Mak­ing waves

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - By KEN­NETH CHAW en­ter­tain­ment@thes­

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.

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