Film awards: Reconsider common assumptions

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PETALING JAYA: The majority of those opposing the language segregation enforced in some of the major categories in the Festival Filem Malaysia (FFM) are Malays, a prominent lawyer pointed out.

“Maybe y’all should reconsider your assumptions and generalisations about how Malays do not want to compete, want to retain the status quo, thrive on handouts and special treatment, etc.

“Oh what, you have no such assumption or generalisation? Yeah right,” Syahredzan Johan wrote, taking aim at negative stereotypes.

This year’s FFM nominations have attracted controversy because the Best Movie award was split into two categories, namely Bahasa Malaysia and non-Bahasa Malaysia.

Critically acclaimed movies such as “Ola Bola” by Chiu Keng Guan and “Jagat” by Shanjhey Kumar were grouped into the non-Bahasa Malaysia categories.

Chiu and Shanjhey were also nominated in the Best non-Bahasa Malaysia Director category.

The Malaysian Film Producers Association has since clarified that a movie can only be nominated in the best film category if 70% of its dialogue was in Bahasa Malaysia.

The segregation, however, led to many in the industry voicing out against the perceived racial segregation.

Actor and producer Afdlin Shauki was the first to announce that he would boycott this year’s FFM, winning praise from CIMB group Chairman Nazir Razak.

This was followed by fellow actor Riezman Khuzaimi, who also announced his intention to boycott the event.

On Tuesday, award-winning cinematographer Mohd Noor Kassim returned the two awards for cinematography he won in previous FFM award shows over the segregation controversy.

Mohd Noor, who was nominated for Best Cinematographer for his work in the war movie “Bravo 5” at this year’s event, also said that Malays should be brave to engage in healthy competition with other races.

Yesterday, television director Hafiz Ibrahim announced he was stepping down as assistant general secretary of The Film Director’s Association of Malaysia (FDAM) “as a matter of principle”.

In a Facebook post, Hafiz said he was adamant that all Malaysian films should be contested without segmentation, regardless of language, at FFM.

“I have formally informed the board of my intention and the status of my resignation is subject to the approval of the board.”