As Malaysia celebrates her 55th year of independence this 31st August, Astro and Red Comm pay tribute to each Malaysian state by highlighting the work of 14 young and notable local filmmakers. The storyline and setting of each individual movie short was filmed in and around their director's hometowns. The films are diverse in language, genre and stories, but they are unified by the theme "Celebrating My Hometown".
The short films will be aired from 31 August (Merdeka day!) up till 16 September 2012 on Astro channel 318. You can also watch all of them at 'MY HOMETOWN SHORT FILMS' Black Box PUBLIKA on Saturday, September 8. Screening begins at 12pm.
And just so you know what to look out for, check out the trailers and synopses for all 14 Malaysian states below:
At the foot of the steps of Batu Caves, two friends
meet and make their way up the steps. Daniel accompanies Tika to the
temple cave at the top of the steps. As they make their way up,
passersby misperceive the identity of the peculiar pair, some to
humorous effect. How is it that the Indian-looking Daniel is able to
speak Cantonese? Who of the two is there to pray? Even the audience is
left guessing till the very end.
Director: Shamyl Othman
The son of renowned filmmaker Hafsham, Shamyl has since come into his
own when he started winning accolades for his short film “Father”. He
has since directed many series including the hit series “Waktu Rehat”
for Disney Channel. He will be directing his first full-length feature
film “Kami HIsteria” this year.
Filmmaker Uzair is fascinated how tattoos has become an ‘in’ fad in the
city and at the same time controversial as it invokes prejudice on the
person sporting a tattoo. He tries to find out more about the art and
significance of a tattoo and it inevitably takes him to his hometown
Sarawak where it is part of an Iban's tradition of "Berjalai" which
means journey. As he returns to his hometown to explore the concept of
"Berjalai", he doesn't realise that he is actually walking his own
version of the tradition.
Director: Uzair Sawal
Uzair was born and raised in Miri. Living in a truly multi-racial
community, he is exposed to different cultures and traditions by his
friends from different ethnic groups. Currently a freelance television
producer based in Kuala Lumpur, Uzair feels the need to return and
document the traditions of people from his hometown
"The Day The River Ran Red"
A historical tragic event which took place in Parit Buntar, Perak 40
years ago made an ordinary man a decorated national hero overnight.
Based on a Director/Writer Shanjey Kumar Perumal true account of his
grandfather, this documentary is narrated via an interesting theatre
performance and stunning visuals that takes you on one mans journey to
find justice and the compassion that he showed saved the lives of many
on one fateful day.
Director: Shanjey Kumar Perumal
Born and bred in a middleclass family from a small town, Shanjay spent
most of his childhood with the Scouts Association of Malaysia and taking
part in stage performances in Parit Buntar. A USM graduate with a
Communications degree, he was the grand prizewinner for the BMW Shorties
2009 competition. Among his notable short films are Thaipusam,
Nilavukkoru Kaditham, Machai, Siapa Gaduh and the most recent Kaizen.
Over school holidays, Donald (12) is sent to visit his grandmother in rural Keningau. There, his friends Muz (14) and Rahman (13) tell him that two English boys are bullying them. Not only have the English boys stolen their ‘territory’, a clearing near a paddy field where they often play, they have also been stealing the boys’ rubber bands. Donald challenges the English boys to a ‘main getah showdown’ where winner takes all. ‘Lastik’ is a playful modern day retelling of Sabah’s journey towards independence and the making of Malaysia’s founding fathers.
Director: Nadira Ilana
Nadira Ilana is a writer-filmmaker from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. She received her BFA in Film and Television from the Queensland University of Technology in 2009. Nadira’s films have screened at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia and Filmmakers Anonymous Kuala Lumpur.
Ali wants to be a filmmaker but he is feeling uninspired and pressured with other things that distracts him from pursuing his dreams. He decides to go back to his hometown, Perlis on a break which takes him on a surreal time travel journey when he meets a fellow train passenger named Umar Ghazi who loves colleting vintage items. Will Ali get his mojo back in Arau and what is the connection with Umar, UFOs and Ahmad Jais?
Director: Rewan Ishak
Rewan Ishak spent years as a Graphic Designer & Art Director at an advertising agency & a multimedia company before getting into the world of film & TV production. After a music video he directed was actually launched in a real Boeing 777, he believes imagination can take him everywhere. Rewan is as a Producer, Art Director & Editor for an upcoming feature film, KIL and is the latest addition to the creative team in Red Communications.
"Hi, I'm Julia"
Today is Julia’s first day in a new school at SMK (P) St. George, Penang. She’s just moved to the island from KL and isn’t too happy. When she accidentally overhears a conversation between Didi, NG and Lalita - who also happen to be the naughtiest girls of Form 3, she’s forced to join in their plans of fleeing school for the day. A bad day turns out to be one of the best days of Julia’s life as she’s taken for an unlikely tour of the island. Perhaps Penang isn’t going to be as bad as Julia imagined it, after all.
Director: Nadiah Hamzah
Nadiah was born and raised in Penang, and she has worked on several short films – a very humorous short film on the tudung; an emotive piece about fitting in she wrote, directed and produced while studying in New York and is currently writing and directing in television.
An idealistic young Malay soldier serving in the British army is assigned to a pillbox on an isolated beach in the east coast of Malaysia, where a disillusioned veteran is currently stationed. As they anticipate the arrival of the Japanese forces, the young soldier starts to feel isolated and detached from the comfort of home and finds consolation in his fellow soldier by sharing their memories of their respective hometown in Pahang.
Director: Mahen Bala
Born in Cameron Highlands and raised near the breezy beaches of Kuantan, Mahen Bala is a documentary photographer and filmmaker. His short film ''Plan B'' was a finalist in the 2010 BMW Shorties and short documentary ''The Apprentice'' is in competition in several international film festivals. He hopes to document and exhibit more stories focusing on Malaysia's forgotten history and memories.
XIA XIA, a 17-year-old Chinese girl is sent back her hometown Tampin, Negeri Sembilan when her GRANDMOTHER falls sick. There, she meets childhood friend, MAZLAN, whom she confides about her unhappiness of her father's remarriage. She does not want to stay too long in Tampin as she sees no future there but at the same time does not want to stay with her father any longer in KL. What does the future hold for young XIA XIA?
Director: Brenda Danker
Producer and director Brenda Danker is passionate about telling human-interest stories, with a keen interest in social issues affecting women, youth and the marginalized. Her honest yet biting portrayal of these issues in both film and television has won over many critics and much recognition from the industry.
Her production credits include 3R (Best Magazine Award 2003, Best Social Awareness Program – Silver 2005, Asian TV Awards) and her recent projects include a feature film Gadoh (2009) and a documentary, Selepas Tsunami, (2010).
"Hikayat Hang Kway Teow"
The legendary Hang Kopitiam of Melaka has just lost its patriarch and founder Hang Solo. His son Hang Sem, who aspires to be a singer, has absolutely no interest in the business. Tuah Pui, their most loyal servant, steps up to keep things together as relationships fray towards breaking point. When it starts to look like the tides have turned, an incident involving a beautiful Nyonya girl and tomato sauce pushes them over the edge.
Director: Adrian Lai
Raised during its era as a sleepy township, Adrian spent most of his youth in Melaka indulging in music, fiction writing and the occasional 'country club sports'. With an Australian degree in music production and formal screenwriting training in the US, he has since pursued a career producing videos and music locally. Adrian has directed and acted in his own indie film that has traveled overseas in film festivals.
It’s a rare occasion when Deepavali and Hari Raya happen to fall on the same day and Fati who grew up in Bangsar feels a double whammy. Fati who grew up in Bangsar is made to feel kampong-less again. Not only that, Fati dearly misses Vidhya her best friend whom they have celebrated the both festivals together since they were a child. Fati decides that “home is where the heart is” and overcomes her nostalgia with the help of modern technology.
Director: Sharifah Amani
Born and bred in Bangsar, Amani hails from a non-conventional family which emphasis Arts in their lives. She established herself as an actress and cites creative influences from her mentor the late Yasmin Ahmad. She has directed a short film called “Sangkar” and plans to hone her directing skills further.
Alif returns to his hometown in Kuala Terengganu to meet his mother after almost 9 months apart. However as soon as he gets off the bus from KL, he gets a phone call from his boss that he needs to return to revise some work. Can Alif bring himself to break his mothers heart when she has been anticipating his return all this time. The answer becomes clear when he meets a little boy onboard the ‘Penambang’, a ferry that travels through Sungai Terengganu to the Seberang Takir Jetty in Trengganu.
Director: Ariffin Zulkarnain
Born and bred in Setiu and Kuala Terengganu, Ariff began his interest in storytelling and filmmaking since he was a young boy after watching movies his father rented. Ariff has since written and directed two short films called 'Dalam Librari' and 'Kotak' which won the KODAK FILM SCHOOL COMPETITION and competed in Asia Pacific regional. Currently he is involved in numerous other productions in different roles.
A humourous trilogy that revolves around 2 main characters, Naqi and Medey, who are 2 guys born and bred in Kelantan. Because the essence of Kelantan itself lies within every kelantanese and their lifestyle, all 3 stories will take audience closer to the uniqueness of Kelantan and its citizen's way of life. 'Ikan Singgang dan Budu', 'Selam', and 'A Friday in New Castle' will provide audience an insight of kelantanese youth daily routine, apart from their aspirations and psyche.
Director: Ramdan Che Hassan
Born in Pasir Mas, Kelantan, Ramdan comes from a family of Traditional Arts practitioners who was involved in Wayang Kulit, Dikir Barat, and Mak Yong. A graduate from UPM, he has written and directed few projects ever since for local TV and assitant director for prominent local directors. He recently finished writing a screenplay and currently is getting ready for his 1st feature film, R.E.M.
Arman and Eteng are teenagers who work as íkan bilis’ fishermen on a boat in Kedah. As they sail out to the open seas, Arman discovers a beautiful sea horse among the school of fish that they catch. They argue over the sea horse as one wants to kill and dry it to turn it into a traditional aphrodisiac whilst the other wants to free it back into the sea. The childhood friends get into an argument that may just put one of their lives in danger.
Director: Shuhaimi Zulkefli
Born in Langkawi, Shuhaimi Zulkefli has played the role of director, assistant director, screenwriter, production designer and editor since 2007, to name a few. His short film Aku has placed third for Best Short film at the Astro Kirana Short film Award in 2009. His recent works include working behind the scenes on films such as Ombak Rindu, Tujuh Petala Cinta, and Strawberi Cinta.
"Kudaku Menari Lagi"
Three sisters, Along,Angah and Uda have a rare passion for the traditional Javanese Kuda Kepang performance. Mentored by Wak Miskon, a Javanese traditional artist, the three sisters take part in ensuring that this cultural art is kept alive. Meanwhile their single mother, shares the challenges and prejudice she face raising three unorthodox daughters by herself in the kampung. This documentary is an insight to the lifestyle, philosophy and cultural tradition of the Javanese people which is inextricably woven into Malaysian society.
Director: Yati Kaprawi
Johor-born Norhayati Kaprawi has always placed women's rights and progressive thinking at the front row in her works, as reflected in her documentary film Mencari Kartika (2010) and Aku Siapa (2011). She is undergoing a fellowship sponsored by the Asian Public Intellectuals and conducting her research in Jakarta.
We hope you're as excited as we are to watch each story unfold this Merdeka. Tune in to Astro Channel 318 to catch the short stories from 31 August till 16 September 2012. For more from Red Communications, check out their Facebook page.