Pesta Filem Kita unravels meaning of unity in diversity

PETALING JAYA: The message is clear at the inaugural Pesta Filem Kita - our differences are a cause for celebration.

Five Malaysians from different walks of life will premier their short films at the Sept 17 festival, which hopes to spark and expand conversations surrounding Malaysian cinema beyond the nation’s stereotypical Chinese-Malay-Indian tropes.

“We want Malaysians to acknowledge that our histories and cultures are too dynamic, fluid and complex for Malaysian films to be subjected to a narrowed reading of identity,” said Projek Dialog programme coordinator Maryam Lee.

Organised by Projek Dialog and supported by Finas, the event aims to encourage the participation of filmmakers aged 15 to 35 in the production of short films and documentaries.

After receiving 197 submissions from all over the country, the jury had whittled down a shortlist of 17 from which to choose three winners from Peninsular Malaysia and two from east Malaysia.

Muhammad Shahrazif, Daniyal Kadir, and Kubendera MS Mahadevan had received RM7,000 each to produce their films in seven weeks, while Yow Chong Lee from Sabah and Lau Ung Ing from Sarawak received RM9,000 each.

The film synopses and teasers are available on the Pesta Filem Kita Facebook page, and other activities include forums on the Malaysian film identity, a guerilla filming workshop and a film review workshop.

The festival will also screen 12 short films by Ridhwan Saidi, Edmund Yeo, Bebbra Mailin and director of award winning film Jagat, Shanjhey Perumal.

Their shorts, which present a fresh take on interesting issues, have screened at international film festivals and won both local and international acclaim.

In total, the fest will host 18 screenings, including the feature film Rembat.

“The differences we have, are what gives our cinema an advantage. It is the filmmakers from different backgrounds, ethnicities and races that will bring a new spectrum to film viewing culture in Malaysia,” said festival curator Muzzamer Rahman.

Pesta Filem Kita is held at the Content Malaysia Pitching Centre at Jalan Stesen Sentral, Kuala Lumpur on Sept 17. Admission is free. For more information, visit