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Published: Tuesday, 06 February 2018 15:21
Did you know that Malaysia is home to South East Asia’s first and longest-running environmental film festival, and has successfully attracted local and international submissions?
The Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival (KLEFF) is back for its 11th instalment, and yesterday during the launch at Vivatel Kuala Lumpur in Jalan Loke Yew, KLEFF announced that the theme for the year 2018 is, “Forest, Water and Climate Change,” – in hopes of exploring the significant roles of our forests and rivers on Earth.
“KLEFF is here today to foster an open climate in which the diversity of environmental issues, solutions and stories is the greatest asset of the Festival,” founder of EcoKnights and KLEFF, Yasmin Rasyid shared during her opening speech.
“Malaysian policies must foster an open climate in which the diversity of environmental stories, the talented pool of environmentalists we have here, and the small successful green solutions that are making differences in the lives of people are the greatest assets of the country.”
On that note, the proud yet humble founder communicated that the 2018 KLEFF will be presented in partnership with Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), River of Life (ROL), Publika Shopping Gallery and Tanamera Tropical Spa Products.
And while KLEFF’s renewed partnership with RSPO and new partnership with ROL resulted in two new film categories called “Reasonable Shopping: I Saw-It,” and “The River of Life” respectively, Yasmin conveyed that their partnership with Kuala Lumpur Malay Chamber of Commerce (KLMCC) will help take KLEFF to the next level.
“This year’s partnership with KLMCC will see KLEFF bridging some really bold steps where we bring KLEFF to a strong ASEAN audience through film-related trade shows, the film festival industry and so forth,” she highlighted.
“With the potential growth and escalation of the festival through KLMCC’s global relationship and partnership with the film and film festival industry in the ASEAN region, we’re also going to ensure that the Malaysian KLEFF participants will have more exposure and opportunities to showcase their films to a more global audience.”
With the festival schedule to run from October 22-28, Yasmin relayed that KLEFF will select and present roughly 60 animations, children’s films, documentaries, narratives, short films and short documentaries from both local and international filmmakers.
“Last year we screened films from 35 countries, including local premiers,” and added that all the film screenings at KLEFF will include discussions from visiting filmmakers, scientists and policy makers.
“We hope to engage with companies and organisations who are keen to host film screenings in venues across the country, including museums, embassies, libraries, universities and theatres so that the essence of KLEFF (the films) will be able to reach out to at least 30,000 viewers.”
Armed with the objective to enhance the public’s understanding of the environment through the power of film, Festival Director Fadly Bakhtiar shared that this year’s theme will champion the goal “by highlighting the importance of forests and rivers in reversing or slowing down climate change.
“We are looking forward to the local and global submissions to illustrate the need and urgency to protect our planet from further environmental degradation.”
In a private interview with Malaysian Digest, husband and wife duo Ary Mohamed, 41, and Norhaffizah Razak, 31 shared that they joined the first festival back in 2008 and bagged the Best Editing and Best sound award with their short film entitled, ‘Wasiat’ (The Will).
‘Wasiat’ tells a tale of a father documenting the environment, flora and fauna via photographs, in hopes that he will be able to share its mesmerising beauty with his son as the immensely polluted world that his son now lives in is deprived and robbed of mother-nature.
“It’s reminiscent to a post-apocalyptic film, and the ‘wasiat’ is actually the photo album that the father has complied because his 10-year-old son is not able to experience let alone witness the beauty of the environment,” the couple stated.
“We got the idea simply by asking ourselves, how detrimental would our devil-may-care attitude towards the environment impact the future generations?”
Using Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2016 Oscar acceptance speech as point of reference, Ary pointed out that climate change is real, it is happening and it is high time we come together to protect the environment for the sake of our planet.
“We needn’t look at the melting of the Arctic – the KL rivers should serve as a wake-up call for Malaysians to start be more responsible and caring towards the environment.
“Once upon a time we’re able to swim in the rivers, catch fishes and shrimps. But now, there’s a possibility we might need to visit the doctors from a merely dipping a finger in the river,” Norhaffizah lamented.
Before the interview came to a halt, the couple urged aspiring filmmakers to jump on the platform and relay their message to the masses – a message that speaks how imperative the environment is.
“We don’t realise that our daily complains concerning the weather, the heat, flooding and so forth are all the results of our own negligence.
“I think it’s time for Malaysians to realise that you’re basically complaining resulted from your own mess – so it’s time to change that,” Ary said.
As for Norhaffizah, she eloquently said, “The environment is God’s gift to us. So who are we to destroy it?”
With 10 awards that are up for grabs, KLEFF officially announced that submissions are now open and will stay open up to June 30, 2018!
But in case both potential filmmakers and audience are itching to know what they can expect from KLEFF or just to have a taste of what is to come, head on down to EcoKnights’ official YouTube channel and checkout the past submissions.
For further information pertaining the festival, visit their official website here.
– Malaysian Digest
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