PETALING JAYA, Aug 19 — Action movie Geran has made Malaysia proud by winning the “‘Daniel A. Craft Award for Excellence in Action Cinema” at the 19th New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF).

The award puts director Areel Abu Bakar on the same pedestal as other notable Asian directors like Dante Lam (Operation Red Sea), Yue Song (The Bodyguard), and Jung Byung-gil (The Villaines), all of whom won in the same category in previous years.

Areel told Bernama that the award was an unexpected blessing and he sees it as a sign of appreciation for the Geran production crew and fans who helped bring Malay martial arts to the global stage.

“We never anticipated an award as big as this from a foreign party. This is Geran’s first award and it’s my maiden film as well,” he said.

Geran premiered in cinemas in Malaysia and Brunei last October and depicts two siblings in a family of silat Gayong practitioners who set out to find their younger brother after he runs off with the grant of their land inheritance.

The film was produced on an independent budget by Layar Pictures and Tree of Hope Productions and stars Namron, Khoharullah Majid, Feina Tajuddin, Fad Anuar, Megat Shahrizal, and Azlan Komeng who also choreographed the silat action scenes.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah congratulated the Geran cast and crew on the achievement and said it was a proud moment for the local film industry.

He told Bernama that the award will also provide a boost of encouragement for Malaysian filmmakers to set their sights on getting their work to the Oscars in the near future.

“It is also in line with the framework and direction of the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) to bring the target to reality in the long run. 

“Such efforts should be continued to empower the local film industry at the international level,” Saifuddin was quoted as saying.

The NYAFF is the flagship event of the New York Asian Film Foundation which aims to spotlight Asian film culture in all forms on an international platform.

The festival will be held virtually from August 28 to September 12 this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.