The story of an autistic man with a passion for music. The romance of a storekeeper and security guard bound together during a robbery. A lament on unwanted babies illustrated with discarded dolls.
These are just some of the varied and profoundly unique short films that have won the Grand Prize of the BMW Shorties, Malaysia’s first and longest running short film competition.
Organised by BMW Group Malaysia, the 10th edition of the competition is currently open for entries, and the theme this time around is “Journey”, which is meant to commemorate the competition’s decade-long road towards becoming one of Malaysia’s most prestigious short film competitions, as well as BMW Group’s 100-year anniversary.
During a launch event recently, BMW Group Malaysia managing director and CEO Han Sang Yun said: “With the theme ‘Journey’, we want aspiring filmmakers to recognise and internalise the significance of the journey not only in their short film creations but also in their own pursuit of a filmmaking career.”
The grand prize of the competition is a RM75,000 production grant for the winner to make his or her next short film. The event also saw the premiere of Funeral, the film that 2015 Shorties winner Sky Gan Yu Long used his grant to make.
The film, which is a sombre and moving tale about an old grocer in a small town organising a funeral for his late wife with the help of his young granddaughter, is an extremely personal story for Gan to tell.
“The one I loved the most, my grandmother, went to heaven two years ago, and this film is my gift to her,” Gan said in a speech after the screening. “This film is also dedicated to my grandfather, as it depicts what I saw when I was living with him at the time.”
Currently a freelance director who works under his own production house, No Stress Production, Gan joined a list of nine other winners who have also gone on to become established filmmakers in their own right.
Here’s where their BMW Shorties journey has taken these winners so far:
Abdullah Zahir Omar (2007)
Zahir was already a first assistant director for five years when his entry, K-Hole, won the first ever BMW Shorties in 2007. His subsequent BMW-funded short film, Teddy & I, was the first time a Malaysian independent film used the internet as the platform for its premiere. It was later shortlisted to participate in the Rotterdam Film Festival and the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival.
Today, Zahir is a full-fledged director at Planet Films KL, and has directed TV commercials for brands such as Laurier, McDonald’s, Dutch Lady, TNB, Celcom and more, and will be releasing his first feature film, Four, soon.
Nazim Mohammed Esa (2008)
Naxim’s winning entry, For The Love Of Drowning, was a surrealistic tale of love and relationships. It screened at festivals such as the Dubai International Film Festival, Naoussa International Film Festival and Rotterdam Film Festival. Since then, he has directed music videos, short films, documentaries and TV commercials, and also worked on projects for the Venice Biennale, Istanbul Diennale, Taipei Biennale and Kunsthalle, Vienna Austria.
Shanjhey Kumar Perumal (2009)
In its third year, the BMW Shorties proved to be so competitive that there were two grand prize winners – Shanjhey Kumar Perumal and Brandon Loh. Shanjey had already been a director and writer with several years of experience when his short Machai won. Currently founder, director and writer of Skyzen (M) Sdn Bhd, Shanjhey saw his career reach its highest point so far last month when his first feature film, Jagat, won the Best Malaysian Film award at the 28th Malaysian Film Festival (FFM).
Brandon Loh (2009)
LOH’S Conversations With A Mad Man was a unique one-shot film about a long conversation with an insane man. He was subsequently invited to the Asian Film Academy (Busan Film Festival) as well as the prestigious Golden Horse Academy (Taiwan) where he was mentored by film legends such as Ang Lee, Hou Hsiao Hsien, John Woo, Tsai Ming Liang and Kurosawa Kiyoshi. Loh is currently a director at SE7VENSUNDAY Films.
Chen Yih Wen (2010)
Currently with R.AGE, The Star’s international award-winning youth news platform, as a producer and documentary filmmaker, Chen is the first and only female BMW Shorties winner to date.
She was a freelance video editor when she joined the competition, and her winning short film, Like Toy Dolls, was later screened at the Festival de Cannes 2011 and was also part of the official selection at the Artivist Film Festival 2011, Asian Short Film Awards @ Screen Singapore 2011 and Freedom Film Fest 2011.
Quek Shio Chuan (2011)
Quek’s winning entry, Guang (light in Mandarin), was his first ever short film, and went on to become the first Asian short film to win the Best Short Film Award at the prestigious Alto Vicentino Film Festival in Santorso, Italy.
He has since made his name directing commercials for clients such as Petronas, Samsung and Nissan, and is currently attached to Reservoir Production, a commercial film production company.
Chua Dick Woei (2012)
Better known as Dick Chua, his winning film Murdered was the first short film in the history of the BMW Shorties to be nominated and awarded six of the supporting award categories.
He has directed other projects such as well-received short Bloody Fish, and a music video for local singer Bell Yu Tian. He currently owns a production company by the name of D1 Productions.
Tan Seng Kiat (2013)
After winning the BMW Shorties Grand Prize with 32 Degrees Fall In Love, Tan went on to direct the feature-length Shuttle Life, which won an award for the 2014 Golden Horse’s Film Project Promotion. He is currently a freelance director working on multiple film projects.
Taufiq Kamal (2014)
Besides the Grand Prize, Taufiq’s comedy short, Rozita Binti Roslan, also won supporting awards for Best Director, Best Sound Design and Best Editing.
Prior to the BMW Shorties, Taufiq worked as a production designer and art director at Seni Lab. He has done television ads for KFC, Horlicks and Nescafe, as well as set design for films such as Terbaik Dari Langit, Kami Histeria and Mat Sprite Vs Mat Canggih.
Deadline for BMW Shorties 2016 is Nov 8. Go to http://ift.tt/1pnvDMX for details.