Throughout the years, the well-known creative arts festival Urbanscapes has always been involved in all spectrums of the arts in Malaysia, including film.
This year is no different.
What makes this year’s film pillar of the festival more special is their collaboration with BMW Shorties to craft the entire film festival called Tayangan BMW Shorties
that is running throughout Urbanscapes from now until 24 November.
“This collaboration makes perfect sense as both festivals have always been promoting and elevating culture and the creative arts, with a local focus in particular,” Urbanscapes festival director Lim Kok Kean said.
In case you’re not familiar, the BMW Shorties programme is a short film competition hosted by BMW Group Malaysia. The goal is to inspire, discover and support all emerging local talents in film, visual art and digital content.
After 13 years of running the competition, this year’s BMW Shorties received more than 130 short film submissions, making it the highest number of entries ever.
So for Urbanscapes, Tayangan BMW Shorties is screening a variety of films from Malaysia as well as the Southeast Asian region. The week-long event features the works of many directors, including past winners of the BMW Shorties.
These are some of the films that you can watch at the film festival:
A closing film chosen for the Kota Kinabalu International Film Festival 2019, ‘Shadowplay’ is about a private eye who takes a case to find a missing student, he must confront the deep dark depths of his own mind to uncover the truth around his own childhood disappearance.
‘KL24: Zombies’ is Malaysia's very own indie zombie flick about three intersecting stories following the first 24 hours of a suspected zombie outbreak.
Tuhau vs Zombie
Winner of the Best Short Film at Sabah Screen Fest 2017, this film currently has 20 million views on YouTube. It tells the story of the residents of a sleepy town in Sabah, who are blighted with a zombie outbreak. Their only cure is Tuhau, also known as torch flower ginger. This is also the first short film made by the students from SK Tampulan.
Fly By Night
'Fly By Night' is a critically-acclaimed Malaysian neo-noir crime thriller film. The film follows four taxi drivers who extort money from rich passengers. Things go wrong when one of them works with a victim, while an inspector and the criminal gang are in pursuit of them.
Set in the early 1990s Malaysia, the story follows a mischievous 12-year-old boy named Appoy and his relationships with his father, Maniam, and his uncles, former drug-addict Bala and local gangster Dorai. He is torn between focusing on school, but is also drawn to his uncles' life of crime.
Pan de Salawal (Philippines)
Making its Malaysian premier at this year’s Urbanscapes, ‘Pan de Salawal’ is a heart-warming and hilarious Filipino film about the friendship between a seven-year old girl with healing powers and an ill-stricken baker.
Incarcerated Rhythm (USA)
The award-winning film is about six men who have been in prison for many years and join a dance rehabilitation program that has never been tested in the prison system. Upon their release, they discover that the "rhythm of freedom" is harder to find than the "rhythm of incarceration".
A Million Years (Cambodia)
The film tells a story about a young woman who relaxes at a riverfront restaurant as she recounts stories of her past experiences, finding enchantment in the flows of the river and the trees on the mountains nearby.
We also spoke to Nadira Ilana, a local filmmaker responsible for curating all the films that are being screened, who also happens to be one of the judges for this year’s BMW Shorties competition.
“We wanted to choose a diverse variety of films, from animation to genre films, short films and documentary but what is unique about our programme is that our days are segmented according to theme,” she said.
“On the weeknights for example, we are doing double bills just like in the old days where people would go to the cinema to watch two films for the price of one, except that in this case, all our films are free.”
Yes, to free movie screenings!
“Essentially, our programme is made to foster film appreciation but they're also fun and binge-watchable for this Netflix generation,” Nadira added.
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“From edgy arthouse shorts to comedies, zombies, animated features to coming-of-age stories; the range of stories and films are really inclusive. There’s something for everyone!” Lim shared.
Besides Tayangan BMW Shorties, another event that local film enthusiasts are looking forward to is, of course, the BMW Shorties Awards Night
, where the Grand Prize Winner for this year’s competition will be announced.
According to BMW Group Malaysia’s Head of Corporate Communications Sashi Ambi, the entries they received this year are very diverse, with an interesting range of narratives.
“More women film makers also shared their films with us this year, which was very welcoming and very different from the previous years,” he shared.
“We also received many films from Sabah and Sarawak, which demonstrates that we are only scratching the surface with what BMW Shorties can do in the future in terms of discovering talent.”
This year, the Grand Prize Winner will receive RM80,000 in production grant to kickstart their next short film.
The awards night will also see winners of different supporting categories, including Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Editing, Best Sound Design, People’s Choice Award, as well as a new category for Best Student Award.
If you are just as excited to catch the prestigious BMW Shorties Awards Night happening on 23 November, 7pm at REXKL.
And for those who want to catch all the films that made it as a finalist, the exclusive screening will run from 2pm to 6pm on the same day.
For more information, visit here
or the Urbanscapes Facebook