5 Thai films you can watch for free this April!

5 Thai films you can watch for free this April!

5 Thai films U can watch for free this April!

Thai Film Festival in Kuala Lumpur: 20-26th April '17

// Scroll to the bottom to find out how to claim free tickets

#1

A Gift

// COMEDY / DRAMA / ROMANCE
An intriguing romantic film, a four-director omnibus examining love in all its aspects. Using musical compositions by the late King of Thailand, three separate but related episodes, with titles drawn from the King’s compositions, are tied together by themes of love: romantic, familial, platonic and passionate. The film tells the story of 6 people who are trying to overcome challenges that life has thrown at them. The first episode features two people who are asked to act as a married ambassador couple at a scholarship award event despite not knowing each other. The second features a woman who quits her job to take care of her Alzheimer-ridden father who starts getting back his memories after she plays her mother`s favorite song on the piano. The final episode looks at a retired rocker who now works as a financial analyst, but is invited to join an amateur band with his co-workers.

#2

One Day

// DRAMA / ROMANCE
Denchai is a geeky 30-year-old IT officer whose existence is only acknowledged when his colleagues, who often forget his name, need tech support. His world is flipped upside down when he goes to fix a printer for a new girl in the marketing department named Nui. She gets his name correct, making him feel valued once again and from that moment, Denchai falls head over heels for Nui, but only admires her secretly from afar, since he knows that Nui is out of his league.
Things take a strange turn while they are on a company outing in Hokkaido. Denchai makes a wish at the resort’s landmark Lucky ‘N Love Bell for Nui to be his girl for just one day. He may get his chance after she suffers an accident and is diagnosed with TGA, a rare temporary memory loss disorder which lasts for just one day. Denchai decides to tell Nui a lie: he is her boyfriend and they had plans to travel around Hokkaido together. Ethics aside, will Denchai get his dream girl, if only for just one day?

#3

Take Me Home

// HORROR
After losing his memory from an accident, Tan tried to find his identity. Eventually, he found something and led him back to his home sweet home. The more he knows them, the more he learns to fear of their secrets of his so-called family.

#4

The Crown

// DRAMA
A father, Satta, (Ekkachai Srivichai), who is almost blind, is a Manora dancer and leader. He gives high respect to the Manora crown. When he has to pass on his practices, he has serious arguments with his son, Sing, as he prefers guitar to Manora art and doesn’t want to be involved in the family’s heritage. The movie is directed by Ekkachai Srivichai who is a famous singer from the South of Thailand. His songs are often sad romances. His movie shows the great culture of Manora art and the Thai southern spirit deep rooted in the heart of the people.

#5

Mr Hurt

// COMEDY / DRAMA / ROMANCE
A perfect world champion tennis pro “Don Sri-Chang” (Sunny Suwanmethanont) who is an idol for everyone. He’s both lucky in game and lucky in love that his girlfriend is a superstar. Later, his girlfriend turned his marriage proposal down to date with a rock star. Don was left heartbroken. After having sunk into misery for months, his long-lost friend, “Dew” appears from nowhere and revives his paralyzed mind. Can this girl be the game changer in Don’s love life?

Free Ticket Redemption

Tickets to Thai Film Festival in Malaysia 2017 will be screened for FREE, courtesy of Royal Thai Embassy to Malaysia.

To redeem the free tickets, just present a printout or take a snapshot of any Thai Film Festival in Malaysia 2017 articles in any publication, online postings or GSC digital channels and you will be get two (2) complimentary tickets at GSC Pavilion KL, GSC Mid Valley or GSC 1Utama ticketing counters.

Terms & Conditions:

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Suffragette (2015)

Suffragette (2015)

Suffragette (2015)

A 2015 British historical period drama film about women's suffrage in the United Kingdom

If you haven’t already, today is a good day to watch the film Suffragette (2015). IIRC, this movie didn’t reach Malaysian cinemas.

This story is about the women who were jailed, beaten and abused for campaigning for their right to vote – sometimes involving elements of militancy. It also documents how many British males were not supportive of what their suffragette spouses.

Believe or not, all women were only allowed to vote in the UK in 1928, behind Australia, New Zealand and the Russian Empire, among others.

In contrast, our grandparents didn’t have to spill blood specifically for universal suffrage in Malaya, Sarawak or Sabah.

Official trailer by Transmission Films

Happy International Women’s Day!

Banned film’s director searches for M’sian identity

Banned film’s director searches for M’sian identity

Banned film's director searches for M'sian identity

Show Ying Xin | 3 March 2017
中文版

Lau Kek Huat

He was born in Sitiawan, Perak, the hometown of the last Malayan Communist Party (MCP) secretary-general, Chin Peng. During festivals, his family members will light up candles and burn incenses in front of a portrait of his grandfather. However, the story of his grandfather was never told.

The grandfather was a MCP member. One day, the family heard three gunshots, they knew that he had been killed by the British forces. From then on, his father has no memories of his communist father.

Lau Kek Huat, 38, graduated from National Taiwan University of Arts, majoring in motion pictures. His debut feature documentary “Absent Without Leave” initially looks for the connection between his grandfather, father and himself, but eventually digs out the forgotten chapter of Malaysia’s official history.

Initially, he wanted to find out everything about his communist grandfather, but that journey went beyond his control. He managed to interview a number of ex-communist fighters and anti-Japanese soldiers.

However, the documentary was banned from being screened in Malaysia, for “having elements which may be negative for national development”.

Undoubtedly, Lau was disappointed about the ban.

“I thought it could be shown in Malaysia, this is my promise to them (the former communists),” said Lau in an interview with Malaysiakini.

“I planned to invite them to the cinema, and they will receive applause from the audience – that on-site feeling would be different.”

He believes that his interviewees would like to know what contemporary Malaysians’ views toward them are.

Empathy for the fighters

The 83-minute documentary was made from historical materials and interview clips of 60 hours. Lau hopes that through this film, Malaysian audiences can feel empathy for those who joined the independent struggles during that historical period.

“I think it’s with neither overbearing nor servile attitude that we proceed to tell their stories. We need to feel their feelings – not heroically, also not tragically.”

What if his grandfather was not a communist member, but helping the Commonwealth armed forces to kill the communists? Lau will still tell such a story of his grandfather, he said.

“I hope we have more stories from both sides. It’s important for self-reflection.”

The film’s production house Hummingbird Pictures claims that the film’s intention was not to portray the communists in a heroic light.

“The history of the Malayan Communist Party is a scar in the collective memory of this country… without mutual understanding, there is no chance for us to recover.”

So, the production house decided to make the film available for free online – only for Malaysians – between Feb 28 and March 5.

Lau Kek Huat studied business at the National University of Singapore before he became a primary school teacher in the country. Later, he decided to further study film in Taiwan.

He was awarded the Best Short Film Award twice (2009 and 2013) as well as the Best Director Award (2009) by the Taiwan Golden Harvest Festival, and has directed a few acclaimed short films.

He was selected as candidate in Golden Horse Academy 2013, which was led by renowned Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien.

In an interview, he mentioned Hou’s masterpiece “A City of Sadness”, where in one scene at a dinner table, he felt the same repressive atmosphere which his family shares.

Lau has been estranged from his father since young. They didn’t even speak with each other for almost a decade after Lau moved to Taiwan.

It turned out that his “absent father” also has an absent father – the communist grandfather who died young.

So he brought back his video camera from Taiwan, seeking stories of absent fathers from his family members and relatives.

5-year journey

Beyond his expectations, the 5-year journey of searching family histories dug up a hidden, untold chapter of Malaysian history.

Lau eventually went to Southern Thailand, Hong Kong and China to interview a number of former communist members. Some of them were sent back to China in the 60s, some stayed in Southern Thailand “peace villages”, while some returned to Malaysia after 1989 Hatyai Peace Agreement.

During the revolutionary era, many of the fighters were not necessarily well-equipped with Marxist theory or ideas of communism, but they were directly dissatisfied with foreign invasion and all forms of oppression. So, they chose to fight against injustice in the method they believed was right.

Yet, Lau is reluctant to tell these people’s stories through a grand historical narrative, as it will easily fall into the battle of ideology. He wants to avoid judging them in our own terms.

“I don’t have any political position, and I don’t want to argue whether theirs were right or wrong… I don’t want to use ‘big history’ or any political position to apply to them.”

“They believed in something, sacrificed their youth or even life for it. They should have their dignity preserved.”

“Human dignity can’t be violated… what I want to depict is the dignity of these seemingly small characters (under big history).”

‘Not a historian’

Many of these interviewees are already over 80 or 90 years old, but they still believe what they sacrificed will pay off – a change for a better world.

“I am not a historian, thus I am not rewriting history. Filming is about telling stories of the past, about how the past influences us.”

“Or, it is about what people will benefit from the past, when they understand history through films.”

Intentionally, “Absent Without Leave” did not interview any leaders of the struggles, but those untold characters with “flesh and blood”.

Some interviewees also expressed their curiosity to Lau, on why he doesn’t tell the stories of their party or leaders – why small characters like them?

“They have been burdened with too much pressure, the suffering was so big that they even didn’t think of themselves as a human being (but only subordinated to a party).”

“We also forgot that they are humans, we tend to use all kinds of labels to judge them. But we forgot that they are also humans, they participated (in communist struggles) just for simple reasons.”

Lau confessed that he knew little of communist history before shooting this film. In school, textbooks described the communists as terrorists; in society, such “sensitive” topics are not openly discussed; while in the family, many do not wish to recall the painful memories.

As a filmmaker, he challenges himself to touch upon taboos or things that he fears, such as the communist history and the relationship between father and son.

He browsed through related books on Malayan communists, including ex-members’ memoirs and essays written by researchers. He also spent quite a lot of money on getting historical film archives, only to allow audiences to really feel the atmosphere of that era.

Search for M’sian identity

Like many who grew up from Chinese-educated background, Lau’s Malaysian identity has always been obscured by racial politics. For him, this film allows him to return to the homeland.

In the last scene of the film, Lau accompanied his father back to Sitiawan to look for the ancestral house where his father was born, and possibly where his grandfather was killed.

However, they couldn’t find the exact location as the place is now surrounded by oil palm plantation.

“I don’t know where it (old house) is now,” his father said.

In the film, Lau’s aunt revealed that whenever his grandfather came back from the jungle, he would bring her and Lau’s father to shower – something that Lau’s father has no memories of.

“He (father) thought he has no father, but (after watching this clip)his expression seems to tell you that he found the bond connecting himself and his father,” Lau said.

“Only when people find the connection, then they would know they truly live in this place.”

“I, too, have been trying to find the connection. Or else, you have no ties with your homeland.”

A daughter’s journey in getting to know her father

A daughter’s journey in getting to know her father

A daughter’s journey in getting to know her father

19

AUGUST, 2016

Not a lot of us know what our parents lives were like before they had us, probably because you never think there would be much worth knowing about. To be fair though, most of our parents probably did live lives that weren’t very shocking.

Ashleigh Lim’s father, on the other hand, has a life that would be incomparable to most. As she began her journey in getting to know her father, she decided to take things a step further and film the entire process.

Ashleigh Lim

Stories From My Father is a short film by Ashleigh Lim, a 40 year old simulation artist from Muar. The film documents her experience as she goes on a journey to discover her father’s dark past.  

Trailer for Stories From My Father

Ashleigh’s father was detained without trial, from 1968 to 1974, under the Internal Security Act for his involvement in the Labour Party which was subsequently outlawed because of its pro-communist leanings.

Poster of Stories From My Father

The film offers us a glimpse into his experience during his detention and his life after it. It also follows his continued friendship with other ex-detainees as well as life with his family.

Ashleigh wanted to share her father’s story with the world and so pitched her idea in an entry for a film grant competition organised annually by FreedomFilmFest. She ended up winning the grant and started making the film in June of this year.

“The production period is quite short, only 2 months, so it was very hectic. I work a full time job so I only have weekends to shoot. My team was also very small, only 3 people. It is me, my camera man, who is also my editor, and my production manager who gives me proper input and helps me with the overall vision of the film,” she said.

She did say, however, that the people at KOMAS, the organisers of FreedomFilmFest, were incredibly supportive and made the experience a lot easier for her.

“Before making this film, I didn’t know much about the short film industry in Malaysia. I watched certain social documentaries, but not any from Malaysia. Most of the films that KOMAS helps produce are actually very good and opens your mind.”

She was first inspired to make the film when Seong Foong & Victor, winners of last year’s FreedomFilmFest film grant, encouraged her to share her father’s story.

“Don’t only watch mainstream films.”

“They made a film called Memory as Resistance, through a grant from KOMAS as well. Their film premiered at the festival last year. They heard about my father’s story when they came to Muar to do the film premiere. They got interested in it and thought it was a great story to film,” Ashleigh said.

When asked about how her father felt about the whole thing, Ashleigh said that he was, in fact, extremely excited by the idea of sharing his stories.

“I think he was very happy. He never thought he would be someone in a film. He’s been very supportive too. When I was small, he didn’t try to hide his story, but we didn’t talk about it much. I never knew his whole story. I think it’s mostly because I never brought it up. It’s not really something people in the family like talking about. We preferred just the regular chit chat. So whatever my father described was a total shock to me.”

This is actually Ashleigh’s first film and, since she’s had no experience with the film industry in the past, ended up being a huge learning experience for her. She said her favourite part of the process was the experience she had shooting.

“It was a very challenging experience but I enjoyed it. Learning how to form the structure of the stories was really nice. You get to know the different ways to tell stories and what types of presentation will attract people,” she said. “A friend of mine and I are also working on doing motion graphics for the film, meaning 2d animation. People always think documentaries have too much talking since most films just try to show as much information as they can to the audience. I don’t think social documentaries should be boring. Even if you have a good story, the way you present it is important.”

Ashleigh also hopes that the film will encourage viewers to learn more about the underrepresented or less talked about issues people in our country face.

“Don’t only watch mainstream films,” she said. “I want people to try opening their minds. A lot of people don’t like talking to other people who have different opinions. Try to be more understanding of other people’s stories. Close minded people are not good for society.”

Poster of Memory As Residence

Stories From My Father will premiere at FreedomFilmFest 2016 on the 20th of August at the PJ Live Arts theater.

Entry is by donation of RM20 for the whole day or RM150 for the whole festival which runs from the 20th to 27th of August. Free admission is given to students and senior citizens.

The Team Behind FreedomFilmFest

The Team Behind FreedomFilmFest

The Team Behind
FreedomFilmFest

Here’s a fun fact for you:

Malaysia’s leading international human rights film festival only has one coordinator each year who orchestrates the whole thing.

What goes on behind the scenes is usually the determining factor of whether an event is successful or not. FreedomFilmFest (FFF) is known for being one of the largest film events in the country despite its small organizing committee. Organized by the NGO, Pusat KOMAS, the festival aims to create a platform for activists and filmmakers to showcase their works to the public.

On a Saturday afternoon, not too long away from FreedomFilmFest 2016, four of the former coordinators sat down with the founder of the festival, Anna Har, and together reminisced about the old times. These were Effa Desa, Mien Ly, Maisarah and Lena Hendry, four ladies who together have extensive experience coordinating what is one of the country’s most successful festivals.

The ladies gathered together in the KOMAS office, this being the first time in a while all of them were together in the same room, and together recollected some of their favourite memories from the times they helped coordinate the event.

From left to right: Anna Har, Maisarah, Effa Desa, Mien Ly, Lena Hendry

“Most festivals have like 10 people for publicity, 5 for mobilising and we’re like ‘ok so we have 2 people for [the whole of] FreedomFilmFest”

Lena Hendry

Coordinator of FreedomFilmFest

How it all started

Anna, founder and current director of the festival began by talking about the humble beginnings of what is now the most established human rights festival in Malaysia.

“We worked on the ground with communities and were involved in producing videos…”

“That nobody wanted to watch,” added Mien Ly. “We couldn’t screen it on major or mainstream TV and there was a lack of alternative places.”

“We needed to do something. So we had a film screening and we called it a festival, even though at the time it was just a small screening,” said Anna. “Before the internet days, it was really hard to spread stuff. So we would cover unknown issues and use the festival as a platform.”

Anna Har

Anna Har

Founder of FreedomFilmFest

How it all evolved

“It started off as 2 days, now it’s 10 days,” Lena said, evoking laughter from everyone in the room.

“It’s massive now,” Mien Ly said.

FreedomFilmFest started off as just a 2 day screening, during a weekend in November of 2003. Short weekends soon turned into a week, however, as the festival began to screen more and more films. The festival this year lasts 8 days, running from the 20th to 27th of August.

“Every year, we talk about bringing it down. Oh it shouldn’t be one week, it should just be done during the weekend. But it ends up being much longer,” Lena said.

“There are a lot of films to show,” added Mien Ly.

“But now we also have things like forums, workshops, talks…it’s not just screenings anymore,” Lena said.

As years went by, the festival began to have more than just one screening as well.

The festival first reached a wider Malaysian audience in 2009, when screenings were held in Penang and Johor. In the coming years, they had further community screenings in places like Perak, Sabah and Sarawak. There were even international screenings, organised by Malaysians living abroad or through connections with international film festivals.

“We provide support to people interested in doing it. The organizers in the states are important. We can’t be running around, so we support from here. Organizers from each state do everything and get involved in the whole process,” Lena said.

“We also got connections with international film festivals. We are part of an international network of human rights festivals,” Anna said.

In 2011, Hana Kulhankova, the festival director of One World International Human Rights Film Festival in Prague, the largest human rights’ film festival in the world, was FreedomFilmFest’s special guest and head judge. And in 2014, FFF films were screened at the Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival in Germany & the One World Film festival in Czech Republic, the largest international human rights film festival in the world.

“We still only have 1 coordinator though” laughed Anna.

“An amazing thing about it though, is how we get so much done with so little resources. A 10 day festival is organized by just 2 people, the coordinator and the director, and a few other volunteers,” said Lena.

“It’s a challenge but it’s pretty amazing,” said Effa.

Community screening in Pahang

Lena at a screening in Sarawak

Hana Kulhankova at FreedomFilmFest

The challenges they’ve faced along the way

“Ticketing and distribution is still a challenge. Although it looks very big and massive, we still cannot go public very much,” said Anna

“It’s often the same people who come back, and they bring their friends,” Maisarah said.

“Most malaysian brands don’t cover us. Because we don’t go through the film censorship board, it still feels like we’re an underground event,” Anna said.

“NTV7 once had a dedicated channel to talk about community issues, so they covered our event every year and interviewed filmmakers. However, that was just in the first few years. After some time, the people at the station no longer worked there,” Mien Ly said. “8TV also once invited us and specifically told us not to say the words ‘human rights’ but we said it anyway and got in trouble with the producers. Maybe that’s why we didn’t get invited back,” she chuckled.

“The press coverage really depends on the issues themselves. When you have so-called ‘sensitive’ films, journalists aren’t willing to cover our stories,” said Lena.

“In the alternative world, we are quite established but the thing is, I wish we could reach out to the general public,” Anna added.

FreedomFilmFest has had their fair shares of issues with the authorities as well. As Mien Ly jokingly put it, they are ‘semi-illegal’ and so give law enforcers a reason to misuse their powers.

They also reflected on their fears of being caught by the authorities in the old days. As Mien Ly jokingly put it, they are ‘semi-illegal’ and so give law enforcers a reason to misuse their powers.

“You think now is scary, those days were even scarier. There were only a few of us and if any of us kena caught, there wouldn’t be much of us left,” said Anna

Anna at FreedomFilmFest 2015

 

 

On what FreedomFilmFest is doing for the film industry

“The short film industry in Malaysia is still in its infancy stages, though there is some interest. FFF brings about awareness for more controversial issues that people are scared to talk about and that was the initial purpose of FFF; to tell untold stories. It was just a tool to create awareness for things that matter. The stories themselves are more important than the quality, though we have seen an increase in quality over the years. You will never see these films on mainstream TV, so it’s a necessary platform to help grow the industry,” said Effa.

“We got our first warning letter in 2009,” added Lena.

“And that was an indicator that this was a good thing. People are talking about it. That’s what you want. The fact that we’re still existing and we have support is great,” said Effa.

Their favourite parts of FreedomFilmFest

“The people you encounter, so whether it’s the volunteers or the filmmakers themselves…you meet very inspiring people,” said Effa.

“You meet very, very humble filmmakers and they’re really cool. It’s nice meeting people and going through the learning process together,” said Mien Ly.

“It’s the people that makes us want to come back to FFF,” Effa said.

“The appreciation you get is also really nice. FFF used to have workshops in colleges and I had students coming up to me telling me I made a difference in their lives and that I opened up their eyes. They would even offer to help organize FFF,” Maisarah said.

It was clear how much the women cared about the festival. Most of them, though not having been involved with it in years, were still willing to come back and help out with this year’s festival. Enthusiastic discussions began to surface when Anna suggested they all return as volunteers this year. So if you plan to attend the festival this year (which if you definitely should), be sure to look out for these lovely ladies.

Volunteers at FreedomFilmFest 2015

FreedomFilmFest will be held this year at the PJ Live Arts Theatre in Jaya One from August 20-27th. Different films, produced both locally and internationally, will be screened every day along with various masterclasses and Freedom Talks. Tickets are priced at RM20 per day or RM150 for the whole festival. Admission for students and senior citizens are free.

You can find out more information about the festival here.

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