IT’S no secret that acclaimed filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh, Doug Liman, Mary Harron, Atom Egoyan and er ... Amir Muhammad, all got their big breaks at film festivals.
From the Sundance Film Fest to Toronto Film Fest and the Singapore International Film Festival, film festivals are a hotbed for up and coming filmmakers.
This year, Malaysian film students can have a shot at stardom with Finas' (National Film Development Corporation) Student Film Fest 2003.
Organised in collaboration with Universiti Teknologi Mara's (UiTM) Faculty of Performing Arts, the inaugural festival scheduled for September will feature local and international films, workshops, seminars and discussions.
The highlight is the film competition for students, which gives them an opportunity to showcase their talents, skills and creativity.
Head of UiTM’s Screen Department, Assoc Prof Abdul Razak Mohaideen, lauds the timely move by Finas to create a platform for students to display their cinematic talents.
“It’s never too early for students to start making films. This kind of project gives them a chance to explore their creativity and apply the theories they have learnt in class. They need this. Malaysian film students are creative but do not have the equipment to practise on their own,” he says.
The film festival aims to recognise and acknowledge local talents, encourage creative work by students, discover new talents, foster film discussions and critique, build students’ appreciation of film aesthetics and develop students’ communication skills.
No stranger to the local film scene, Prof Abdul Razak Mohaideen has produced comedies like Anak Mami and Mami Jarum, horror flick Mistik and the coming Cinta Kolestrol.
“Students need to take all the opportunity they can get to be creative and explore their film voice. This festival is an excellent platform,” says the writer/director who has been lecturing for 14 years.
The theme of the festival is open, giving students the freedom to produce any genre of film and subject they are interested in. Categories include short film, documentary, experimental film and video, video and promotional clips, commercial, animation and graphic.
Awards will be given to best director, best cinematographer, best script, best musical score, best costume, and other categories.
The competition is open to all students in public and private higher education institutions in Malaysia. A special category is open to local secondary school students.
“We know that there are many school students who are interested in films and are making their own films. We encourage them to participate in the film festival and enter their film in the competition.”
Films have to be made in either Bahasa Malaysia or English and entries are to be sent in beta or video format only. The closing date for entries is Aug 1.