The Third SeaShorts Film Festival Announces Its Award Winners

1 October 2019


The Third SeaShorts Film Festival Announces Its Award Winners

The 2019 SeaShorts Film Festival wrapped on Sunday, 29th October, with a ceremony at Panggung Bangsawan Melaka, handing out eight awards totalling RM40,000 in prizes.

Ballad of Blood and Two White Buckets picked up the coveted best of the fest SeaShorts Award. In this visceral drama by Indonesian director Yosep Anggi Noen, shifts in religious beliefs imperil the livelihood of a couple who eke out a marginal existence selling a foodstuff that some see as nutritious and others as haram.

Amanda Nell Eu came out tops among her Malaysian peers with Vinegar Baths collecting the Next New Wave Award. Her idiosyncratic take on a vampire folklore places the feared fiend in the modern day as a harried nurse manning a maternity ward. 

Choosing the winners out of a 26-strong shortlist was no easy feat, and on this occasion the decision laid on the shoulders of the who’s who of industry players. Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner Lav Diaz (Philippines) headed the SeaShorts Award jury alongside actor Fatimah Abu Bakar (Malaysia) and curator Gertjan Zuilhof (Netherlands). His Indonesian counterpart Garin Nugroho meanwhile led judging duties for the Next New Wave Award with director Shireen Seno (Philippines) and artist Sherman Ong (Malaysia).

Commenting on the nominees, Garin said, “In the ten films, all with such different themes and styles, we saw an impressive capacity to tell stories in a short time. The quality was quite even across the board, but there were certain films that really had a rare courage to tackle sensitive issues.”

The evening capped off a successful five-day run, as the historical city of Melaka was transformed into a hotbed for cinema enthusiasts celebrating storytelling from Southeast Asia and beyond. The third edition of the annual festival comprised more than a hundred short films spread over ten countries across the region. Premieres both internationally and locally lined the programme, which also included talks, forums, masterclasses, workshops, and an exhibition by participating guests. 

Tan Chui Mui, Festival founder and director, said, “The competition section is an impactful demonstration of the vibrancy and diversity of Southeast Asian filmmaking. I applaud each director for their boldly distinctive work and hope that SeaShorts can help focus even more attention from our audiences to look inwards rather than towards foreign productions for their movie viewing options.”

The event was 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 was collected through a fundraising campaign on pitchIN to help filmmakers attend the Festival.

And the winners are:


– SeaShorts Award for Best Film | Ballad of Blood and Two White Buckets by Yosep Anggi Noen (Indonesia)

Synopsis: A couple selling congealed blood find their livelihood endangered by shifting religious beliefs.

Jury remarks: Mature and well-balanced, Ballad of Blood and Two White Buckets stands out as a powerful film on the bloody currents of society.

SeaShorts Award for Best Cinematography | Vinegar Baths by Amanda Nell Eu (Malaysia)

Synopsis: A tired and overworked nurse at the maternity ward finds joy when she is alone roaming the hospital corridors at night. It’s the time when she can finally eat.

Jury remarks: Vinegar Baths is utterly defiant; a wholly original and unafraid work that creates its own vivid universe.

SeaShorts Award for Best Sound | Blessed Land by Phạm Ngọc Lân (Vietnam)

Synopsis: Past and present converge in the search for a grave.

Jury remarks: Blessed Land puts poetry in motion, beautiful and mysterious as it builds its space with a delicate attention to sound and picture.


Next New Wave Award for Best Film | Vinegar Baths by Amanda Nell Eu

Synopsis: A tired and overworked nurse at the maternity ward finds joy when she is alone roaming the hospital corridors at night. It’s the time when she can finally eat. 

Jury remarks: An enigmatic film that offers a complex and delightful universe of satire, myth, and the complexities of human nature; Vinegar Baths boldly puts forth a statement about the female form as an agent for social commentary.

Next New Wave Award for Best Cinematography | Langit Budak Biru by Lim Kean Hian

Synopsis: Two teenage boys grapple with bullying at their school.

Jury remarks: In its portrayal of two male students at an Islamic boarding school, Langit Budak Biru offers a multi-layered interpretation of a rare and courageous theme. Its development of the space as a character is commendable, efficient, and effective.

Next New Wave Award for Best Sound | Forget Me Not by Anwar Johari Ho

Synopsis: A transnational romance between a Malaysian and a Chinese mainlander, told in three parts.

Jury remarks: Forget Me Not’s nuanced treatment of sound allows its silence and whispers to speak volumes, with its use of sound and space offering an insight into the passage of time across geography.

Next New Wave Award for Most Promising Filmmaker | To Work by Jeremy Emang Jecky

Synopsis: Mr. Elisah dreams of a better life beyond his rural upbringing, but past troubles still haunt him.

Jury remarks: In dauntlessly combining supernatural and science, micro and macro, physical and metaphysical, To Work exhibits strong courage and potential.

Next New Wave Award for Most Promising Filmmaker | The Life We Live by Loh Din-Yung

Synopsis: A woman leads a simple existence in a sinking harbour city.

Jury remarks: In a poetic expression, The Life We Live poignantly presents the personal life, social alienation, and tragedy of living in an industrial city.

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). More information can be found here.

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. 

More information can be found here. Alternatively, check out Next New Wave’s Facebook page here.