Malaysian co-directed, low-budget silent film makes debut in New York’s Tribeca Film Festival

(From left) Darius Shu, Arron Blake and Philip Brisebois on the red carpet premiere at Tribeca Film Festival 2019, New York. — Picture courtesy of Darius Shu
(From left) Darius Shu, Arron Blake and Philip Brisebois on the red carpet premiere at Tribeca Film Festival 2019, New York. — Picture courtesy of Darius Shu

PETALING JAYA, April 29 — A Malaysian co-directed silent psychological thriller made its North American debut at the Tribeca Film Festival currently taking place in New York.

His Hands is the directorial debut of London-based Malaysian cinematographer Darius Shu and British actor Arron Blake.

The 13-minute short film made it to Tribeca Film Festival’s official selection where it will be screened for four nights as part of its North American premiere.

The film is one of 63 short films selected from over 5,000 hopeful entries.

Shu, who is in New York for the premiere and red carpet, informed Malay Mail of the news today.

Darius Shu and his co-director Arron Blake never expected the low-budget short film to do so well. — Picture courtesy of Darius Shu
Darius Shu and his co-director Arron Blake never expected the low-budget short film to do so well. — Picture courtesy of Darius Shu

“We are truly excited and happy about this as it’s something we never expected when we made this low budget GBP400 (RM2,000) short silent film, with only a three-man crew,” Shu told Malay Mail via email.

“My aim was to prove that we could make something amazing and beautiful for the budget and resources that we have.”

The film is also Shu and Blake’s debut film under the production companies Little Deer Films and Silverprince Pictures.

Shu also served as cinematographer while Blake wrote and starred in the film alongside West End performer Philp Brisebois.

His Hands which tells the story of a strange encounter between a young man and an older man, seeks to highlight themes such as ageism and loneliness.

Blake said he and Shu wanted to create a film that speaks to the audience through compelling performances, unusually imagery, lighting and sound.

“We want viewers to question what they see, feel a myriad of emotions and work out what this piece means to them.

“We kept it silent so that it’s open to everyone and we’re thrilled with the reaction it’s had so far,” said Blake in a press statement.

In the UK, His Hands has been receiving critical acclaim, picking up awards at the Oniros Film Awards and was screened at the Perth International Queer Film Festival.

Mark Gatiss, writer and producer of Sherlock and the upcoming Netflix series Dracula, described the film as “a beguilingly beautiful gem” while Unsettled Magazine called it “a masterpiece built on suspense and appealing imagery”.

“The film offers a stimulating and exhilarating vision of the world and the dark and dangerous society in which we live,” said Shu, an award-winning cinematographer.

Last year, the Kelana Jaya-native won several cinematography awards for the short film Secret Child, based on the Gordon Lewis bestselling book about the true story of a young boy growing up in a Dublin Catholic hostel.

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