Sunday, January 14, 2007

In Berlin and In Competition.

Originally uploaded by yasmin the storyteller.
It's official. "Mukhsin" has been selected by the 57th Berlin International Film Festival. Alhamdulillah.

Not only that, our simple little film about first love is 'In Competition' in a category called "Generation".

"Generation", a 30-year old category that used to be called "Kinderfilmfest", comprises films that tell stories about youth.

"Mukhsin" will be competing with many films from around the world, including that extraordinary one called "The Dorm" from Thailand! So, quite pengsan lah.

Below is the list of the films in competition, the filmmakers behind them, and their countries of origin.

- "Blöde Mütze!" (Silly’s Sweet Summer) by Johannes Schmid, Germany 2007

- "Dek Hor" (Dorm) by Songyos Sugmakanan, Thailand 2006

- "Förortsungar" (Kidz in da Hood) by Ylva Gustavsson and Catti Edfeldt, Sweden 2006

- "Ice Keh-ki" (Ice Bar) by Yeo In-gwang, Republic of Korea 2006

- "Iszka Utazása" (Iska’s Journey) by Csaba Bollók, Hungary 2007

- "Je m’appelle Elisabeth" (Call Me Elisabeth) by Jean-Pierre Améris, France 2006

- "Kruistocht in Spijkerbroek" (Crusade in Jeans) by Ben Sombogaart, The Netherlands/Germany /Luxembourg/Belgium 2006

- "The Last Mimzy" by Robert Shaye, USA 2006

- "Leiutajateküla Lotte" (Lotte from Gadgetville) by Heiki Ernits and Janno Põldma, Estonia/Latvia 2006

- "Mukhsin" by Yasmin Ahmad, Malaysia 2006

- "Razzle Dazzle" by Darren Ashton, Australia 2006

- "Sipur Hatzi Russi" (Love & Dance) by Eitan Anner, Israel 2006

- "Trigger" by Gunnar Vikene, Norway/Sweden/Denmark 2006

- "U" by Grégoire Solotareff & Serge Elissalde, France 2006

Anyway, as usual, we're not really expecting to win anything. I for one never dreamed that any of our films would ever be selected by Berlin, the most prestigious film festival in the world, alongside Cannes.

What will make my trip to Berlin even more worthwhile is that Amir Muhammad's new film, "Apa Khabar Orang Kampung", the second and reputedly even better part of "Lelaki Komunis Terakhir", will also be in the 57th Berlinale under the "Forum" category for edgy films.

What a wonderful start to 2007, after a lovely end to 2006 when Ho Yuhang's "Rain Dogs" was selected for competition in Venice, and Tan Chui Mui's "Love Conquers All" won the first prize at Pusan.

According to the 'Federation Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Film', the most important and most respected accreditation of film festivals in the world, only 12 festivals are recognised as Top Tier "Competitive Feature Film Festivals". (The list below was cut-and-pasted from their website, The festivals are:

- Berlin International Film Festival (Germany)

- Mar Del Plata International Film Festival (Argentina)

- Cannes Film Festival (France)

- Shanghai International Film Festival (China)

- Moscow International Film Festival (Russia)

- Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (Czech Republic)

- Locarno International Film Festival (Switzerland)

- Montreal World Film Festival (Canada)

- Venice International Film Festival (Italy)

- San Sebastian International Film Festival (Spain)

- Tokyo International Film Festival (Japan)

- Cairo International Film Festival (Egypt)

In Tier Two, they list what they refer to as "Competitive Specialised Feature Film Festivals". And these are:

- Brussels (Fantasy films and science fiction films)

- Istanbul (Films on art : literature, theatre, music, dance, cinema & plastic arts)

- Wiesbaden (Films from Central and Eastern Europe)

- Troïa (Films from countries producing a maximum of 25 features yearly)

- Valencia Jove (New directors’ films)

- Valencia Mediterranean (Films from Mediterranean countries)

- Sarajevo (Films from Central and South-Eastern Europe)

- Namur (French-language films)

- Frankfurt (Films for children)

- Bogota (New directors’ films)

- Pusan (Films from new directors of Asian countries)

- Warsaw (First and second features)

- Ghent (Impact of music on films)

- Sao Paulo (New directors’ films)

- Kyiv (Young directors’ films)

- Torino (New directors’ films)

- Stockholm (Films on new cinematographic orientations)

- Thesssaloniki (New directors’ films)

- Gijon (Films for young people)

- India (Goa) (Asian films)

- Sitges (Fantasy films)

- Courmayeur (Police and mystery films)

- Kerala (Trivandrum) (Films from Asia, Africa & Latin America)

Just when some folks were getting used to making fun of "indie" achievements as "festival nyamuk" (mosquito festivals), the latest batch gains recognition from the biggest, most respected festivals in the world.

Alhamdulillah, rabbana walakalhamdu. "Awasilah doa orang yang dianiaya." (Beware the prayers of the down-trodden.)

Allah is great.