A good short film sometimes deserves a longer life but a bite-sized production also offers intimate character studies. Such is the case with the selection at the annual SeaShorts Film (SSF) Festival, an initiative organised by Next New Wave in 2015 to nurture young and emerging filmmakers in Malaysia.
Back for its third year, the short film festival will be held in Melaka from September 25 to 29, featuring renowned talents in Southeast Asia. Ten countries from the region – Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Brunei, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia – will be participating in the five-day affair, which will include a series of film screenings, forums, master classes and other film-related activities such as an animation trade workshop.
The SSF festival will be hosting a series of shorts, starting with the opening film, Ten Years Thailand – an omnibus film in which four directors imagine their country a decade from now. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Aditya Assarat, Wisit Sasanatieng and Chulayarnnon Siriphol contribute their own take on the current political situation in Thailand, which has been ruled by a military dictatorship that has curbed dissent, public expression and creativity since 2014.
A fitting end to the festival, 15Malaysia – a collection of short films that attracted massive popularity during its Internet release in 2009 – heralds a decade of viral political filmmaking that culminated with the fall of the Barisan Nasional government in 2018. Armed with the tagline “Voices of New Malaysia”, the films tackle subject matters such as racism, paedophilia and corruption.
Film screenings aside, two competitions prizes for aspiring filmmakers are up for grabs namely the SeaShorts Award for Southeast Asian short films and the Next New Wave Award for the best Malaysian short film. The best three entries from the latter will earn a place at the Finas Film Incubator Programme.
Head judges for the competitions include Filipino filmmaker and Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner Lav Diaz (for the SeaShorts Awards) and Indonesian director Garin Nugroho (for the Next New Wave Award), best known for his work Opera Jawa.
For the full festival line-up and registration details, see here.