BMW Short­ies win­ners

A lament of the un­wanted picked up this year’s top prize at the BMW Short­ies.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - by ROuWeN liN rouwen@thes­tar.com.my

BY the time the win­ners of this year’s BMW Short­ies were an­nounced at the Gala Pre­miere at MAP KL, So­laris Du­ta­mas in Kuala Lumpur last Thurs­day evening, the crowd had been stand­ing around for some time, wait­ing with bated breath to see if their short film – or their friend’s short film – would make the cut.

Or­gan­ised by BMW Group Malaysia, this fourth in­stal­ment of the an­nual short film com­pe­ti­tion fea­tures new award cat­e­gories best cin­e­matog­ra­phy, best pro­duc­tion de­sign, best screen­play, best edit­ing, best ac­tor and best ac­tress, on top of the Grand Prize and Peo­ple’s Choice awards.

Of the 48 en­tries sub­mit­ted, Chen Yih Wen’s Like Toy Dolls bagged the grand prize of a RM75,000 pro­duc­tion grant. It was also the re­cip­i­ent of the Best Cin­e­matog­ra­phy and Best Pro­duc­tion De­sign awards, and was nom­i­nated for Best Screen­play.

The short film, with a run time of four-anda-half min­utes, raises the is­sue of aban­doned ba­bies by us­ing dolls: we see a doll left by the bus stop, an­other stuffed in a rub­bish bin, one car­ried away in a dog’s mouth, one abused and bleed­ing from the head, while an­other en­dures the pain of hav­ing a screw­driver in its eye.

The clos­ing scene shows a doll en­gulfed in flames fol­lowed by a mes­sage draw­ing a par­al­lel be­tween the fate of these dolls and aban­doned ba­bies.

Chen, a free­lance video edi­tor and pho­tog­ra­pher, calls it a lament of the un­wanted.

“The film shows what ba­bies go through when they are aban­doned. It gives a voice to those aban­doned by cap­tur­ing their few mo­ments of grief. Ba­bies are help­less, they can’t de­fend them­selves. They don’t even have a choice if some­one wants to dump them,” she says, adding that some peo­ple were taken aback by the graphic vi­su­als and vi­o­lence de­picted in the film.

The 25-year-old be­lieves that a film di­rec­tor should al­ways have a mes­sage to tell the au­di­ence and she says that she uses films as a medium to raise so­ci­etal is­sues.

“Baby dump­ing is quite ram­pant in Malaysia. Hu­man lives are some­thing that is pre­cious, you can’t recre­ate or re­cy­cle lives so we shouldn’t waste it. My film is an aware­ness tool and the mes­sage for Like Toy Dolls is to not waste lives. But one film is not enough to tell peo­ple what to do. In the end, the change is up to the peo­ple them­selves,” she says.

In­fan­tile mes­sage: LikeToyDolls

is a short film that fo­cuses on the is­sue of aban­doned ba­bies.

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