SeaShorts Film Festival moves to virual platform

James Kon

The annual SeaShorts Film Festival in Ipoh, Malaysia has moved to a virtual platform due to the social distancing order due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The diverse range of cinematic and cultural programming dedicated to Southeast Asia will be available for viewing on seashorts.org from August 25 to 30, according to a statement.

Some 544 entries were received this year, with 30 shortlisted will be in contention for the SeaShorts Award.

In addition to top jury honours, all films are in the running for prizes in direction, screenwriting, cinematography, editing, sound and acting.

Cambodian-French filmmaker Davy Chou, Indonesian cinematographer Anggi Frisca, Philippine producer Bianca Balbuena, Singapore sound engineer Rennie Gomes and Malaysian historian Dr Farish A Noor round off the pre-eminent names to be lending their judging expertise.

“When we coined the theme, ‘Reimagining Short Films, Reinventing Southeast Asia’, it was with the intention of pushing the boundaries of the medium and the limits of creative vision,” said the festival’s Founder and Director Tan Chui Mui. “These current circumstances have put it into a more real perspective; weaving new narrative issues and approaches as we navigate the new normal of restricted living.”

Meanwhile Co-Director Nicholas Chee said, “There was a lot of uncertainty about whether we should continue this year, with all the challenges of COVID-19.

“Taking the festival online allows us to continue providing a unique window on the contemporary landscape of this land we call home.

“Our team is putting together an incredible repertoire that aims to represent the rich and original storytelling you can find around these shores.”

Bringing the best of Southeast Asian short films to international audiences, SeaShorts aims to draw greater recognition to the narrative wealth of the region, encompassing Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Alongside the main official selection is a digital programme of industry sessions and art experiences that extend opportunities to engage with participating guests from the comfort of one’s home.

The finalists for the SeaShorts Award are: A Closed Mouth Catches No Flies by Destian Rendra Pratama, Indonesia; A Day Will Come by Tinshine Mont and Christine Flemming, Thailand; A Remembering Of Disremembering by Cris A Bringas, the Philippines; Aishah by Sayyid Hannan, Malaysia; BURA by Eden Junjung, Indonesia and By The Southern Sea by Vincent Kong Yentao, Malaysia. Also included are Elsa by Lim Jen Nee, Singapore; Evening Stroll by Candra Aditya, Indonesia; Gimbal: A Bet Between Tradition And Pride by Sidiq Ariyadi, Indonesia; Here, Here by Joanne Marian B Cesario, the Philippines and How He Met My Mother by Colin Huang Ruobin, Singapore.

Hush, Tonight The Dead Are Dreaming Loudly by Kong Pahurak, Thailand; Kampung Gajah by Yoeng Kuok Hong, Malaysia; Ladies’ Choice by Celina Peñaflorida, the Philippines; Last Time I Was An Actress by Grace Constance Song Jia Ern, Singapore and Mary, Mary, So Contrary by Nelson Yeo, Singapore are also included.

Peon by June Wong, Shaiful Yahya and Syaz Zainal, Malaysia; Prelude Of The Moving Coo by Sorayos Prapapan, Thailand; Ruwatan by Ernest Lesmana, Indonesia; Sh*tpost by Wimar Herdanto, Indonesia; Star by Carla Pulido Ocampo, the Philippines; Stay Awake, Be Ready by Pham Thien An, Vietnam and Sunny Side Of The Street by Andrew Kose , Indonesia are also included.

The Cloud Is Still There by Mickey Lai Loke Yee, Malaysia; The Graduation Of Edison by Pham Hoang Minh Thy, Vietnam; The Man Who Isn’t There And Other Stories Of Longing by Rom Trishtan Perez, the Philippines; The Quiet by Radheva Jegatheva, Malaysia; The Slums by Jan Andrei Cobey, the Philippines; This Is Our Land by Nonilon Abao, the Philippines; and Uncle Goose Waits For A Phone Call by Kew Lin Qin Zhi, Singapore are the rest.