M’sian documentary wins Japan award

In the making: (From left) Yuen and Chung working with the production crew Kingking Tan and Yip.

A FILM by two students from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), titled “Red Wine Chicken”, was named one of the five winning documentaries by the Visual Documentary Project (VDP) 2020.

The 16-minute documentary was selected from a pool of close to 120 entries from Southeast Asian countries, the varsity said in a press release.

The film documenting the life, marriage and love between a Vietnamese woman and a Malaysian man was produced and directed by Angel Yuen Yi Qian and Chung Lay Woei, both Bachelor of Communication (Honours) Broadcasting final year students from the Faculty of Creative Industries.

Initiated in 2012 by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) Kyoto University, the VDP aims to provide a platform to deepen exchanges in Southeast Asia through documentary filmmaking and academic research. It aims to bridge filmmakers and researchers working in the region.

The VDP has received a total submission of 1,066 documentary films since 2012.

Red wine chicken refers to a traditional Fuzhou Chinese delicacy in and beyond Malaysia. Usually served during important family gatherings and festivals, the dish is an integral part of Yuen’s family tradition.

Ah Jiao, the main character in the film, was based on Yuen’s aunt. She married into the family and had mastered the skill of making red wine chicken, the precious family recipe.

“When Ah Jiao gave birth to her first child in 2009, I remember my grandmother prepared her red wine chicken dish daily during the confinement. For me, Ah Jiao became a family member from the day she married my uncle, ” Yuen said.

“I was attracted to the story not only because of this traditional food, but my fascination by how the Fuzhou family delicacy had been passed down through Ah Jiao, ” said Chung.

Befitting the theme for the VDP 2020, which is “Love”, the duo decided to turn Ah Jiao’s incredible story into a film project in their Television Production II (TVPII) class. The documentary was shot in early 2020 with support from the crew of Just Another Production (J.A.P), a local production company.

J.A.P founder Jermenn Yip said: “I am very proud of Chung and Yuen because it is never easy to make a film, moreover a documentary. Although the film was a student project, our team never skipped any important filmmaking steps, from planning to pre-production, shoot and post-production.”

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