiration for the 2015 Freedom Film Festival which will see local films that will create and encourage similar tone for future discourse in Malaysia.
“The theme of this years festival is ‘Unseen, Unheard, Untold’. And we want these kinds of stories to be highlighted,” says festival director Anna Har.
Festival director, Anna Har (centre), has helmed the Freedom Film Fest for the past thirteen years. – Photo by Astro AWANI/Zan Azlee
“The theme of this years festival is ‘Unseen, Unheard, Untold’. We would like these types of stories to be highlighted,” says festival director, Anna Har.
After Friday night’s opening film, the festival is now calling local filmmakers to submit their works. Deadline for submissions is on June 1. The movie will be screened during the main festival between 15 and 20 September.
The selected films will also be eligible for several awards – Best Malaysian Film, Best SEA Film, Best Long Form and Best Short Film.
Four film grants are also being given out to selected pitches to be made into reality. There will be three RM8,000 grants to be given for film ideas in Malaysia with one worth, SGD5,000 for a film idea in Singapore.
For those interested in pitching for the grants, the deadline is April 4 and the completed films will be screened at the main festival.
Visit the Freedom Film Fest 2015 website for more information.