Two talented young filmmakers have been selected to represent Malaysia at a prestigious regional workshop.
IT’S not always the outspoken film director who takes the glory. Talented young filmmaker Kathy Tan has just won a place at an international film workshop following her display of quiet brilliance at the Next New Wave ( NNW) young filmmakers’ workshop.
As one of the most reserved participants at the workshop, cinematography student Tan, 22, was assigned the role of production designer. But that didn’t stop her from contributing the big story idea for her team’s short film and becoming a reference point for many creative decisions.
Filmmaker and musician Pete Teo, one of the judges of the NNW workshop, said he could see the potential in her despite her quiet demeanour.
“At the beginning of the week she couldn’t speak. She was so painfully shy,” said Teo. “But she is an extremely talented young lady.”
The workshop she will take part in, the ASEAN- ROK Film Leaders Incubator ( FLY2016), is a 14- day event designed to nurture Asian filmmaking talent. It is incredibly competitive as only 22 participants are selected every year - two from each Asean country and two from Korea.
The intensive, hands- on programme will be overseen by internationally- renowned industry mentors who will deliver special lectures, provide one- on- one mentoring and design film exercises to help participants reach their potential.
A panel of mentors at the NNW workshop selected the Malaysian representatives to FLY2016 based on the quality of their teams’ films, their interaction with other team members and one- on- one conversations with their mentors.
“It’s really a big surprise! I didn’t expect it at all as I’m a shy person,” said Tan, clearly ill at ease with all the attention she has been receiving.
Despite her reluctance to talk about her own achievements, those who worked with her said she deserves the opportunity.
“She’s an introverted person,” said her industry mentor Rasiguet Sookkarn, an award- winning production designer from Thailand. “But I noticed her from the beginning. She has a strong sense of visuals – an important skill for filmmakers.”
It was Sookkarn who encouraged the six other mentors to consider her during their long debate to decide who would win the coveted workshop spots.
He was keen to ensure that not just the most outspoken were recognised, reminding the mentors that people learn at different rates and given a chance, even the quietest can make a big splash.
Sabahan filmmaker Putri Purnama Sugua, 23, got the second Malaysian spot at FLY2016.
“Even being in this workshop is already a big gift for me because I love to make connections with other filmmakers,” said Putri, who recently won the KKIFF2016 Golden Kinabalu Award in the Indigenous Language category for her short film, Dream to Fly.
“But to be selected as a participant to represent my own country – I don’t know how to express it. We will make Malaysia proud.”
Tan and Putri will fly to Cambodia in October to take part in FLY2016, where participants who excel can look forward to even more opportunities to learn and connect with other people in the industry.
According to Choi Yoon, Managing Director of the Busan Film Commission, which co- organises FLY 2016, Tan and Putri will gain international experience from famous and experienced mentors.
“You also have to cooperate with other students from other countries, so you will gain really good international experience,” he said. “It will be something to be really proud of when they go back to their own countries.”
On top of all that, Putri and Tan will also stand a chance to be selected for the Asian Film Academy ( AFA) in Busan, which is a 17- day programme designed for Asian filmmakers, and has close ties to the Busan International Film Festival ( BIFF), arguably Asia’s most prestigious film festival.
This progression of workshops could ultimately see Tan and Putri representing the Malaysian film industry as they work their way towards landing a screening at BIFF.
With her heart set on a filmmaking career, Tan is already looking forward to the future.
“I’m grateful to my mentor, who helped me by giving me this opportunity,” said Tan. “I will use this chance to learn more about screenwriting and directing because I’ve always wanted to make films that make people happy.”
Teo, sound mentor at NNW, said he wished all the NNW participants could go to AsEAN- ROK as they had worked so hard during the workshop.
participants at the Next New Wave ( NNW) young filmmakers workshop were challenged to complete two short films in just eight days.
Top industry professionals from across the region were brought together to mentor the NNW participants and select the winners of the two AsEAN- ROK spots.