KUALA LUMPUR – July 19, 2016: Independent film director Dr Anwardi Datuk Jamil has created a stir in remarking that the standards and requirements of Film Festival Malaysia (FFM) were not consistent and ever changing.
In his recent Facebook posting, Anwardi expressed his disappointment over the FFM in the disqualification of his “Kerja Kahwin” film to vie in the coming 28th local gala.
The forthcoming FFM, which is organised by the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas), is to be held in September.
Anwardi wrote that his latest directorial effort the “Kerja Kahwin” or “A Very Malay Wedding” has been chosen to represent Malaysia to international festival One Country One Film in France, while being rejected by the local-based festival.
“Kerja Kahwin is to be premiered in the city of Issoire, France coming July 26 and is nominated in the French gala, which will be held from July 29 to 31.
“It is such an honour to our ‘little’ movie that was not even qualified to compete with other local films.
“However, I am still very much saddened that the organiser of FFM had rejected ‘Kerja Kahwin’ and does not recognise it as a movie, just because it has not been screened in any mainstream cinema,” he wrote.
Anwardi, when contacted said, he was simply putting forward to Finas that it is confounding for his film to be accepted in France, but not in his own country.
He said, the submission of “Kerja Kahwin” was officially rejected as it has only been screened in outdoor cinemas and universities.
“To us, that doesn’t mean it’s a lesser movie. It is so expensive for people to watch a movie at these cineplexes, so our intention was to bring cinema back to the masses.
“It (Finas) doesn’t say specifically a cinema or cineplex, and that people have to buy tickets. What is the definition of cinema, anyway?” he added.
He said such a ruling imposed by the organiser is unfair for small filmmakers as they are as well-bounded by the high amount of charges incurred for screening purposes.
“It means that small filmmakers like us must screen our films in cinema halls that would charge us RM1,500 per screening, under current Virtual Print Fee rules.
“Then, we have to pay 20 per cent entertainment tax, 5 per cent for distribution fee, and another 50 per cent to the cinema owners.
“Are they supporting the cinema owners or the filmmakers in the country?” he asked.
Anwardi reiterated that the standards set for the FFM are inconsistent, pointing out that a precedent had been set earlier on when the movie, “Johnny Bikin Filem”, was allowed to compete in a previous festival.
“The movie was never screened in any cinema chain, and was never censored before participating in the festival.
“So, the FFM standards are inconsistent. FFM should get their priorities right. They should celebrate films and not the cinema chains.
“Last few outings they faced criticisms due to the language barriers, for not allowing ‘The Journey’ to compete for best film plaudits.
“I think they need to sit down and understand what films are. Films are films. Malaysian films are Malaysian films,” he added.
Anwardi remarked that it is the content that should be judged, not the means of distributing and screening the content.
“Kerja Kahwin”, starred by newcomer Janna Nick and Datuk Rosnani Jamil was shot in May, last year and has been specially screened in Felda settlements and universities around the country beginning December.
The film precisely showcases Malay traditional wedding trends, of which according to Anwardi, were aimed at depicting the true culture of the Malays.
It will be competing with other films nominated in the One Country One Film Festival, facing off several other countries, including Iran, Serbia, and Canada.
The Mole, up to this point is still waiting for response from Finas’ corporate communications department for clarifications.