Finas cancels non-Bahasa Malaysia awards for FFM

KUALA LUMPUR — The National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) has removed all three non-Bahasa Malaysia categories for the Malaysian Film Festival (FFM).

Finas said it was introducing the new mechanism following a decision by the Communications and Multimedia minister yesterday to open up FFM’s Best Picture category to all films regardless of language, as well as to create a Best Film in National Language category.

Finas said all candidates in the now-abolished non-Bahasa Malaysia categories will be included in the main categories instead.

“The three categories announced before this — Best Picture (non-Bahasa Malaysia), Best Director (non-Bahasa Malaysia films) and Best Screenplay (non-Bahasa Malaysia films) — are abolished,” Finas said in a statement on its official Facebook page yesterday.

“The shortlisted nominees for the categories that have been abolished will automatically be in contest with the existing nominees in the Best Picture FFM28, Best Director FFM28 and Best Screenplay FFM28 categories.”

Finas, who is the organiser of the 28th edition of the FFM (FFM28) which will be held from Sept 1 to 3, also announced the films that will be contesting in the new Best Film in National Language category.

“The shortlisted candidates for the Best Film in National Language category are the five films out of the Best Picture FFM28 nominees that use the national language,” it said.

It also confirmed other categories for the FFM awards remain unchanged.

This year, two new non-Bahasa Malaysia categories for Best Director and Best Screenplay were created for the FFM, adding on to the non-Bahasa Malaysia category for Best Picture, which was introduced in 2011.

The disqualification of two critically acclaimed movies — Ola Bola and Jagat — from the main Best Picture category had sparked outrage both among the public and within the film industry. Both were nominated instead for Best Picture in the non-Bahasa Malaysia category.

At a forum last Monday night, Malaysia Film Producers Association president Datuk Yusof Haslam and its chief executive officer Pansha Nalliah explained FFM’s roots as a festival from decades ago featuring only Bahasa Malaysia films, and noted the non-Bahasa Malaysia category for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay were introduced to give recognition to the Chinese and Tamil films emerging in recent years.

Finas director-general Datuk Kamil Othman said last week Finas has made it a policy for locally-made films to emphasise at least 70 per cent Bahasa Malaysia usage in their scripts, in line with the government’s push to promote the national language, but admitted it would be ideal if the FFM Best Picture category was open to all films regardless of language.

It is unclear if the 70 per cent Bahasa Malaysia content requirement still applies to the Best Film in National Language category as Finas did not elaborate on the criteria for the new category. — Malay Mail Online

See also pages 16 & 17

Event up in air as partners lose interest

KUALA LUMPUR ― The future of next year’s Malaysian Film Festival (FFM) awards is now under a cloud as its two strategic partners appear to be disheartened after recent criticisms and allegations of conflict of interests.

The Coalition of Malaysian Filmmakers’ Association (Gafim) president Datuk Jurey Latiff Rosli claimed his group no longer represented the bulk of film makers and as such, would not be involved in future FFMs.

“We no longer represent the major organisations. We want to focus on the welfare of members who are still with us,” he said.

“We will give input, but we do not want to be involved. Let the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) decide who is the organiser. We have learnt a lot from FFM28.”

But Jurey said his term as president would end next year and as such, whether Gafim will be involved in future FFM events will be decided by the festival’s organising committee.

“As Gafim president, I reject (any involvement). Any decision will be made by the committee,” he said.

“Next year, there will be a new committee selection, so Gafim will have a new president. I will not be contesting, I want to focus on promoting the film
Malay Regiment.

“Let the new organisers be independent and professional. For 28 times, FFM has been controversial. It’s time it becomes stronger within the country and in the region,” he said.

The Film Producers’ Association (PFM), which is the main organising partner on this year’s FFM, had been accused of conflict of interest and had since said they may also withdraw their involvement.

PFM president Datuk Yusof Haslam was said to be involved in the jury selection for the awards, set to be held on Sept 3, but he denied the allegation.

In a Q&A session organised by Finas on Monday, Yusof expressed his surprise at the allegations and offered to resign if the claims persists.

The former actor and director denied having profited in any way from PFM’s involvement in FFM.

“If there is a motion of conflict of interest, I wash my hands (of FFM). No need for headaches. I’ll leave it to Finas to hold the film festival,” he said.

The FFM controversy kicked off after two of last year’s most critically acclaimed films, Jagat and Ola Bola, were excluded from the main Best Picture category for the awards, although both were nominated for the non-Bahasa Malaysia category.

‘Give awards only for films 
with proper BM’

KUALA LUMPUR — The new Best Film in National Language award should not be given to any films peppered with improper use of Bahasa Malaysia, independent film maker Anwardi Jamil said.

He said the newly created Malaysia Film Festival (FFM) award should be given to films that promote both the beauty of the national language and its proper use.

“You cannot give it to (just) any Malay movie. The award is not for movie shot in Bahasa Malaysia, but for movies that use Bahasa Malaysia correctly,” he told Malay Mail Online.

Anwardi said many locally-made movies in BM used terms such as “I” and “you” in their dialogue, as well as Manglish and local slang, which did not promote the sanctity of Bahasa Malaysia as many had been pushing for.

As for localised versions of BM used in different states in Malaysia, he felt these were “dialects” and that the new FFM award should be for films that promoted the use of the official version of Bahasa Malaysia by the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

“In a Bahasa Malaysia exam, if you put the answer in the Kelantanese or Negri Sembilan dialects, would the Education Department accept it? Because what you learn in Bahasa Malaysia is not depa but mereka (they),” he said.

“So, if you want to fight for proper use of Bahasa Malaysia, then you have to use proper Dewan Bahasa. It cannot be bahasa rojak or bahasa rakyat. Let’s define what they want, since they kept saying Bahasa Malaysia,” he said, referring to participants in a public engagement session on FFM on Monday.

Noting the main dispute in the #TanyaFinas2.0 engagement session revolved around the national language, Anwardi said he had proposed then the creation of a “special” and “important” award for films that upheld the national language.

In sharing his view of the proposed criteria for such an award, he said requiring the proper use of Bahasa Malaysia would also prevent a Best Picture-winning film containing dialogue in poor Malay winning the Best Film in National Language category by default.

Although the Best Film in National Language award was “language-based” in nature, the winner would also be the film which was best in its technical and artistic aspects.

He also said entries in this new category should not be required to have 70 per cent of their content in BM.

“Who’s going to count 70 per cent? When I write my script, I don’t count whether it’s 70 per cent Malay,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Communications and Multimedia Ministry decided to open up the FFM’s Best Picture category — previously restricted to films with 70 per cent BM content — to all films. It also created the Best Film in National Language category.

The announcement came after public outrage over the recent nominations of two critically acclaimed movies — Ola Bola and Jagat — for Best Picture (non-Bahasa Malaysia) at this year’s FFM, instead of the main Best Picture category.

Screenwriter Nik Jassmin Hew said she was shocked as she did not think the controversy would end so fast.

“Very pleased with the brilliant solution, which was exactly what Anwardi Jamil suggested. No idea if this is black and white though, cause PFM, FDAM may still not agree to it,” she said, referring to the Malaysia Film Producers Association (PFM) and the Film Directors Association of Malaysia (FDAM).

She praised the creation of the Best Film in National Language category “because we can truly award the films that really encourage and promote Bahasa Kebangsaan, not bahasa pasar or street slang.

The winner of the new award should be a film which truly upholds the kind of Bahasa Malaysia we learn at school. Even though only 50 per cent of film is in the language, its usage must be correct,” she said.

Film maker Al Jafree Md Yusop, who heads film lover and film industry professionals group Komuniti Filem Titiwangsa (Komfit), said the opening up of the Best Picture category would allow all films to compete together and help the local film industry to grow.

But, he felt the creation of the new Best Film in National Language category was “redundant” and unnecessary, alleging it still amounted to segregation.

“The national language has always been upheld. It already has a high place in Malaysian society,” he said, noting the widespread use of BM in Parliament, Putrajaya, official letters and other government bodies.

“We even have a special body to uphold Bahasa Malaysia — Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Why do we need to worry if BM will survive or not?” he asked.

Film maker Al Jafree Md Yusop said the opening up of the Best Picture category would allow all films to compete together and help the local film industry to grow.

The best way to uphold the national language is to instead ensure local films made in this language have high standards “artistically, technically and story-wise”, he said.

“That is how people have been doing it, that means making a good movie, not just by simply creating a category like that out of nowhere.

“We have a lot of cincai (sloppy) movies done in the national language. That’s even worse than not upholding the national language.”

This year’s FFM will run from Sept 1 to 3.


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Popole Misenga

The Team Refugee judo exponent gave world No 1 South Korean Donghan Gwak a tough fight before losing the second round of the 90kg event. “I’m happy to be here, everybody now knows the refugee story.”


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The teenager became the first Egyptian woman to stand on an Olympic podium after finishing third in weightlifting 69kg event. “I hope it will encourage other girls (in Egypt) to take up the sport.”


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Screen rant ends

  • Finas axes non-Bahasa Malaysia awards for Malaysian Film Festival, ‘Ola Bola’ and ‘Jagat’ to compete for main award.

  • Best Film in National Language category introduced, filmmaker suggests should only be for movies with proper Bahasa Malaysia scripts.

  • Festival partners want out of next year’s edition.

Gabriel Barbosa

Neymar shines, finally

RIO DE JANEIRO — Hosts Brazil finally found their form to reach the men’s football quarterfinals with an impressive 4-0 win over Denmark in a Group C match.

Barcelona superstar Neymar was at the heart of most of Brazil’s best work as they improved from 0-0 draws with South Africa and Iraq to make their way into the last eight, reported Sky Sports.

Gabriel Barbosa gave Brazil an early lead and Manchester City-bound Gabriel Jesus made it 2-0 before the break.

Neymar was part of the move which led to Luan making it 3-0 and, after an injury scare, came back on to the field to help set up Barbosa’s second.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it wasn’t a relief,” Gabriel Jesus said.

“I was under pressure, not just because I hadn’t scored but because the team hadn’t scored. But we played well and we got all three points.

“We managed to find each other and teamwork is where we excel. We deserve to be congratulated for the way we played.

“As from tomorrow (today) we start thinking about the quarterfinal.”

Denmark go through despite the defeat and they face Nigeria, who also lost their last group game, going down 2-0 to the Colombians.

Two of Colombia’s over-age players scored the goals — Teofilo Gutierrez getting the first after four minutes and Dorlan Pabon doubling their advantage from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute.

But there is no place in the quarterfinals for either Argentina or defending champions Mexico.

Argentina, who were Olympic champions in 2004 and 2008, crashed out after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Honduras in Group D.

Honduras progress to a meeting with South Korea, who knocked out Mexico when they claimed a 1-0 win thanks to a 77th minute Kwon Chang-Hoon goal. — Agencies




P W D L F A Pts

Brazil 3 1 2 0 4 0 5

Denmark 3 1 1 1 1 4 4

Iraq 3 0 3 0 1 1 3

South Africa 3 0 2 1 1 2 2


P W D L F A Pts

Nigeria 3 2 0 1 6 6 6

Colombia 3 1 2 0 6 4 5

Japan 3 1 1 1 7 7 4

Sweden 3 0 1 2 2 4 1


P W D L F A Pts

South Korea 3 2 1 0 12 3 7

Germany 3 1 2 0 15 5 5

Mexico 3 1 1 1 7 4 4

Fiji 3 0 0 3 1 23 0


P W D L F A Pts

Portugal 3 2 1 0 5 2 7

Honduras 3 1 1 1 5 5 4

Argentina 3 1 1 1 3 4 4

Algeria 3 0 1 2 4 6 1


Algeria 1 Portugal 1

Argentina 1 Honduras 1

Germany 10 Fiji 0

South Korea 1 Mexico 0

Colombia 2 Nigeria 0

Japan 1 Sweden 0

Denmark 0 Brazil 4

South Africa 1 Iraq 1



Brazil vs Colombia

Portugal vs Germany

South Korea vs Honduras

Nigeria vs Denmark

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