Finas fails to help local talents, says filmmaker

13 Jan 2023 11:49am
Photo source: 123RF
Photo source: 123RF

SHAH ALAM - Michelle Yeoh and Tsai Ming Liang both owe nothing to the arts policy in Malaysia, says filmmaker Pete Teo.

In a post on Twitter, Teo said the Malaysian film institutions have not earned the right to call these artists as their own.

"It makes my skin crawl that they (public institutions) try to," he said.

In a tweet thread, he continued by telling about generations of young Malaysian filmmakers that the institutions have lost.

"If you asked global film festival doyens from 2004 to 2010 this: “In which countries are the most talented young filmmakers emerging?'.

"Iran was one. Indonesia another. Mexico too. The so-called "New Wave generation" in Malaysia (of which I belonged) was also one.

"Yet... while the top young talents in these other countries went on to achieve great things in local and international cinema, their Malaysian peers largely stagnated and struggled from lack of funding and support," Teo wrote.

He claimed that the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) would help the talents in terms of aid but they were left with false hope.

Back in 2008, he said the New Wave generation filmmakers won the top the prize three of four years at Asia's premier film fest Busan International Film Festival (BIFF).

"BIFF director Kim Ji Seok offered to make a programme to showcase our work and host a party to promote us to regional producers.

"However, BIFF suffered a small budget cut that year, short of USD3,000 to host the event.

“Since the event was in aid of proven young Malaysian filmmakers, Kim was confident Finas would help.

"Kim contacted them but Finas refused, so everyone in the New Wave scene passed a hat around and the event went ahead anyway," he wrote.

Commenting further, Teo said rumours persisted that Finas refused because the leading lights of the New Wave were non-Malays.

Teo said back in 2006, Hong Kong actor Andy Lau funded Malaysian New Wave film "Rain Dogs" and it was nominated in Venice.

The film, he said was shot in Malaysia, the crews were Malaysians and it cast Malaysians, directed and produced by Malaysians and yet Hong Kong authorities claimed it as theirs.

He said Malaysia did not bother about the film and added that the film did not win an award.

"On the way back from a Hong Kong government sponsored party to celebrate the nomination, we walked past the poster of a new Tsai Ming Liang film headlining at the festival.

“It claimed the film as Taiwanese. I remember thinking “we’re orphans'," he said.