Malaysian film director grateful for support

On high demand: A scene from ‘Story of the Southern Islet’. Demand for the film was so high that the film became the sixth most trending topic on Weibo.

DESPITE having his film Story of the Southern Islet pirated in China, Malaysian director Chong Keat Aun was nevertheless thankful for the wave of support from his countrymen, Sin Chew Daily reported.

“I woke up on Aug 31 to see Malaysians from everywhere voicing their support online. For this, I am immensely grateful.

“Although I am not able to change anything at this point, at least (I am) able to educate many on what is right, and pave a bit of the road for future Malaysian filmmakers.

“Kita anak Malaysia, kita sayang Malaysia (We are children of Malaysia, we love Malaysia),” Chong wrote on Facebook.

It was earlier reported that pirated footage of Story of Southern Islet had appeared on various Chinese websites at 8am on Aug 28, two days after it was shown at the 25th Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal.

Demand for the film was so high that Story of Southern Islet became the sixth most trending topic on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter.

Chong, 43, said the bootleg version disrupted the film’s coming premiere at the Beijing International Film Festival this month, as well as the original plan to release the film via a streaming platform at the end of the year.

However, when news of the piracy broke, it garnered a wave of support for Chong, one of which was the “Fight Piracy and Support Story of Southern Islet” online campaign.

The multiple award-winning film is a story of a woman’s quest to find a cure for her husband who was thought to have been cursed by black magic and was inspired by Chong’s experiences growing up, as well as by local beliefs.

It recently bagged the AQCC-Camera Lucida Prize at the 25th Fantasia International Film Festival and won Chong the Best Director award at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards as well as two other accolades at the China’s 12th Youth Film Manual Annual Ceremony.

It also bagged the International Federation of Film Critics Prize at the 45th Hong Kong International Film Festival.

> The Chinese daily also reported of Japanese voice actor Tatsuhisa Suzuki finally making a public apology after being caught cheating on his wife, popular rockstar Risa Oribe.

The 37-year-old posted a handwritten letter expressing remorse after he was photographed having a clandestine hotel meet-up with a fan while his wife was on tour earlier this year.

“I express my deepest apology for my behaviour. Because of my stupidity, I have caused everyone to feel upset and worried. I feel remorseful,” he wrote, promising that he would reflect on his actions.

When the letter was uploaded onto his agency’s website, it attracted so much Internet traffic that it crashed.

However, not only did the letter fail to placate fans, they pointed out that Suzuki had failed to mention Oribe or how his actions had hurt her.

Many took this as an indication that Suzuki was not really sorry about what he did.

“Why don’t you ask for forgiveness from LiSA (and not us)?” one Internet user wrote.

Oribe, 34, professionally known as LiSA, and Suzuki got hitched in January 2020 after living together for several years.

● The above article is compiled from the vernacular newspapers (Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil dailies). As such, stories are grouped according to the respective language/medium. Where a paragraph begins with this ' >'sign, it denotes a separate news item.

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