No language requirement for a ‘Malaysian film’ under Finas Act, says ‘Jagat’ team

Source: The Malay Mail Online

'Jagat' director Shanjhey Kumar Perumal (pic) and executive producer Sivanantham Perianan pointed out that the regulations for the 28th FFM nominations had not specified that the nominees use the national language as a medium. — Picture by Cinema Online

‘Jagat’ director Shanjhey Kumar Perumal (pic) and executive producer Sivanantham Perianan pointed out that the regulations for the 28th FFM nominations had not specified that the nominees use the national language as a medium. — Picture by Cinema Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 — The director and producer of critically-acclaimed film Jagat have questioned the Malaysia Film Festival’s (FFM) insistence for local films to use the Malay language yesterday, which has led to its controversial segregated nominations.

The duo — director Shanjhey Kumar Perumal and executive producer Sivanantham Perianan — called on organiser Malaysia Film Producers Association (PFM) to explain the source behind its language requirement, claiming that such a thing does not exist in the Finas Act 1981.

“Finas Act 1981 does not touch on the use of national language as the only medium for filmmaking. In fact, there is no definition stipulating what exactly a ‘national film’ or ‘Malaysian film’ is,” they said in a statement.

They pointed out that the regulations for the 28th FFM nominations had not specified that the nominees use the national language as a medium.

“Therefore, we request for PFM to explain and exhibit the source of authority for the 70 per cent Bahasa Malaysia requirement that becomes the reference in shortlisting and judging the best picture for FFM all this while,” they said.

The duo questioned whether language requirement was only put in place by the organisers of FFM, and suggested that it can be revised through a dialogue session with stakeholders if that was the case.

They also suggested for the festival’s committee to benchmark FFM with national film festivals held in India, which they claimed has a more complex pluralistic society than Malaysia. Read more

Malaysian film awards chief jurist cites Constitution in defence of language segregation policy

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Shanjhey Kumar Perumal’s Jagat was left out of nominations for the main Best Picture at FFM28. — file pic

Shanjhey Kumar Perumal’s Jagat was left out of nominations for the main Best Picture at FFM28. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 — The chief jurist for next month’s 28th Malaysia Film Festival Awards (FFM28) defended the language segregation policy for the Best Picture category and urged enthusiasts not to racialise the issue.

Nancie Foo said the use of Bahasa Malaysia as factor in the main Best Picture award category was in line with the Federal Constitution to preserve its identity as the national language.

But she also said FFM had introduced three new categories in recent years to accommodate films in other tongues.

“In 2011, we introduced the Best Picture for non-Bahasa Malaysia category to provide an opportunity for films in languages other than Bahasa Malaysia to compete.

“Now, we have added two more categories that is Best Screenplay and Best Director for non-Bahasa Malaysia films,” she told Malay daily Utusan Malaysia Online yesterday. Read more