Since the year 2000, when Malaysian independent filmmaking started as an underground movement, several films have surfaced into the mainstream via private/public initiatives, media coverage and public screenings. This dualistic position of eluding and colluding with the formal structures of state control, has become an important site in the struggle for creating and expanding the ‘democratic space’. Different sensibilities in narrative and aesthetic are being explored in resistance to the Malay cultural and linguistic hegemony. Inevitably, independent filmmakers and video artists are adopting Chinese, Indian and English dialogues to empathetically reflect the different realities and imaginations.

The following works have been chosen to reflect not only the predilection of the new filmmakers but also the unique social and cultural circumstances that predominate ex-urban KL and the surrounding countryside.

South to South | Tan Chiu Mui | 2005 | 11:00 min.
Set in 1984 in Kuantan, at a time when thousands of Vietnamese refugees fled to the shores of peninsular Malaysia’a east coast. This film is about Chinese diasporas and how centuries of war and famine has made eating a ritual. 

Kalsom | Sheik Munasar | 2006 | 10:00 min.
Street food hawker Kalsom leads a dreary life with her emotionally detached stepson Saiful while nursing her paralyzed husband, Kassim. But Pak Ali, Kalsom’s old flame, still harbours feelings for her despite her repeated rejections. As the truth starts to unravel, Kalsom comes to terms with her fears and desires as they threaten to shatter the sleepy village of Carey Island.

Grey Avenue | Eugene Foo | 2003 | 5:00 min.
A visual feast of a surreal world brought into existence & sustained by an inspiring musical piece. This animated short depicts the beauty of surrealism and fantasy art in rhythmic motion.

The Idiots | Mohamad Alfi | 2006 | 10:00 min.
A post- apocalyptic road movie set on the outskirts of the remnants of the once thriving Kuala Lumpur. A father and his family encounter a group of characters that represent a different value system to his, or so he first thinks…

It’s OK what’s happening right now | Nazim Esa 2005 | 5:00 min.
Compiled still images are woven together to create movement in space, time, and emotion. The unfolding events sneak up behind the hypnotic rolling scenario.

Tuesday Be My Friend | Chris Chong Chan-Fui  | 2006 | 8:00 min.
A story about making choices, in which a young Chinese Malaysian girl’s secret love for Muslim headscarves (tudung) leads her to overstep her boundaries. With the little interaction between the Chinese and Malay communities, Shiuan fears that none of her friends or family will understand. So this Tuesday, she decides to take a leap towards her own self-discovery.

Man In Love | Liew Seng Tat | 2007 | 4:00 min.
An enigmatic man speaks to his lover about their affair, but she doesn’t give an answer. In the end, he is only talking to the rain. By that time, the mood is so melancholy that it can’t possibly be a joke any more.