Heavy censorship pushes director to pull movie off

A screen capture of local director Erma Fatima's post on instagram announcing the cancellation of her latest film, 'Pesan Dari Tuhan'.
A screen capture of local director Erma Fatima's post on instagram announcing the cancellation of her latest film, 'Pesan Dari Tuhan'.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 28 — A local film director decided to pull her movie off Sistem Television Berhad (TV3) which was expected to air tonight, after being told to make significant editing.

Speaking to Malay Mail Online over the phone, Erma Fatima said she was told by TV3 this week to cut some scenes in the film titled ‘Pesan Dari Tuhan’, specifically those on electing village head, due to its political “sensitivity”.

“Just to be clear, it is not banned. They (TV3) are going to air it if I am willing to cut (some scenes), around 30 to 40 cuts,” she said when asked to confirm if her movie was banned after some social media users talked about it today.

“But I do not agree (to cut), so I choose not to air it,” she said.

The movie is about the lives of villagers after their village was hit by flood.

Earlier today, Twitter users took to the popular social media network to air their dissatisfaction over the “banned” movie and attaching it with the hashtag, #PesanDariTuhan.

Many expressed support for Erma over Twitter and also Instagram by retweeting and regramming her post on her Instagram account, in which she posted a short video announcing the cancellation of her movie.

Popular local artists such as actress Nora Danish also expressed support by questioning the reason behind ‘banning’ the movie on her Twitter and Instagram accounts: “Telefilm #pesandariTuhan arahan @erma_fatima di banned. Kenapa?” (translated: Telefilm  #pesandariTuhan directed by @erma_fatima was banned. Why?)

Another local film, ‘New Village’, was suspended in 2013 after it was accused of glorifying communism.

The Film Censorship Board (LPF) has reviewed the movie, and after a second review by Home Ministry, it remained banned. 

Local news portal The Star Online reported the ministry’s written response to DAP’s Nga Kor Ming question in Parliament on May, confirming that the movie is still banned. 

The ministry added that the film “appeared to aimed at altering historical facts”. 

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