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