FilmMakers Anonymous 10

Last Saturday (13th June) I was invited to the Filmmakers Anonymous screening which also marked its 10th edition of FA screening. A virgin to FA, (okay, I lied, I peeped in once, at one of their screenings during the Annexe Arts For Grabs last year), it was quiet amusing to be sitting throughout the nearly 2 hour screening of 7, very interesting and exclusively different short films.

The first shortie screened was ‘Sehingga Klku Menyanyi or Until My KL Sings’ by, a 29minute-documentary shot in 2006.

It makes you want to sing your own KL journey”

Synopsis: Living in Kuala Lumpur, I have been often told by powers that be that there is only one story. I asked the singers-songwriters, and they sang to me about the many different stories, different identities and the different voices that filled this complex and colorful city.

Cosmic Review:
This documentary include the artistes / singers featured during the KL Sing Song such as Pete Teo, Jerome Kugan, Rhapsody, Reza Salleh, Shanon Shah, Pak Pandir and a few more. An interesting take by the director where she includes subtitles of poetries as an introduction, in between the takes and for the ending. A personal touch to knowing what living in KL and what the city means by these musicians, the documentary takes place in different landmarks of the city and discusses not only the journey, but hopes and dreams that these musicians have for the city.

Although the director mentioned that when she started this project, it was because she was new to the city and wanted to get to know more about the city from these individuals’ perspective, there’s an extra sense of urban patriotism transpired from the documentary. The endless search for sense of belonging for ambitious dreamers, who have migrated from their respective kampungs to the city, the endless pursue of restoring sense of belonging to those who have traveled everywhere and comes back to KL which they call home, were portrayed in a very unique style.

The concept of appearing in someone’s thoughts and dreams was a bit confusing for the mass, but I guess having the musicians to appear in backgrounds that allows them to relate to the city comes out well.

As someone who breathes music and enjoy the city life (to some extent), I can relate to the hardship and journey on different levels. I’ll give it 3 out of 5 thumbs up.

Director’s profile: She make films to appease the ghost of desires, run trainings on human rights and filmmaking in exchange for a place to sleep and the raw fish fix. For more of mien (governments advised against)

Second we have ‘For The Love Of Drowning’, a 10min short film by Nazim Esa, shot in 2008 and was selected as the winner of the 2008 BMW Shorties.

“For someone who once encountered a near-drowning experience, it can be tad disturbing. But it does somehow makes you realise how easy life can be if you’re a fish and you will never fear drowning.”

Synopsis: For the Love of Drowning is a short film about the complexity of communication.

Cosmic Review:
The short film is about a couple with some sort of a communication problem and a lady with a very strange fetish for drowning. Her obsession with drowning leads her to even wanting to try to drown herself in a large aquarium in her house.

A little weird take having to see a slick BMW and the owner lives in a single-storey terrace house, but then again, thats just me being judgemental.

Since the synopsis talked about the complexity of communication, it was communicated in a weird complex way to the audience. Aside from the technical problems during the screening, I managed to grasp the entire film and try to understand it. With his vast experience, the director has produced a good film in terms of cinematography, but the underlying message was too deep that it was hardly translated to the audience. I would give this one a 2 out of 5 thumbs up.

Director’s profile: Nazim Esa is a freelance artist, director and editor living and working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He studied film and fine art in the UK and works in film, theatre, TV and commercials.So far, has exhibited his work in Malaysia and abroad in film festivals and exhibitions. He was a 3D animator, painter, photographer, offline/online editor and currently a 1st AD for commercials and films. He has directed music videos, short films and documentaries. He has also worked on projects for the Venice Biennale, Istanbul Biennale, Taipei Biennale and Kunsthalle, Vienna Austria.

The third film screened is actually the only animated shortie, but a brilliant one called ‘The Chase’ by Kevin Ng and his team from The One Academy.

“It makes you realise that Malaysia has the creative resources, but it also makes you feel disappointed in the overall nation support to push it to be internationally recognised”

Synopsis : This story takes place in a museum situated in London. One night, a thief sneaks into the museum. As he gleefully steals valuable artifacts, he unknowingly awakens two ancient creatures of the dark, a Chinese Vampire and Dracula. Being denied blood for a very long time, it seems the thief is what they need most. Will the thief got into their hands? Or will he survive his stealing?

Cosmic Review:
This animation tells a story about a thief who sneaked in a museum in London only to have awaken a Chinese Vampire and a Dracula and his little adventure being chased and escaping them (not!).

This funny piece done within 8 months, actually turned out to be the grand winner of 3D Bites; Short Film Competition organized by ACA Pacific. It does look very professionally done, as if coming from an established world renown Animation Production House.

I was actually amazed at the quality of the animation and the overall ability of these students. It restores the faith of Malaysia (actually) Boleh.

Director’s profile: Kevin Ng born on 29th June 1987. He is a graduate student from The One Academy and can be reached via email – or his blog at

The fourth shortfilm is a simple take in life with the longest title among its peers that night, Chi Too’s 3-minute Where Are You On A Night Like Tonight a.k.a. You And Me Put The ‘You’ And ‘Me’ In ‘You And Me’.

“More like a photo time-lapse slideshow rather than a film, but Zee Avi’s song makes you realise the message the director might wanted to communicate, the little things in life, the journey and the company you’re with”

The synopsis is in the title. Shot, written, directed, and edited by chi too on the night of May 22 2009… apologies to Zee Avi

Cosmic Review:
I couldn’t review much, but frankly speaking, it does look like something I would actually do. It the usual nice drive you have with your friends at night, and the things you see along the highway. Simplicity. But maybe a bit too simple. Yet, understandable.

The fifth one is actually a music video by Manesh and friends, with their 2 rappers, Ashraf Rushdy and Alfred Loh about the mamak culture entitled ‘I’m A Freak’.

A much better take on the mamak culture as compared to the cheesy one made by the crew. Informative as well as funny.

Synopsis : A music video about the love for the Malaysian mamak culture, seen from the eyes of Ashraf Rushdy, a non-IC bearing Malaysian.

Cosmic Review :
Ashraf Rushdy, a Canadian MC who got the chance to be in Malaysia and discover the mamak culture from his hosts and friends, and Alfred Loh, a Malaysian who practically spends almost everyday at the mamak decided to tell or more likely, to educate the masses about why mamak culture is actually a culture you want to experience and be part of.

Director’s Profile: The director would like to refrain from submitting a profile as a tribute to the truly collaborative creative process through which this project was born.

The sixth shortfilm is ‘Selling Imagination’ by Crystal Kay and Kubhaer.

Brings marketing to a whole new level, and brilliantly communicate how we often take for granted of the simplicity of life we actually need aside from the materiality that we often search for

Sypnosis: A young woman comes across an art gallery that sells more than just paintings. Follow her journey and her thoughts inside the gallery as she discovers a side she thought she had lost.

Cosmic Review:
Taking place in the heart of KL, its about a typical corporate-ish art appreciator who questions a blank canvas displayed only to be convinced by the owner to buying it. She left the gallery carrying her new blank canvas but proudly thinking that she has purchased of realisation she never cared to acknowledge.

The one particular thing I like about this one is how accentuates the little things, the sounds, the people around us. It reminds me of Arundhati Roy’s ‘God of Small Things’.

Directors profile: Crystal Kay is currently persuing her Advanced Diploma in Boradcasting Communication in TAR College and wishes to indulge herself in the production line in the near future. This is her first directive collaboration with her only other experience is as an Assistant Director in a indie film ‘Emperor’ in 2008. Kubhaer is new to commercial directing, but not to the creative arts. Before production, he was a veteran in professional theatre having acted, written, and directed for the stage. There was also a short stint as an experimental dancer, and giving breathing and vocalization workshops. Weird. A listed breakdown of Kubhaer’s showreel is similar to the person itself: Short, but large on quality.

Last but not least, is Nadiah Hamzah’s ‘Sub Rosa’.

A typical inter-racial love story set in Brooklyn, but the whip appeal of silent respect and adoration towards each other translated successfully in between their little conversations.

Synopsis: Can true love prevail above all others? Ayesha, a Muslim African American struggles to balance her faith and liberal freedom. Kurt – yearning for a sense of belonging gets caught up in the bludgeoning Brooklyn hipster neo-subculture. A unexpected encounter brings the two together. Despite their worlds of differences, they not only find love, but also discover their selves.

Cosmic Review:
This film takes place in Brooklyn, bringing together Ayesha, a Muslim African American and Kurt, a normal Brooklyn hipster who meets at the bus-stop everyday and ends up adoring and falling for each other. It is somewhat a typical inter-racial love, as of the likes of Sepet and others.

The interesting part that captivates you is the silent adoration, not too much of those typical love romances or drama. Of course, Yuna’s ‘Deeper Conversation’ was such a sweet addition during their routine encounters. And it also captures realities of life for a normal Muslim girl in a country that claims they are in war with Muslim terrorists.

Director’s profile: Nadiah Hamzah is based in New York, and is constantly inspired by the many sights and sounds of the city. She enjoys everything and anything by Catherine Breillat, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Takashi Miike, Michel Gondry and Yasmin Ahmad. Nadiah is also an avid cinematographer (DP reel can be seen at but wishes she had more chances and money (or any money at all) to shoot on 35mm film. She is currently writing her first feature screenplay.

FILMMAKERS ANONYMOUS 10!!!!! was brought to you by The Filmmakers Anonymous.
For more info please contact Anonymous at 012-6969455.
ps. if you are an addict yourself, please feel free to bring dvd copy of your film to the screening and pass to Anonymous.

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