Malaysian actress-singer Lee Sinje has been appointed the ambassador of the first ever Malaysia International Film Festival (MIFFEST) and Malaysia Golden Global Awards (MGGA).
In a press conference at the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia’s (FINAS) Content Pitching Centre in Kuala Lumpur last week, Lee acknowledged that being an international celebrity meant her face is instantly recognisable on a poster, which makes her role as ambassador much easier. “I hope to make more people aware about this inaugural mega event, which aims to celebrate the best of international and local films as well as to promote unique Malaysian arts and cultures to audiences worldwide,” said the 40-year-old actress, who hails from Alor Setar, Kedah.
The inaugural Malaysia International Film Festival (MIFFEST) is a five-day event that will run from Feb 28 to March 4 at NU Sentral, KL; while MGGA is an award presentation ceremony that will take place on March 5 at Arena Of Stars, Resorts World Genting in Genting Highlands, Pahang.
The event is supported by FINAS, the central government agency for the film industry of Malaysia. Datuk Kamil Othman, Vice President of Asian Film Commissions Network (AFCNet), is the event’s programming director, while South Korean film industry icon Kim Dong-ho, founder of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), will serve as the chairman of the jury.
The members of the international panel of jury include illustrious filmmakers from all over the world such as directors Andreas Dresen (Germany) and Garin Nugroho (Philippines), Professor Xie Fei of China, Taiwanese producer Yeh Ju-Feng, and Malaysian actress Yeo Yann Yann.
Hong Kong actress Gloria Yip, 43, has also been lending support in her capacity as advisor. Yip is best known for her unforgettable screen debut as Ashura the Holy Maiden of Hell in the 1990 Saga Of The Phoenix when she was just 15. “Hong Kong cinema has its own cultural identity; so too do Malaysian films reflect their people’s own cultural distinctiveness. Films are an entertaining way to showcase one’s culture,” Yip said during the event, which was also attended by veteran Malaysian actress Datuk Lai Meng.
With the event being barely a month away, MIFEST & MGGA chairman Joanne Goh also took the opportunity to unveil the event’s promotional trailer and announce the latest big-name additions to their lineup. “It is evident that the mainland Chinese film market is expanding rapidly now, so with this film fest, we hope to be able to tap into this lucrative industry,” said Goh during the event.
Lee stars in the trailer, directed by Malaysian screenwriter Koi-Leong Tian, who is best known for his award-winning screenplay for After This Our Exile, which also won Hong Kong singer-actor Aaron Kwok his second best leading actor award at Taiwan’s prestigious Golden Horse Awards in 2006.
While there are more good quality local films these days, Lee says that filmmakers still face many challenges. “Mainly, investors are not easy to come by, partly because the market is still considered too small. So, local filmmakers have to figure out ways to showcase their talents within such limitations. This film fest is not easy to organise; so I hope that it will create more opportunities and give more exposure to our local talents,” Lee said.
Lee’s passion for cinema means that she is still always on the lookout looking out for good scripts. However, her family always comes first, no matter what. The multiple award-winning actress, whose breakout role in 2003 horror flick The Eye endeared her to audiences as Asia’s scream queen, is married to Hong Kong director Oxide Pang, gave birth to twin boys in early July 2016.
“It’s funny how our group of friends got pregnant one after another. Gigi Leung (who has a one-year-old daughter) has been dispensing parenting advice, which I have in turn been sharing with Charlie Young. We have a Wechat group where we share our tips and give each other advice about what to use and where to find it,” said Lee, who will be spending Chinese New Year in Hong Kong.
For more information about MIFFEST and MGGA, visit www.mgga.com.my, call 03-5622 1600, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.