Finas chief: Arrogance, not BM, behind film row

kamil othman

PETALING JAYA: Arrogance, not Bahasa Malaysia, lies at the heart of the week-long row over the Malaysian film awards, according to the head of Finas, the national film development corporation.

Finas director-general Kamil Othman, was reported to have said on Twitter: “Its about arrogance vs reason, old world vs new, and good films vs the not so good”.

The row has led to the resignation of two officials of the film directors association, a boycott, and a cinematographer’s withdrawal of his nomination.

The controversy began when two films, Ola Bola, and Jagat, were disqualified from contending for Best Picture because they failed to meet a requirement of 70 per cent Bahasa Malaysia content. Instead Festival Filem Malaysia announced new categories of non-Bahasa Malaysia awards for Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Director.

As the row heated up last week, Kamil had said last Saturday, also on Twitter: “If only everyone knows how difficult any transformation process can become. We’re changing decades old mindsets”, Malay Mail Online reported.

On Wednesday, the communications ministry, which has oversight over Finas, announced that the Best Picture award would be open to all films, and announced a new award for Best Picture in the National Language.

On Thursday, Finas said the Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Director awards would be open to all.

However, yesterday, an official of the film directors’ association said the new Best Picture in National Language award should be elevated above Best Picture and be considered the “main” honour.

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