SeaShorts Film Festival is set to debut in Malacca this 25th to 29th September. Now in its third edition, the annual affair will host as usual a fresh line-up of works from emerging and established directorial talents in Southeast Asia and beyond for a celebration of short film.

An initiative of Next New Wave, visitors can expect a weeklong series of film screenings, forums, masterclasses, and other activities associated with movie production. SeaShorts’ diversity is evident in SExpress, a presentation of guest programmes specially curated to showcase the many local filmmaking scenes of the region. Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia are the ten countries in the spotlight.

The Festival will also once again see directors vying for glory in two competition categories. Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner, Lav Diaz of the Philippines, heads the jury for the SeaShorts Award, which recognises Southeast Asian short films. Indonesian cinema stalwart Garin Nugroho meanwhile presides over the judging of the Next New Wave Award, given to the best Malaysian short film.

352 submissions were received this year with the announcement of results to be made on 1st August. Participants are in the running for a slew of prizes including Aputure lighting equipment, Zoom field recorders, as well as Deity Microphones. The three best entries to the Next New Wave Award will additionally earn their helmers places in the Finas Film Incubator Programme.

The Festival will be bookended by two omnibus films. Curtain-raiser Ten Years Thailand features four directors—Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Aditya Assarat, Wisit Sasanatieng, and Chulayarnnon Siriphol—providing silver screen interpretations of their homeland’s future a decade from now.

The closing film 15Malaysia comprises 15 productions themed around taboo issues in the country, such as racism, paedophilia, and corruption. With a star-studded cast of celebrities and politicians in principal acting roles, the anthology was a massive success upon online release in 2009 and heralded a rise in viral political filmmaking that culminated with the electoral revolution of 2018.

For attendees looking to participate rather than just spectate, they can learn the tricks of the animation trade at a two-day workshop by Rox Lee. Widely considered an elder statesman of the film industry in his native Philippines, he will impart his signature DIY style seen throughout his half-century oeuvre.

“SeaShorts represents an opportunity for people of different backgrounds to unite in their love of cinema and short films,” said Festival founder and director Tan Chui Mui.

“From individuals directly involved in the filmmaking process to enthusiasts and audiences, it allows them to gather in enjoyment of never-before-seen releases, engage in discussion, and hopefully spark collaboration.”

The event is made possible with the support of National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas), The Japan Foundation Asia Center, Purin Pictures, Aputure Imaging Industries, Deity Microphones, Zoom Corporation, CK Music, and Sinema Media. More than RM10,000 has been collected through a fundraising campaign to help filmmakers attend the Festival.

Full details of the 2019 programme will be unveiled in the coming weeks. Ticket booking information is available at seashorts2019.peatix.com. For more information, visit nextnewwave.com.my.

If you want to see the first films which will be part of this year’s festival, look here.

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Ever since I watched Takeshi Kitano's "Hana-Bi" for the first time (and many times after that) I have been a cinephile. While much can be said about the technical aspects of film, coming from a small town in Germany, I cherish the notion of art showing its audience something which one does normally avoid, neglect or is unable to see for many different reasons. Often the stories told in films have helped me understand, discover and connect to something new which is a concept I would like to convey in the way I talk and write about films. Thus, I try to include some info on the background of each film as well as a short analysis (without spoilers, of course), an approach which should reflect the context of a work of art no matter what genre, director or cast. In the end, I hope to pass on my joy of watching film and talking about it.