The homegrown project was one of 56 films from seven genres to be shown at this annual event that celebrates the best of popular culture.
PETALING JAYA: Filmmaker Jared Lee’s “Horologist” started off as a comic book – a project to occupy his time when he was unable to make films during the pandemic.
Thanks to a grant from the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation, he was able to turn his comic into a six-minute animated short. It has since been shown at several international film festivals, including Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner earlier this year.
On Sunday (July 23), Lee’s short film added another feather to its cap when it picked up the Best Animation award at the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival 2023, held as part of the Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) event.
“It was already surreal to be able to premiere our film and share it as a panel at SDCC. Winning best animation on top of that feels like a strong affirmation of what we do,” said Lee.
The 38-year-old is the founder of local production house Grim Film, which co-produced the short alongside animation and illustration studio Dino Howl.
“When you start, people say ‘trust the process’, and this made it clear,” Lee added.
He told FMT Lifestyle that there are talks about turning “Horologist” into a feature-length film, but he would have to continue writing it before anything else could happen.
Lee was also congratulated by communications and digital minister Fahmi Fadzil in a Facebook post, which reads: “This is a great achievement for Malaysian animation, as it is the first Malaysian animated film to win this award.”
“Horologist”, which tells the story of Sand, a shopkeeper who sells time to wealthy customers, previously picked up the Best Animation award at the USA International Film Festival 2023.
It was also screened at this year’s Atlantic Bridge International Film Festival, and was nominated for the Best Animation and Audience Choice awards at Poland’s International Animated Festival “Animator”.
The Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival was held from July 20-23 at the San Diego Convention Centre. The event screens and honours some of the very best in genre-related short and long films.
Trophies and prizes are presented to winning films in categories such as action/adventure, animation, documentary, and science fiction/fantasy.
A total of 56 films from seven different pop-culture genres were screened at this year’s event, which featured filmmakers from countries including Canada, China, Egypt, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
This year’s judges were award-winning film composer Nami Melumad (“Thor: Love and Thunder”, “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds”), award-winning concept artist and artistic director Phillip Boutté Jr (“Black Panther”, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”, “Inception”), and film director, producer and writer Anthony C Ferrante (the “Sharknado” series, “Nix”).