The annual celebration of the short film provides a window on Southeast Asian cinema 

Melaka, 25 September – The SeaShorts Film Festival 2019 kicked off its five-day run in Melaka on Wednesday with an opening night showing of Ten Years Thailand and an appearance by one of the film’s directors, Aditya Assarat. 

The anthology features four stories by different Thai filmmakers, each envisioning their homeland a decade onwards from the military coup of 2014. Aditya joined in a question and answer session with his Malaysian counterpart, Amir Muhammad.

The event served as a taste of the Festival to come, which continues through to Sunday. Now in its third edition, the annual celebration of short films from Southeast Asia and beyond promises to be a diverse treat for movie buffs.

In the competition section, a shortlist of 26 entries from more than 350 submitted will be in the running for the top two prizes. Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner Lav Diaz (Philippines) heads a jury comprising actress Fatimah Abu Bakar (Malaysia) and curator Gertjan Zuilhof (Netherlands) to decide the regional SeaShorts Award. Alongside fellow judges Sherman Ong (Malaysia) and Shireen Seno (Philippines), two-time national representative to the Oscars, Garin Nugroho (Indonesia), will meanwhile determine the best Malaysian effort to win the Next New Wave Award. 

Contenders stand the chance to walk away with the lion’s share of prizes including Panasonic Lumix GH5 4K cameras, Aputure lighting equipment, Zoom field recorders, and Deity Microphones. The top three local submissions will additionally earn placements in the Finas Film Incubator Programme. 

The nominated films make up the bumper selection of screenings on top of themed programmes. A permanent fixture of the Festival and the inspiration behind its establishment, S-Express is a series of guest presentations specially curated to showcase the many filmmaking scenes of the region. Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia are the ten countries in the spotlight. 

Also on the bill are special focuses on the works of filmmakers Roxlee (Philippines) and Sorayos Prapapan (Thailand) as well as documentaries and animations. 

The SeaShorts experience is not limited to the big screen. Attendees can make the most of their time at the Festival with talks, forums, masterclasses, and workshops delivered by the who’s who of industry players. The line-up extends opportunities to get involved in the dialogue surrounding the trade, and network with cinema enthusiasts both professional and casual. 

The Festival will finally bow out for another year with closing film 15Malaysia, which saw 15 directors join hands with unlikely collaborators from across the political spectrum for works of commentary on taboo subjects. The omnibus 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. 

Festival founder and director Tan Chui Mui said, “SeaShorts is dedicated to connecting audiences with unique voices that provide new ways of looking at Southeast Asia. It encapsulates the pulse of the region, drawing attention to the contemporary narratives and issues permeating this part of the world that are often overlooked in our usual film consumption. We have a robust community bringing stories from our backyard to the global stage, and it is high time that we expand on the support to take them further.” 

The event is made possible with the support of The Japan Foundation Asia Center, FINAS, the State of Melaka and Melaka Tourism Promotion Division, Film Development Council of the Philippines, Purin Pictures, Da Huang Pictures, Sinema Media, SINdie, Panasonic, Aputure Imaging Industries, Deity Microphones, Zoom Corporation, Epson, and CK Music. More than RM10,000 has been collected through a fundraising campaign on pitchIN to help filmmakers attend the Festival. 

Festival passes are available for purchase at www.seashorts2019.peatix.com. For more information, visit www.nextnewwave.com

About SeaShorts Film Festival 

SeaShorts is an annual celebration of Southeast Asian short film featuring film screenings, forums, workshops, exhibitions, and music performances by filmmakers. The event is inspired by S-Express in Southeast Asia, an exchange of short films started in the early 2000s by Yuni Hadi (Singapore), Chalida Umburungjit (Thailand), and Amir Muhammad (Malaysia). 

2017 saw the inaugural edition of the Festival held in Kuala Lumpur. 118 short films were screened over four days at three cafes within the Jalan Panggung area. SeaShorts took place in Georgetown, Penang, the following year, screening 148 short films in five days. Among the names that have been members of the competition jury include Rithy Panh (Cambodia), Philip Cheah (Singapore), Pimpaka Towira (Thailand), Mira Lesmana (Indonesia), and Sharifah Amani (Malaysia). 

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About Next New Wave 

Next New Wave is an initiative founded in 2015 to focus on nurturing young and emerging filmmakers in Malaysia. The name Next New Wave was a play on the previously groundbreaking but short-lived Malaysian New Wave which made its appearance in 2005, when Malaysian independent films were travelling to film festivals all over the world thus paving a new path for alternative cinema in Malaysia. 

A new generation of filmmakers are beginning to find their own way with new technology and platforms, exploring new ways of filmmaking. Next New Wave is determined to help cultivate in these emerging storytellers the spirit for experimentation and perspective. 

nextnewwave.com.my | fb.com/nextnewwave 

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