Celebrate the Malaysians who put the “can” in Cannes

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The Malaysians have proven time and time again that they deserve international success at Cannes.

For some, going to the city of Cannes in the figurative or literal sense for a festival, a reward or even a vacation, is for many a guarantee of success.

In light of the recent announcement of the return of the Cannes Film Festival after a year-long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the film amateurs connoisseurs expect a new burst of cinematic talent across the globe.

Although no Malaysian titles are presented at the event this year, the city of Cannes on the French Riviera is still renowned for hosting other major festivals and awards such as the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and the Cannes Film Awards to name a few.

cannes film festival

In essence, the Cannes Film Festival is an annual film festival that premieres new films of all genres, including documentaries from around the world.

Besides its primary focus, it is also a roll call for glitz, glamor, networking, and parties.

That said, only a handful of Malaysians have graced this event and they are:

1995: Film by director U-Wei Haji Saari “Khaki Bakar “ (The Arsonist) was the first Malaysian production to appear in the Un Certain Regard category. This is a version of William Faulkner’s “Barn Burnin” on the son of a itinerant worker trying to keep his unstable father from deliberately starting fires.

2009: The second Malaysian to be invited to the prestigious film festival is Chris Chong Chan Fui with his film “KaraokeWhich focuses on the way of life of the villagers and the Malaysian palm oil industry. The film premiered in the Directors’ fortnight stream that year, an independent selection of the film festival.

2010: Following in the footsteps of Karaoke one year later at the Directors’ Fortnight, it’s The Tiger Factory by Woo Ming Jin, a deeply heartbreaking drama about “baby factories”.

2014 : Malaysian documentary producer Indrani Kopal, a Fulbright scholar at Hofstra University in New York at the time, was selected for her first production “The Game Changer”. The documentary on Susan Slotnick, which uses dance as a form of rehabilitation for inmates at Woodbourne Correctional Facility in New York City, was screened at Cannes Short Film Corner.

Cannes cinema award

Malaysians also made waves at the Cannes Film Awards. Not to be confused with the Cannes Film Festival, this international film festival celebrates cinema, filmmakers, producers, musicians, actors, screenwriters, photographers and the arts in general.

They aim to bring new names to the film industry and also support new creators.

Class Among the 100 most popular film festivals in 10,000 festivals around the world, the festival collaborates with experts in the field of European cinematographic art.

In its first year this year, two Malaysians each won an award at the Cannes Film Awards.

To touch“By Kurisu Lee, a 13-minute film about a young man and his dreams, won the Best Asian Film at the Film Awards – Continental category while”Garbageman, nurse and copAiman ​​Samat won the prize for best detective film in the Film Awards – Additional category.

The awards ceremony took place at the Cote d’Azur Art Gallery in Cannes, France on June 8.

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

For the advertising and creative communications industry, winning a Cannes Lions is equivalent to being selected for the Cannes Film Festival.

Malaysian agencies have in the past and are still winning at this event.

VJ Anand, former Executive Creative Director of advertising agency BBDO Malaysia and now Creative Director of VaynerMedia in Singapore, remembers when Malaysia was winning big at Cannes Lions.

Malaysia has always been good enough to win the global advertising scene and I’m sure Malaysia will continue to win.

He remembers that the first Cannes Lions Grand Prix in South East Asia and the only one in Malaysia (the most coveted honor of the awards) was in 2004 by JWT Malaysia for “Missile Car”, an imaginative guerrilla open air countryside to promote Channel Neuf.

Since then, other creative agencies who have followed the brilliant award trail include the following VJ noted for us:

2007: “Tang Hong Ming” by Leo Burnett / Arc Worldwide Malaysia – a TV commercial by renowned creative director and filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad. This is the first television commercial in Malaysia Won a Golden Lion of Cannes and remains arguably one of Malaysia’s most memorable commercials to this day.

2008: BBDO / Proximity Malaysia won Golden Lion for Chrysler Korea’s Jeep campaign in the Outdoor category.

2015 : When VJ was the group’s executive creative director at TBWA Kuala Lumpur, they were awarded the Silver Lion for The Everready Playbook which was inspired by the traditional Malaysian form of storytelling, the Wayang Kulit (Shadow Play).

More recently this year, Gray Malaysia Won Silver and bronze lion for the WWF Your plastic diet. And in association with the Cannes Lions, they also have Won the most coveted Grand Prix honor at the WARC Awards for Effectiveness for Tesco: Unforgettable bag.

There have been a lot of other Malaysians who have strutted with a Cannes Lion, and for that we have to be proud.

READ MORE: M’sian filmmaker wins Cannes 2019 award for incredible anti-harassment PSA


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About Monty S. Maynard

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