Malaysia’s most prestigious and longest-running short film competition celebrates the best in local filmmakers and digital content creators at REXKL in conjunction with Urbanscapes 2019.
'PACE' is a 15-minute short film about a young girl contemplating her identity for the first time in a small town in Sabah. The moving coming-of-age story explores identity at a tender age through the perspective of Yaya, who discovers a longing for something her group of friends have. Determined to be more than just the 'girl' in her group, she takes a leap of faith by pushing the boundaries of what it means to be feminine in a world that is seemingly built for the opposite gender.
"What a great honour it is to be named the BMW Shorties Grand Prize Winner for 2019. I am equally humbled and thrilled to be receiving this recognition, not just for myself but for everyone who have helped make 'PACE' a reality back at home. My niece and nephews who were the stars of this short film, this is for you. I am also grateful to the BMW Shorties for continuously giving us, young creators, a platform to speak for and champion the stories we want to tell; the stories Malaysia needs to hear," said Syahnur Asyikin Kee Charles, or better known as Ekin.
A fresh graduate of University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) who majored in Cinematography, 'PACE' is Ekin's first submission to the BMW Shorties. Her winning short impressed with its intricate storytelling interwoven with stunning visuals and stellar production quality. For that, Ekin and her team also took home the Best Editing award.
"Making this short film was no easy feat but working with my niece and nephews made it a spectacular experience. We directed children with no acting experience and shot a short film without any written lines; the story was told through their candid emotions and reactions to the directions we gave them. With 'PACE', I set out to convey a message about gender, identity and the many conflicts with ourselves, no matter the age; and I am proud to have achieved that," Ekin added.
Adrian Teh, director and BMW Shorties 2019 judge said, "Upon watching 'PACE' for the first time, I immediately knew Ekin had something unique to tell. Her clever use of emotional subtlety combined with the innocence of her young actors came together to present a beautifully raw telling of childhood intertwined with discovering one's identity for the first time."
Meanwhile, Amanda Nell-Eu, filmmaker and fellow BMW Shorties 2019 judge said, "It is rare we see a short film so silently moving yet so loud in its storytelling, despite the minimal dialogue between her characters. Ekin managed to take a simple message and create from it, 15 minutes of pure emotional suspense - especially in her older audience, reminding them what it was like to be a kid caught up in a world of their own."
Nadira Ilana, director and BMW Shorties 2019 judge added, "Although it is important for East Malaysian filmmakers and content creators to not sugar-coat the stories of their struggles and daily hardships back home, Ekin has presented a bold and refreshing take on East Malaysian storytelling. 'PACE' shows the audience that there is more to growing up in Sabah and Sarawak than what mainstream media has painted it to be."
Harald Hoelzl, Managing Director of BMW Group Malaysia said, "This year's unconventional theme managed to gather some of Malaysia's finest filmmakers and content creators we have ever seen. With the vast amount of submissions received this year, it is truly refreshing to see local creators demonstrate such passion and tenacity in visualising their interpretations of 'UNCHARTED', and as such, we are more than proud to continue driving this creative force time and time again."
Sashi Ambi, Head of Corporate Communications of BMW Group Malaysia said, "BMW Shorties 2019 has demonstrated once again just how many filmmakers and content creators we have yet to and can discover and support across Malaysia, by providing a platform for their voices to be heard. Recording our highest amount of submissions ever, this year only motivates us to keep leading the conversation and providing the opportunities for our local talents to share their stories with their country and then, to the rest of the world."
The Finalists' short films can be viewed on the official BMW Shorties' YouTube page. For more information on the BMW Shorties, visit the official BMW Shorties website.
The BMW Shorties 2019 Award Winners
Grand Prize Award
'Pace' by Syahnur Asyikin Kee Charles (Ekin Kee Charles)
People's Choice Award
Ralat The Musical by Khairi Anwar
Best Director Award
Putri Purnama Sugua for 'Di Sini Aku'
Best Actor Award
Afiq Rahem in 'Dibuaian Mimpi'
Best Actress Award
Putri Syahadah Nurjannah in 'Kencing Malam'
Best Student Award
Tan Hong Ken for 'The Past'
Best Cinematography Award
Adrian Wong for 'Birthday'
Best Editing Award
Syahnur Asyikin Kee Charles (Ekin Kee Charles) for 'Pace'
Best Screenplay Award
Hazim Hisham and Ariff Zulkarnain for 'Untuk Satu Malam'
Best Sound Design Award
Ng Kwok Yong for 'Husk'
Best Production Design Award
Justin Chong Jun Wee for 'The Kingdom or The Beauty'