LOVE stories have been told and re-told so many times and have taken so many forms it would seem unlikely that there are any new ways to approach the subject.
Yet director Tan Seng Kiat’s love-inspired short film, 32°C Fall In Love, beat out 71 other submissions in the BMW Shorties 2013 short film competition to take home the grand prize as well as a production grant worth RM75,000.
Billed as a romantic comedy, the 14-minute short film – which also nabbed Best Director, Best Editing and Best Screenplay – begins with a crook clad in a mask and raincoat robbing a store.
The storekeeper and security guard, portrayed by Emily Chen and Koe Shern respectively, are captured and bound together but as they plot their escape, the two start to fall in love. The actors’ performances also earned them Best Actor and Best Actress at the Shorties.
Tan, 27, believes “inspiration” – the theme for this year’s competition – can be derived from love.
He added: “Sometimes, love can also come from the most bizarre and ridiculous of circumstances and because many may not happen in reality, I wanted my love story to also be integrated with comedic elements.”
The film graduate revealed that he chose the setting for the story after reading one of Haruki Murakami’s works.
“It was a story about two men in ski masks who, in the midst of robbing a convenience store, bumped into an unexpected yet amusing situation. I really liked the concept of the story, and so I adapted it to my short film.”
32°C Fall In Love – which took a full month to complete with an estimated production cost of RM5,000 – is Tan’s first submission to the competition.
“I definitely did not (expect to win). Initially, we were just aiming to have our short film nominated for the supporting categories ... What we truly expected was to gain some experience in joining the BMW Shorties this year,” he shared.
Tan recently graduated from the National Taiwan University Of Art with a degree from the Motion Picture Department. He dabbled in small-scale short film projects prior to this, one of which was a nominee in the Penang Youth Creative short film competition.
The director also teased that he has a rough idea of what sort of short film he plans to make with the sizable production grant: “I’m looking forward to creating a short film which revolves around Malaysia’s current issues and happenings in our everyday lives.
“It will most probably be on the subjects of being morally right or wrong. The indecisiveness of the human character has always intrigued me and I feel that it is an interesting theme for a short film to be based on.”
The Boy Who Rocked The World by Paul Gan, a story about an imaginative boy and his passion for music, was another one of the jury’s favourite short films, bagging Best Cinematography, Best Sound Design and Best Production Design. Hidup Bersama, a four-minute visual essay of a poem of the same name, made by Lau Ming Yeow and starring national laureate A. Samad Said, earned the Judges’ Honourable Mention title.
The People’s Choice Award went to Crossing The Arctic, a visual travelgoue documenting director Zahariz Khuzaimah’s journey across the arctic.
For a full list of the BMW Shorties 2013 winners and the submissions by the top 10 finalists, visit bmwshorties.com.my.