FILMMAKER Diffan Sina Norman’s Kekasih is the first local short film to be selected for the Sundance Film Festival 2014 in the United States.
“I didn’t expect it at all. I’m incredibly thrilled and delighted. I actually got the news about a month ago and I’ve been dying to share it with everyone,” said Diffan, 30, following the announcement by the film festival on Tuesday.
Kekasih is among 66 short films which has been selected from this year’s pool of 8,161 submissions in the short film category. Founded in 1978, the Sundance Film Festival is widely regarded as the premier showcase for the independent film community worldwide. Sundance Film Festival 2014 takes place from Jan 16-26 in several cities in Utah.
Previously, Amir Muhammad’s The Big Durian was shortlisted for Sundance’s world documentary category in 2004.
Diffan’s nine-minute project, which boasts established actors Nasir Bilal Khan and Fauziah Nawi, tells the tale of a botanical professor trying to come to terms with the death of his wife. The professor extracts the remains of his late wife and in doing so, encounters a divine presence.
“The story is actually inspired by the relationship between the bird and the flower, a symbol that is prevalent in Iranian culture,” explained Diffan who is half Iranian. “The bird needs to sing to the flower for it to blossom and the flower will only blossom to a singing bird. It is this symbiotic relationship that the short film is trying to explore.”
The director added that Kekasih holds a special meaning to him. “After my father’s passing in 2011, I went to clear out his office and found a copy of my script of Kekasih on his desk,” he shared.
“Before his death, I would always discuss the script with my dad and he would give his advice.”
The short film, which took around six months to produce, is Diffan’s first submission to the film festival. Diffan is currently based in both Kuala Lumpur and Los Angeles as a freelance director and designer.
For more on Kekasih, visit kekasihthefilm. com.
Touching: Kekasih, starring veteran local actors Nasir bilal Khan and Fauziah Nawi, tells the love story between a botanical professor and his late wife.