After uproar, Finas says non-Malay movie categories for FFM may be cancelled

Finas director-general  Datuk Kamil Othman said that the two non-Bahasa Malay film categories created for this year's Malaysian Film Festival may be abolished. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
Finas director-general Datuk Kamil Othman said that the two non-Bahasa Malay film categories created for this year's Malaysian Film Festival may be abolished. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 ― After an open discussion with filmmakers and the media yesterday, the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) said that the three non-Bahasa Malaysia film categories created for this year's Malaysia Film Festival (FFM) may be abolished.

Finas director-general  Datuk Kamil Othman said that should the matter be finalised, the decision will be announced by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry.

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

“The ministry will make the announcement. Not Finas. They are handling the matter and it won't take long.

“Even if there are changes, it would not be a shocking one. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we will be meeting with academicians. University linguists,” he told reporters after the Tanya Finas 2.0 programme here last night.

Kamil was also asked about popular local cinematographer Mohd Noor Kassim who had withdrew himself from being nominated at the FFM next month.

However, Kamil said that Mohd Noor's move “would not bring a big impact” to Finas as it is the movie producers who decide on the nominees.

“Those categories were already chosen and those who 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, then the award would go to the producer. Boycotting is merely a message to they are unhappy.

“So tonight, we want to know why aren't they happy. They are not happy because they did not understand FFM in its entirety and this case is not easy,” he added, referring to those in the media industry who have criticised FFM's move to segregate the categories based on language.

Kamil said that it is pertinent for a film to use the national language to make it easier to be contested at international film festivals.

He said that several films which were previously rejected from being nominated proved that the usage of the national language is the utmost criteria in a film festival.

“We have already submitted Lelaki Harapan Dunia for an Oscar nomination. Their official condition was that the films sent must be in the official language of the country from which it is from.

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

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