by Jia Ying Chia
Never in a million years did I think I would be swayed by a film festival, but after spending three days at the ASEAN International Film Festival & Awards in Kuching, Sarawak, it’s hard to deny the magic that movies and filmmaking brings to life. The gathering of distinguished filmmakers, actors, industry professionals, and film enthusiasts from around the world, to honour and celebrate the diverse storytelling of ASEAN filmmakers, saw an overwhelming 120 films being received and leaving AIFFA’s jury with the tough task of selecting the winners for the awards ceremony at the end.
Livan Tajang, Festival Director, said that “the exceptional films and performances we’ve seen demonstrated that immense potential of ASEAN cinema, and AIFFA remains committed to promoting and celebrating the region’s cinematic excellence.”
Workshop, business talks, masterclasses, and FREE movie screenings of all the shortlisted films for the awards ceremony at the end, phew! Days were full of film and connection ; and when they weren’t jaunts around the Old Courthouse led to the most delicious Kolo Mee ever, hidden alleyways to have a drink or two and plenty of great coffee shops and street art.
The appearance of South Korean superstar, Rain (Jung Ji-Hoon), also brought a frenzy of fans to the venue this year. Yang Berhormat Dato Sri haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, the Minister of Tourism,
Creative Industry and Performing Arts in Sarawak, emphasised during the event that AIFFA serves as a platform that “brings together ten nations through the language of films, providing an opportunity for people to experience each other’s stories and realise the similarities among our countries”. He added that “by increasing our understanding of our neighbours, we can help promote understanding and tolerance within the region”.
AIFFA returns in 2025 with new awards categories on the roster!
CHECK OUT ALL THE WINNERS:
BEST SCREENPLAY: Barbarian Invasion (Malaysia)
BEST FILM EDITING: Faces of Anne (Thailand)
BEST DIRECTOR OF CINEMATOGRAPHY: Roy Lolang for ‘The Woman Crowned With A Crescent Moon’ (Indonesia)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Kim B Ngo in ‘The Brilliant Darkness’ (Vietnam)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Hasnul Rahmat in ‘Jerangkung Dalam Almari’ (Malaysia)
BEST ACTRESS: Max Eigenmann in ‘Kargo’ (Philippines)
BEST ACTOR: Datuk Tarmimi Siregar in ‘Perjalanan Pertama’ (Malaysia & Indonesia)
BEST DIRECTOR: Carlo Obispo for ‘The Baseball Player’ (Philippines)
BEST FILM: Barbarian Invasion (Malaysia)
ASEAN SPIRIT AWARD: Philip Cheah
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: U-Wei Saari
ASEAN INSPIRATION AWARD: Rain (Jung Ji-Hoon)