Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Freedom Film Fest 2008


Kuala Lumpur, 11th August – The fifth annual KOMAS FREEDOMFILMFEST (FFF2008) has got Malaysia covered! Coming to a city near you, FFF will be visiting the great cities of KL, JB, Penang and, for the first time ever, FFF will be in East Malaysia, in Kuching!
Catch the festival at the following locations -
Kuching – Old Court House: 19th to the 21st September
Penang – Wawasan Open University: 26th to the 28th September.
FFF is the first of its kind to be organised in Malaysia, creating opportunities for local filmmakers and social activists to use their film making craft to express social concerns and human rights issues.
The theme 'Democratic Space – Making Room for Human Rights' was chosen to draw attention to the deteriorating state of democracy in Malaysia. What was once a desperate situation of increasing restrictions to freedom of speech, assembly, information, free and fair elections, religious practice and other basic rights, since the March elections and with the dawn of a new political era, the space suddenly feels bigger.
The questions that still beg to be asked are: what really is democracy, where are the democratic spaces in Malaysia and what can we do as citizens to reclaim the space?

Festival Highlights FFF, the first event of its kind to be organised in Malaysia will, over three days, screen over 20 thought provoking films from all over the world with local and international filmmakers taking part; 'One Nation Under Lee''s Seelan Palay from Singapore, Indonesian filmmaker Ariani Darmawan (Dragons Beget Dragons) and Malaysia's very own filmmaker and activist, Chi Too (What Forest?).
The festival will also have a special screening of international award winning documentaries 'The War on Democracy' by critically acclaimed journalist John Pilger also 'Anna, Seven Years on the Frontline' the story of the controversial Russian journalist who was assassinated, directed by Masha Nokikova. We will also be screening a short film from the Queer Women of Color Arts Project film festival called 'Sambal Belachan San Francisco'.

The three day festival features a Photo Exhibition with photographs submitted by the public which challenges and explores the very idea of 'Democratic Space' plus local favourite, Tikar Talk, an intense dialogue between the public and filmmakers, returns to KL.

The winners of the 'Dare2Document' filmmaking competition will also premiere their films at the event and will each be presented with the Justin Louis Award at the FFF2008 Awards Ceremony. Ultimately only the most exceptional film will take home 'Most Outstanding Human Rights Film' title. The films are:-
'Who Speaks for Me?' by Justin Johari Azaman, explores the question of Freedom of Expression with regards to 'sensitive issues' in Malaysia. In light of Namewee's Negarakuku and past years' issues surrounding religion, the documentary will feature a Hip Hop group, D&A attempting to explore the possibilities of addressing these 'sensitive issues' through music.

'Pilihanraya Umum Malaysia ke-12: Demokerasi atau rebutan kerusi' by Abror Rivai, looks at whether elections in Malaysian are free and fair. With elections for local councils no longer in practice and when in 2007 the Election Commission made an announcement that indelible ink would be used to prevent votes from being cast more than once, the people rejoiced, but four days before Election Day; however, it was ruled out on security reasons. There is no doubt that the March 2008 12th General Election suffered because of this controversial issue.

'Pecah Lobang' by Poh Si Teng, explores what it's like to be a Muslim transsexual sex worker in Malaysia? Shot in the Chow Kit red light district, the documentary revolves around Natasha, a Muslim Mak Nyah, who refuses to live life as a man. Unable to secure employment because of discrimination, Natasha turns to sex work and lives in constant fear of the police and religious authorities. Crossdressing is a crime under the Syariah court system for Muslims and the penalties are severe. But it wasn't always so. How did Malaysia become so heavy-handed on the transsexual community?

For the past five years, FFF has earned a strong reputation for catalysing and creating an open space for sharing socially engaging media and critical discussions among different sectors of the Malaysian public.

For an updated film schedule or for more event details please visit or visit us on facebook (FreedomFilmFest 2008).

The event is open to the public and is completely free. To make a reservation, please email [email protected] and type the city you wish to attend into the subject line e.g. 'reservation JB' for Johor Baru.

We dared you to document. Do you dare to watch?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

documented loo. watched also loo ;)