Malaysia’s film industry is moving in the right direction

Diana Danielle with husband, actor Farid Kamil, on the red carpet. - SHAARI CHE MAT/The Star

This year’s Malaysia Film Festival (FFM), its 30th edition, honours the most prestigious films while having a varied list of nominees in each category.

The champion of the event held at Plenary Hall, PutraJaya International Convention Centre, on Saturday was the film Crossroads: One Two Jaga which won a total of six awards including in three main categories.

It received accolades in Best Film, Best Director (Nam Ron), Best Actor (Rosdeen Suboh), Best Screenplay (Amri Rohaiyat, Fared Ayam and Nam Ron), Best Original Story (Pitt Haniff, Muhammad Syafiq and Nam Ron) and Best Poster (Jazzy Pictures).

Not too long ago, it would’ve been hard to fathom such a film would even be shown in local cinemas what more getting an award at a national-level film festival.

The release of One Two Jaga in September last year was significant because for the first time, a Malaysian movie explored two very sensitive subjects: Corruption in the police department and the state of immigrants in this country.

During an interview after his multiple wins, director-actor Nam Rom reasoned why One Two Jaga was awarded: “The strength of One Two Jaga is its content, it is fresh, it has a powerful story and it talks about issues that concern everyday people in this country.”

While it’s an honour to get the recognition, it’s always been Nam Ron’s aim to produce films that has a voice and talks about issues in our society.

“This will motivate and inspire me to continue to make films that explore topics like this because I have problems with what’s happening around me in our society.

“But I don’t seek out awards when I do a film. I just want to tell a relatable story. If I was looking to get awards, I wouldn’t have started my career in the independent scene and make projects that get banned all the time,” said Nam Ron, who has acted in films like Bunohan, Paloh and Gubra.

Nam Ron receives his award from fellow director U-Wei Saari.

In previous interviews, One Two Jaga producer, Bront Palarae, revealed that the script was sent to the Royal Malaysia Police for approval before they began shooting. The process took quite a while.

Nam Ron elaborated: “Not many know but we fought for One Two Jaga to be screened in cinema long before the new government came into office. We started working on the film in 2014 and we only shot it in 2017. It was released in 2018, but we got the release date before the new government came.

“It was Bront who fought every step of the way, even though it was rejected again and again, because he believed in the work. Hopefully, with the current government, it would be easier to showcase films like One Two Jaga in cinemas.”

Datuk Siti Nurhaliza performing at the award ceremony. - SHAARI CHE MAT/The Star
Datuk Siti Nurhaliza performing at the award ceremony.

Meaningful works

For the past two editions of FFM, the Best Film category has been awarded to critically acclaimed films instead of more popular flicks.

Previous winners included Adiwiraku and Jagat, two films that brought up societal issues. This is in correlation with the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia’s (Finas) objective to elevate the local film industry to celebrate not only quality films, but also meaningful works to the masses.

Finas is one of the main organisers of FFM, along with Ministry of Communications And Multimedia and 11 film bodies.

The night was attended by artistes in the film community, with Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo as the guest of honour.

An example of the film industry becoming more open was the release of Dukun in April last year, a film that was shot in 2006 which touched on a taboo subject.

Directed by Dain Said, it is loosely based on the court case of Mona Fandey who was found guilty for the murder of politician Datuk Mazlan Idris in 1993, and was executed in 2001.

At FFM30, it won four awards: Best Costume (Andy Sulaiman), Best Visual Effects (PixelPost), Best Editing (Raja Affandi Raja Jamaludin) and Best Actress (Datin Seri Umie Aida).

Umie Aida nabs the Best Actress award at the FFM30. Photo: Bernama

Umie, who has won in the same category in 2003 for Embun, is grateful to have had a career in playing women of strength. In her acceptance speech, the actress hoped that the local film industry will continue to showcase the role of women as one that is deserving of love and respect.

“I am grateful to have had the chance to play this character,” she said in an interview after the awards show. “I have always been choosy about the characters I play. I feel I have been lucky in my career as I have gotten a lot of good roles.

“I don’t mind if I don’t make movies every year. Dukun was made in 2006, and was only released last year. My job is to give my best to a role. I feel an artist mustn’t be too concerned about the salary. For me, my first concern is in portraying a character well.”

Meanwhile, Guang – a touching drama revolving around an autistic young man with a talent for creating beautiful music, but has problems holding down a job – received four awards during the night.

They are Best Sound (Chan Hsien Yu), Best New Actor (Kyo Chen), Best Cinematographer (Yeong Tuck Wei) and Best New Director (Quek Shio Chuan).

Besides these quality features released last year, 2018 also marked the best of times at the Malaysian box office.

Naturally, the highest grossing local film Munafik 2 was named Box Office Film, a special category to award films with the highest box office earnings. The horror flick from Syamsul Yusof earned an impressive RM37.8mil in Malaysia.

Producer Datuk Yusof Haslam said it best when accepting the award: “This is not only a victory for me, but for the industry (as well). This proves Malaysians do want to watch Malaysian films.

“So don’t let failure break your spirit. We have to keep on fighting.”

Diana Danielle with husband, actor Farid Kamil, on the red carpet. - SHAARI CHE MAT/The Star
Diana Danielle with husband, actor Farid Kamil, on the red carpet.

Winners and nominees at FFM30 (winners in bold)

Best Film:

  • One Two Jaga
  • Dukun
  • Guang
  • Vedigundu Pasangge
  • Paskal The Movie

Best Director

  • Nam Ron (One Two Jaga)
  • Dain Said (Dukun)
  • Syamsul Yusof (Munafik 2)
  • Vimala Perumal (Vedigundu Pasangge)
  • Adrian Teh (Paskal The Movie)

Best Actor

  • Rosdeen Suboh (One Two Jaga)
  • Remy Ishak (Pulang)
  • Syamsul Yusof (Makrifat Cinta)
  • Shaheizy Sam (Pinjamkan Hatiku)
  • Chan Kwang Yen (Rise Of The Legend: Lee Chong Wei)

Best Actress

  • Datin Seri Umie Aida (Dukun)
  • Maya Karin (Munafik 2)
  • Datin Diana Danielle (Gol & Gincu Vol. 2)
  • Sangeeta Krishnasamy (Rise Ini Kalilah)
  • Emily Lim (Two Sisters)

Best Supporting Actor

  • Hasnul Rahmat (Polis Evo 2)
  • Amerul Affendi (One Two Jaga)
  • Ernest Chong (Guang)
  • Datuk Adi Putra (Makrifat Cinta)
  • Rab Khalid (Hantu Kak Limah)

Actor Kyo Chen of Guang receives the Best New Actor award.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Nabila Huda (Makrifat Cinta)
  • Yeo Yann Yann (Rise Of The Legend: Lee Chong Wei)
  • Sharifah Amani (Gol & Gincu Vol. 2)
  • Moon Yoong (Think Big Big)
  • Normah Damanhuri (Pinjamkan Hatiku)

Best New Actor

  • Kyo Chen (Guang)
  • Fattah Amin (KL Special Force)
  • Bala Ganapathi William (Neeyum Naanum)
  • Hafeez Mikhail (Busker)
  • TJ Isa (Hantu Kak Limah)

Best New Actress

  • Jaya Ganason (The Farm: En Veettu Thottathil)
  • Jasmine Suraya Chin (Paskal The Movie)
  • Ayda Jebat (Pinjamkan Hatiku)
  • Puteri Aishah (Pulang)
  • Daiyan Trisha (Busker)

Best New Director

  • Quek Shio Chuan (Guang)
  • Kye Fariz (Busker)
  • Umi Salwana Omar (Gol & Gincu Vol. 2)
  • Nick Wong (Papa, Come Home)
  • Joel Soh & Andre Chiew (Polis Evo 2)

Actor-producer Denes Kumar accepting the Special Jury Prize for Vedigundu Passange.

Best Child Actor

  • Eng Wei Jie (Rise Of The Legend: Lee Chong Wei)
  • Jayden Sow (Papa, Come Home)
  • Sarah Tan (The Kid From The Big Apple 2: Before We Forget)
  • Izuan Fitri (One Two Jaga)
  • Puteri Balqis (Makrifat Cinta)

Best Original Story

  • One Two Jaga
  • Pulang
  • Guang
  • Vedigundu Pasangge
  • Gol & Gincu Vol. 2

Best Screenplay

  • One Two Jaga
  • Dukun
  • Guang
  • Gol & Gincu Vol. 2
  • Vedigundu Pasangge

Jake Eng started playing badminton when he was six years old, despite his parents' objections. Photo: GSC Movies
Eng Wei Jie won Best Child actor for his role in Lee Chong Wei.

Best Cinematography

  • Guang
  • Dukun
  • Pulang
  • One Two Jaga
  • Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba

Best Poster

  • One Two Jaga
  • Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba
  • Hantu Kak Limah
  • Two Sisters
  • Paskal The Movie

Best Costume

  • Dukun
  • Gol & Gincu Vol. 2
  • Pulang
  • Vedigundu Pasangge
  • Rise Of The Legend: Lee Chong Wei


Best Visual Effects

  • Dukun
  • Think Big Big
  • Vedigundu Pasangge
  • Munafik 2

Best Sound

  • Pulang
  • Paskal The Movie
  • Dukun
  • Papa
  • Come Home

Best Editing

  • Dukun
  • Guang
  • One Two Jaga
  • Pulang
  • Gol & Gincu Vol. 2

Lyricist Habsah Hassan, who has also written the script for FFM-winning film Hati Bukan Kristal, receives Behind The Scene Award at FFM30.

Best Art Direction

  • Guang
  • Dukun
  • Mrs K
  • Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba
  • Pulang

Best Original Score:

  • Two Sisters
  • The Farm: En Veetu Thottathil
  • Pulang
  • Think Big Big
  • Paskal The Movie

Best Theme Song:

  • Atma Jiwa by Monoloque (Busker)
  • Layarlah Kembali by Aubrey Suwito (Pulang)
  • Merana Jiwa by Zaidi Abdul Rahman (Dukun)
  • Pinjamkan Hatiku by Nurzaidi Abdul Rahman (Pinjamkan Hatiku)
  • Cahaya Juara by Teng Bee (Rise Of The Legend: Lee Chong Wei)

Box Office Film: Munafik 2

Special Jury Prize 1: Paskal The Movie

Special Jury Prize 2: Vedigundu Pasangge

Special Jury Prize 3: Busker

Behind The Scene Award: Habsah Hassan

Lifetime Achievement Award: AR Badul

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