Finas hints at changes in film festival format

PETALING JAYA: The controversial non-Malay categories created for the national film festival this year may be cancelled after an uproar reported in the media and boycott by several film personalities.

This was hinted at by National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) Director-General Kamil Othman, who said any announcement on the matter would be made by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry.

He said Finas was still busy collecting feedback from interested parties in the film industry, Malay Mail Online reported.

“I can’t say that it’s impossible. After I gauged all the views from tonight (Monday), it might just happen.

“Even if there are changes, it would not be shocking.

“Tomorrow (Tuesday), we will be meeting with academicians. University linguists,” he told reporters after the Tanya Finas 2.0 programme here last night, the news portal reported.

The two non-Bahasa Malaysia film categories were created for this year’s Malaysia Film Festival (FFM).

The uproar began when films such as Ola Bola and Jagat, which had been nominated for best film, best screenplay and best director awards, were placed in the non-Malay language categories instead of the main categories.

Popular local cinematographer Mohd Noor Kassim was one of those who had withdrawn from being nominated at the FMM next month.

Kamil said however that Mohd Noor’s move “would not bring a big impact” to Finas as it was the movie producer who decides on the nominees.

“Those categories were already chosen and those nominated were producers. What if he withdraws but the producers say they want it? What does he want to do?

“Producers merely hire cameramen. If he rejects (the nomination), then the award would go to the producer. Boycotting is merely a message that they are unhappy.”

Kamil explained that using the national language made it easier for a Malaysian movie to contest in international film festivals, which required the films to be made in the official language.

He said several films were previously rejected from being nominated.

“We have already submitted Lelaki Harapan Dunia for an Oscar nomination.

“There was one film from Mali which was sent for the Academy Awards, but owing to the film being 60% in French, it was rejected.”

Actor and filmmaker Afdlin Shauki also announced a boycott of this year’s film awards.