Volunteering at #SeaShorts Film Festival

#Seashorts Film Festival is the first ever short film festival ever held in Malaysia! #SeaShorts aims to celebrate short films throughout South East Asia and there were more than 100 screenings of short films during the festival itself.
The festival was held on the 11th to 14th May on Jalan Panggong, Kuala Lumpur, at exactly 3 locations which are: FINDARS gallery, Lostgens’ Contemporary Art Space, and Checkmate Creative. All within a 7 minutes’ walk from the Pasar Seni LRT Station.

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This is the festival booklet and banner of the event.

#SeaShorts isn’t you typical film festival. It not only airs film for film enthusiasts to enjoy, but also features forums and special Q&A sessions with notable individuals from the film industry, for example (just to name a few) Amir Muhammad, whose films and documentaries have been shown in many international film festivals including Sundance and Berlin, Fransiska Prihadi, the programme director of MINIKINO, an independent organisation based in Bali that run all year round screenings & discussions, and also Wahyuni A. Hadi, a film producer and curator from Singapore.
Last weekend, I participated in #Seashorts as a venue volunteer. I was placed under the registration section and honestly worked my butt off for half of the festival, missing almost 2 days worth of the festival. However, hard work paid off, and I managed to watch 2 segments of the whole festival.
This is me wearing the Next New Wave shirt looking and my volunteer badge with much pride 🙂

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This is Han Loong, the festival manager giving the audience an introduction about a special programme; Three Girls – 3 short films featuring the lives of 3 distinct females; a schoolgirl being sexualy abused by her teacher (Mian Bao Nv Hai) , a woman (Kak Laila) and her story about her fight against I.S.A, and a story about the hardships faced by a Filipino maid working in Taiwan (Nia’s Door).
Out of the 3 films, I love Mian Bao Nv Hai the best. I loved how the cinematography of the film and the subliminal meaning behind it. Plus, it highlighted a very serious issues – child sexual abuse, which isn’t what we Malaysians talk about on a regular basis.
After the airing of the short films, we then had a Q&A session with the director of Mian Bao Nv Hai, Charlotte Lim Lay Kuen, who told the audience about the difficulties casting a young girl playing such a controversial role, and the purpose of her making a short film circling the theme of child sexual abuse.

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There was also a Q&A with the colourist from the short film Nia’s Door talking about the production of the film and the importance of having a colourist in a film project.
On the last day of the festival, I also managed to have peak from my working station and listened to the discussion segment with the Next New Wave (NNW) Competition jury. By the way, the NNW Competition is a competition featuring 10 Malaysian short films that were produced within the years 2015 – 2016.

These are juries present in the discussion were Shanjhey Kumar Perumal, the director of ‘Jagat’ (2015), Sharifah Amani, best known for her role as Orked in the 2005 film of Sepet, and Aditya Assarat, a Thai independent film director, screenwriter, producer and cinematographer. Umapagan Ampikaipakan (Uma) a DJ from B.FM, was the moderator for the segment.
They discussed about the importance of a good script/ storyboard in order to engage and pull the audience in while watching a film. “A good film will jump at you and call for your attention.” said Sharifah during the discussion. They also talked about the difference between short films and feature films, saying how short films are more personal and experimental compared to feature films.
Overall, it was honestly a very fun experience getting involved in the #SeaShorts Film Festival as a volunteer. Although, I was not able to attend most short film screenings, I did enjoy myself during the festival. Sheryl Chong, the festival manager was kind enough to organise a re-screening for volunteers like me who didn’t get to experience much of the screening during the event in the near future. So, I am definitely looking forward to that and finally be able to watch some great films by local and international talents 🙂