Friday, October 20, 2006

Malaysian-Chinese Director Major Winner at Busan Film Festival

Direct C&P from IHT:

Malaysian-Chinese director major winner at Busan film festival
The Associated Press


Published: October 20, 2006
BUSAN, South Korea A 28-year-old Malaysian Chinese director was the big winner at the Pusan International Film Festival on Friday, bagging an international movie critics' award and sharing the prize for best new Asian filmmaker.

Tan Chui Mui's "Love Conquers All," about a woman confused about her feelings after moving to a city, won the FIPRESCI prize awarded by the International Federation of Film Critics.

She also shared the New Currents award — given to best new Asian filmmaker — with China's Heng Yang, who directed "Betelnut," the story of Chinese youths who spend an aimless summer together.

At a press conference Friday, Oscar-winning Hungarian director Istvan Szabo, chairman of the New Currents jury, praised "Love Conquers All" as "a beautiful film using a known cinematic language but in a very, very nice way."

Szabo said the jury picked "Betelnut" for its "new cinematic value, great acting by all the cast, powerful pictures and beautiful silent moments."

Tan said she will use the US$30,000 (€23,742) cash prize to finance her company, Da Huang Pictures, which also produces movies by other directors.

"This is (a) very important film festival in Asia, and they set up a section for new directors. It's very rare," she said.

Tan said it's difficult to get government funding for Chinese-language films in Malaysia because the authorities there classify movies that have 70 percent or more of their script in the ethnic Malay language only as being Malaysian. Malaysia's population is dominated by ethnic Malays, but Chinese and Indians form significant minorities.

She said her next film will be about about two middle-aged women.

"Love Conquers All" was backed by the Hubert Bals Fund of the Rotterdam International Film Festival.

In other awards, the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema named South Korean director Roh Gyeong-tae's "The Last Dining Table" as best Korean feature film. The movie portrays the social isolation of lower-class families.

Meanwhile, festival director Kim Dong-ho announced that festival organizers will run a spinoff event in Los Angeles in spring 2007 that will focus on Korean and Asian films.

Kim also said the festival will set up its own TV channel, as the Sundance film festival has done, which will air 50 films that have been shown in the Busan festival.

He also announced that South Korea's JoongAng Broadcasting Corporation will set up a 50 million Korean won (US$52,603; €41,635) fund that will help Asian documentaries get airtime.

___

On the Net:

Pusan International Film Festival Web site:

http://www.piff.org

And here's the movie poster, sourced from here:



And Amir Muhammad is the movie's producer:

Cast:
Ah Ping...................................Coral Ong Li Whei
John.........................................Stephen Chua
Mei............................................Leong Jiun Jiun
Hong Jie.................................Ho Chi Lai

Country of Production...............Malaysia
Year of Production.....................2006

Producer....................................Amir Muhammad
Director....................................Tan Chui Mui
Director of Photography.............James Lee
Assistant Director....................Gan Hui Yee
Sound Design by.....................Steven Leong




Here's the movie synopsis:

A love story. At first sight maybe a simple love story. About how blind a girl in love can be. Slowly but unavoidable the story will become less simple, will raise more questions without giving too many answers.

Main character - if not main victim - is Ah Peng (Coral Ong Li Whei). A common girl from Penang. She arrives in some outskirt of Kuala Lumpur to find work in the economy rice stall of her aunt. She is taken in by the family like an older daughter and shares a room with little sister Mei (Leong Jiun Jiun). In a way Mei is the main character - and certainly no victim - of her own love story with a mysterious pen pal. The indolent Ah Peng and the bright and lively Mei get along very well. Like real sisters.

Ah Peng has a boy friend in Penang. Regularly she makes her way to the public phones to make her ritual call. Fate has it that just there she attracts the attention of John (Stephen Chua Jyh Shyan). John shamelessly listens in on the conversations between Ah Peng and her boy friend and right there starts a relationship that has to be doomed. John even tells her - in the same shameless way - how to lure a girl into prostitution. But revealing this can not stop this fatal story.

Although certainly not a period film the movie renders homage to two disappearing tools of communication: the handwritten letters by Mei and the fixed to the ground public phone calls by Ah Peng. Soon this kind of phone booths and letter boxes will form a problem for the movie art departments.

FYI, a Malaysian documentary ,'18?' was earlier banned from participation in the EBS International Documentary Festival (EIDF)in mid-July. I blogged about it here.

Majulah filem Mat Rempit Untuk Negara.

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