Malaysian director becomes pride of nation

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s home-grown talent Chong Keat Aun, who was named the best new director in Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards, has been flooded with congratulatory messages from fans.

Someone called him “Malaysia’s pride” while another social media user praised his achievements: “Congratulations! Looking forward to seeing your film.”

Chong, 42, paid tribute to the late Yasmin Ahmad in his acceptance speech during Saturday’s award presentation, which is often said to be the Chinese-language cinema’s version of the Oscars.

It was reported that he also dedicated the award to his cameraman Mohamad Badri who died of cancer last month.

“Thank you. Your warm smile will always be in our hearts, ” he said of Mohamad Badri.

In a Facebook post later, he said movie-making was not such a great process but “what’s great is all who made it happen”.

Chong, a former radio presenter from Kedah, won the award for his first feature film The Story of Southern Islet which he drew inspiration from his life experiences and local beliefs.

The film depicts the story of a woman’s quest to find a cure for her husband who was thought to have been cursed by black magic.

Chong directed, wrote and acted in the film, which was also nominated for best original screenplay but lost.

Malaysian talents also contributed to two other awards that night – songwriters Keon Chia and Hooi Yuan Teng won the Best Original Film Song award for Your Name Engraved Herein while stylist Raymond Kuek was honoured for his makeup work in the Singaporean film Number 1, which won Best Makeup and Costume Design award.

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