Filmmaker Amanda Nell Eu becomes 1st Malaysian female movie director to be invited to Cannes Film Festival

Amanda Nell Eu (left) becomes 1st Malaysian female movie director to be invited to Cannes Film Festival for her film 'Tiger Stripes'. Photos: Handout

Malay-language horror film Tiger Stripes will be showcased at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, having been selected for the Cannes International Critics’ Week.

Directed by Amanda Nell Eu under her production company Ghost Grrrl Pictures, Tiger Stripes is set to be shown sometime from May 17 to 25, which is when the prestigious film festival gets underway in France.

The film is also in competition for the Camera d’Or prize, which is an award for the best first feature film presented in one of the Cannes' selections (Official Selection, Directors' Fortnight or International Critics' Week).

"It means the world to me!" Eu told The Star about her film going to Cannes Film Festival.

"I’m so honoured for our film to be launched in Semaine de la Critique. It’s really a dream come true after many years of making the film," the 37-year-old added.

Eu started working on Tiger Stripes in 2018 but couldn't continue for two years due to the pandemic. She finally managed to shoot the film last year.

According to a press statement from the production company: “The news marks the first time since 2010 that a Malaysian film has been featured in Cannes.

“There have only been three other Malaysian films that were chosen for Cannes – making this selection a significant achievement for the country's growing film industry.”

In 1995, U-Wei Saari’s Kaki Bakar became the first Malaysian film to get a place at the festival, followed by Karaoke directed by Chris Chong Chan Fui in 2009 and Woo Ming Jin’s The Tiger Factory in 2010.

Kaki Bakar was screened in the Un Certain Regard category while the other two films premiered in Directors’ Fortnight.

Back in 2014, Indrani Kopal’s short film The Game Changer was shown at the Cannes Short Film Corner.

The Cannes Critics’ Week is described as a parallel section of the prestigious 2023 Cannes Film Festival.

This section is also said to have “discovered” Mexican directors Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Guillermo Del Toro as well as Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai.

Malaysian filmmaker Eu has directed two short films – Lagi Senang Jaga Sekandang Lembu and Vinegar Baths – before venturing to making a feature length film with Tiger Stripes.

As for what she hopes for the international audience to take away from the film, Eu said: "I hope that the audience will get see bit of Malaysia, our culture and our bright colours! It’s a story that is very close to my heart and I hope that it empowers young girls and boys everywhere."

Tiger Stripes centres around a 12-year-old girl who can’t make sense of what is happening with her body as puberty hits.

The film stars newcomers Zafreen Zairizal, Deena Ezral and Piqa, as well as established actors Shaheizy Sam and Fatimah Abu Bakar.

Tiger Stripes will be shown at cinemas in Malaysia in the near future.

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