Nik Amir Mustapha wins Best Director and Best Film for 'KIL', while 'Tanda Putera' receives a consolation prize for showcasing patriotic values.
There are very few similarities between Ellie Suriaty’s Penanggal and Nik Amir Mustapha’s KIL. One’s a horror film with plenty of gory special effects and the other is a dramatic low-budget fare. But both feature individuals trapped in situations they don’t want to be in. Penanggal has Ummi Nazeera as a kampung girl looking to escape a deadly curse, while KIL’s Redza Minhat is someone who is desperately trying to run away from an assassination attempt.
At the 26th edition of Malaysia Film Festival (FFM) – the country’s award event that honours outstanding achievements in the local film industry – the competition was really between these two films. It had looked like it was going to be Penanggal’s night when the film edged out KIL for Best New Director at FFM’s launch night held two nights before the main event at Subang Jaya, Selangor.
On that same night, Penanggal also won Best Art Direction.
Thus, it would've been easy to assume director Ellie was feeling confident going into the FFM gala night last weekend, at Kompleks Penyiaran Tuanku Muhammad in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan. After all, Penanggal had the most nominations – 15, including the top categories like Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Actor.
As the night progressed, Penanggal’s Zul Ariffin had picked up the award for Best New Actor and Raja Mukhriz received the Best Cinematography trophy for the same film. Then, Penanggal’s winning streak stopped at those four awards.
KIL swooped in to win five awards – Best New Actress for Cristina Suzanne, Best Screenplay and Best Poster Design. Nik Amir also scored the coveted prize for Best Director and ultimately, Best Film.
Producer Tengku Iesta Tengku Alaudin accepted the awards on behalf of Nik Amir (who was attending the Tokyo International Film Festival 2014, in Japan for his upcoming film Terbaik Dari Langit). Iesta dedicated the wins to the late Jeremy Little, the KIL executive producer passed away in April.
The final outcome of the night was KIL and Tanda Putera tied for the most number of awards.
Director Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba’s patriotic piece stole the spotlight for winning Best Special Effects, Best Costume Design and Best Original Score. However, the film was shut out of the Best Film category as it wasn't nominated. Perhaps as an attempt to make up for the omission, Tanda Putera was presented with the Special Jury Prize for achievements in showcasing patriotic values in a film. The Special Jury Prize was also presented to Paper Moon for achievements in focusing on cultural values and Kolumpo for highlighting social issues.
Tanda Putera scored its fifth award in the Best Actor category. Winner Rusdi Ramli shared that he was really surprised by the result.
“I owe this to Shuhaimi Baba who believed in me,” said Rusdi who played former Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak in the film.
Istanbul Aku Datang’s star Lisa Surihani took home the Best Actress award. In her acceptance speech, Lisa offered her condolences to the family of fellow nominee Kalpana Sundraju. Kalpana who was nominated for the film Dhusrajanam died in a tragic accident in August, just weeks after her FFM nomination was announced.
KL Gangster 2 won Best Editing and director Syamsul Yusof mentioned in his acceptance speech that it was his third time receiving the award. He has previously won the same award for Evolusi KL Drift 2 in 2010 and KL Gangster in 2011.
If anything, it proves that the FFM jury can’t get enough of Syamsul’s penchant to show scenes of a man getting thrown into a glass panel over and over again (ahem!). KL Gangster 2 also scored another win with Datuk Rosyam Nor receiving the Best Supporting Actor.
The biggest letdown of the night belonged to Khabir Bhatia’s Sembunyi Amukan Azazil – it received 12 nominations, but had only one win, through Datin Paduka Umie Aida’s Best Supporting Actress award.
Besides giving out awards, the star-studded event had its fair share of entertaining performances. Adira covered Yuna’s Lautan (from Lagenda Budak Setan 3 soundtrack), and Fauziah Ahmad Daud gave an emotional poetry recital as a tribute to the talents recently lost including Datuk Sharifah Aini, Datuk Aziz Sattar and Datuk Jamil Sulong.
This being an event broadcast live on Astro Ria (Astro Ch 104), of course, it wasn't without some awkward moments. The exchange between Tony Eusoff and Nabila Huda was cringeworthy because Tony’s punchline failed to garner any response from the audience.
And prior to presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Datuk Rahim Razali and Datuk Rosnani Jamil, comedian AR Badul asked fellow presenter Intan Ladyana: “Are you sure these recipients are still around? Sometimes, people only get awards when they are dead.”
Fortunately, 75-year-old Datuk Rahim Razali lent the moment some prestige when he delivered a poignant speech, noting that he hasn't written a screenplay for a long time. His last credit as a screenwriter was Iman Alone in 1998.
“It’s not because I've been sulking or broke. But I haven’t had inspiration. I’m going to take this award as a cue to start writing again. Thank you for still remembering me,” he said.
With that said, we can only hope other winners will also do their awards justice and continue to be prolific in the future.
> For the full list of winners, check out ffm.my.