In the midst of Freedom Film Festival’s nine-day run from Sept 11 to 20 Sept this year, there will be a Malaysian-themed day in conjunction with Malaysia Day.
Freedom Film Festival programme director Anna Har said that on Sept 16, they will be having a special programme themed ‘This Nation is Ours: A Malaysia for All’.
Activities planned for that day include screenings of Malaysian-themed films, discussion on media freedom as well as a ‘Malaysia Day Music Evening’ showcase featuring artistes like Zainal Abidin, Ito from the Blues Gang as well as acts from Sabah and Sarawak.
The day will be to celebrate Malaysia, she said, and the positive spirit of this nation.
Aside from the Malaysia Day celebrations, the annual film festival, which is organised by civil society organisation Komas (Pusat Komuniti Masyarakat), is, this year, themed ‘Unseen, Unheard, Untold’.
Har added that the theme aimed to provide a platform for new voices and highlight perspectives on issues that were not prevalent in public discourse.
“We often choose themes that are relevant to Malaysia or can elicit discussions about issues in our own context.
“It is about time we talked about issues that are not talked about often, like aging and healthcare, or the implications of the World Cup in Brazil.
“Even on known human rights issues, there are still unheard stories to be told especially from communities that do not get much exposure like those in Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe,” she said, after a press preview of the film festival in Petaling Jaya Wednesday.
Four short films were shown at the preview, three of them by Malaysian directors and one from the US.
‘Viral, Sial’ is a short film by first-time documentary director David Buri which follows the backlash from an episode of ‘Kupas’, a satirical show about Malaysian current events produced by radio station BFM.
The episode in question had radio presenter Aisyah Tajuddin discussing the implementation of hudud law in Kelantan while positing that there were perhaps other more pressing issues such as the fate of the hapless Kelantan flood victims.
The documentary examines the public outcry against Aisyah and why it became as viral as it did, along with asking whether Malaysians were ready to peacefully discuss their opinions in public spaces.
Buri said, as part of the ‘Kupas’ production, he felt guilty for what had happened to Aisyah and this was his way to explore the incident as well as issues related to it.
Another Malaysian-made documentary, ‘Memory As Resistance’ by Chan Seong Foong and Victor Chin recounts the struggle of one historic village against the expansion of capitalism through the memories of an 80-year-old village resident, Grandma Kong.