The 3rd SeaShorts Film Festival Unveils the 2019 Official Selection
26 entries from across Southeast Asia compete for SeaShorts Award and Next New Wave Award
The 2019 edition of SeaShorts, a film festival that aims to celebrate Southeast Asian cinema, is coming to Malacca, Malaysia from the 25 to 29th of September this year. Now, slightly less than two months’ away from its premiere, the long-awaited list of films that have been officially selected to vie for the SeaShorts Award and Next New Wave Award is out!
Comprising two categories, the annual competition counts a veritable who’s who of industry players among the jury panel. Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner Lav Diaz (Philippines) leads judging duties for the regional SeaShorts Award alongside actor-director Bront Palarae (Malaysia) and Asian Film Award-winning editor Lee Chatametikool (Thailand). Respected helmer Garin Nugroho (Indonesia), artist Sherman Ong (Malaysia), and rising filmmaker Shireen Seno (Philippines) meanwhile decide the Next New Wave Award, which goes to the best Malaysian submission.
Encompassing an eclectic blend of genres and styles, the shortlist is a testament to the many creative voices that call this land home, representing works from Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The Festival also continues to provide a platform for emerging talent behind the camera, with five world premieres and the rest shown for the first time in the country.
Out of competition, audiences can look forward to a bumper programme of activities to sate every movie appetite. On top of daily screenings, highlights include an animation workshop by Philippine auteur Rox Lee as well as performances, talks, forums, and an exhibition by participating guests.
Anthologies Ten Years Thailand and 15Malaysia will feature as the opening and closing films respectively.
Of the 20 films vying for the regional SeaShorts award, two of the participating shorts hail from our tiny island of Singapore: Kingdom, by Tan Wei Keong, and Pencil, by Gina Tan — both of which are premiering in Malaysia for the first time. The full list of films is below.
Festival founder and director Tan Chui Mui said, “SeaShorts celebrates the breadth of possibilities that cinema has to offer, and this is evident in the 26 films vying for honours. The Official Selection presents titles exploring new narratives, issues, and practices pertinent to Southeast Asia, much of which may never be seen outside the context of events like ours. They reflect the enduring social relevance of filmmaking, and why it is important for all of us to be a part of it.”
The event is made possible with the support of National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas), The Japan Foundation Asia Center, Purin Pictures, Panasonic, Aputure Imaging Industries, Deity Microphones, Zoom Corporation, Epson, CK Music, and Sinema Media. More than RM10,000 has been collected through a fundraising campaign to help filmmakers attend the Festival.
Official Selection for the 2019 SeaShorts Award:
- A Million Years, Danech San, Cambodia, Malaysian premiere
Relaxing at a waterfront restaurant, two people share a seemingly ordinary conversation that soon turns to
- Ballad of Blood and Two White Buckets, Yosep Anggi Noen, Indonesia, Malaysian premiere
A couple selling congealed blood find their livelihood in peril endangered by shifting religious beliefs.
- Blessed Land, Phạm Ngọc Lân, Vietnam, Malaysian premiere
Past and present converge in the search for a grave.
- Cold Fish, Thanh Đoàn, Vietnam, World premiere
A girl and two men harbour veiled obsessions that are only bared in their private spaces.
- Ethereal Creature, Tinnashine Mongkolmont, Thailand, Malaysian premiere
Two friends attempt to return a forbidden fruit that they stole from a mythical tree fairy.
- Kingdom, Tan Wei Keong, Singapore, Malaysian premiere
The quiet, atmospheric terrain of a forest is intruded by a lost man.
- Levitating Exhibition, Ukrit Sa-nguanhai, Thailand, World premiere
Stories unfold as housekeepers of a fancy love motel go about their duties in maintaining the establishment’s timeless beauty.
- Mother, Daughter, Dreams, Linh Duong, Vietnam, Malaysian premiere
A search for a vanished man lands his daughter and wife in unfinished dreams.
- Nasi Mah Bali K Rumah, Hasanul Isyraf Idris, Malaysia
The director’s hyperpersonal experiences come alive in visual detail.
- New Land Broken Road, Kavich Neang, Cambodia
Three young hip-hop dancers make a night pitstop on a deserted road in Phnom Penh.
- Pencil, Gina Tan, Singapore, Malaysian premiere
Set against the backdrop of the 90s, two best friends find their bond tested.
- Please Stop Talking, Josef Gacutan, Philippines, Malaysian premiere
A man tries to repair his relationship with his son, but a mysterious black figure gets in the way.
- Rest in Peace, M. Reza Fahriyansyah, Indonesia, Malaysian premiere
A couple grieving over the sudden death of their son encounter difficulties in preparing for his funeral.
- Qinglang de Tiankong, Thamsatid Charoenrittichai, Thailand, Malaysian premiere
A young woman is pulled in two directions by her mother and the reappearance of an absentee father.
- The Bird That’s Not Allowed to Chirp, Andri Firmansyah, Indonesia, World premiere
A last remaining home slated for demolition evokes memories of a wife lost.
- The Imminent Immanent, Carlo Francisco Manatad, Philippines, Malaysian premiere
The inhabitants of a rural town go about their day, oblivious to the forces of nature to come.
- The Life We Live, Jeldin Loh, Malaysia, World premiere
A woman leads a simple existence in a sinking harbour city.
- The Sea Recalls, Aekaphong Saransate, Thailand, Malaysian premiere
The director returns to the site of his uncle’s murder to investigate the man’s past and come to terms with his absence.
- To Work, Jeremy Emang Jecky, Malaysia, World premiere
Mr. Elisah dreams of a better life beyond his rural upbringing, but past troubles still haunt him.
- Vinegar Baths, Amanda Nell Eu, Malaysia
A nurse at a maternity ward can finally eat when she roams the hospital corridors at night.
Official Selection for the 2019 Next New Wave Award:
- Forget Me Not, Anwar Johari Ho
The transnational romance between a Malaysian and a Chinese mainlander, told in three parts.
- Football, Chan Jie Min
Fond of playing football with friends, a young girl finds her hobby interrupted by Chinese New Year.
- Langit Budak Biru, Lim Kean Hian
Two teenage boys grapple with bullying at their school.
- Light of Memories, Sim Seow Khee
A mother and son converse over memorial preparations.
- The Darkest Night, Toh Tze Wei
Learning Chinese in Malaysia has not always come easy.
- Simon and Ah Bou, Vikster Chew Chin Wai
Two friends reminisce about their past after a devastating incident.
- Nasi Mah Bali K Rumah, Hasanul Isyraf Idris
- The Life We Live, Jeldin Loh
- To Work, Jeremy Emang Jecky
- Vinegar Baths, Amanda Nell Eu
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).
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.