Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happenings: Short film 'Hawa' Tan Ce Ding Wins the BMW Shorties 2016 Grand Prize

 The cast and crew of ‘Hawa’ with Mr Sashi Ambi (Left), Head of Corporate Communications, BMW Group Malaysia, and Mr Han Sang Yun (Right).

I attended the BMW Shorties 2016 awards ceremony last Monday. BMW Group Malaysia has named ‘Hawa’, a short film by Tan Ce Ding as the Grand Prize Winner of BMW Shorties 2016. The 10th Edition of the BMW Shorties this year received 115 films, its highest number of entries and shortlisted 12 finalists for contention in the competition this year.


The 10 th Edition of the BMW Shorties this year received 115 films, its highest number of entries to date and shortlisted 12 finalists for contention in the competition this year. Tan Ce Ding who has participated in the BMW Shorties since 2010, has been placed in the Top 10 Finalist five times but has never won the competition until now. He will be receiving a production grant of RM 75,000 from BMW Group Malaysia alongside guidance and mentorship from the panel of judges to produce his next professional short film.

(From L-R) Mr Sashi Ambi, Nadira Ilana, Tan Ce Ding, Mr Han Sang Yun, Yuni Hadi, Lina Tan, and Liew Seng Tat.

Set in a post-apocalyptic zombie-plagued Malaysia, ‘Hawa’ tells the story of friendship between Hawa, a girl who has been infected by a zombie bite and a carefree boy named Meng. Through the clever use of symbolism, Director Tan Ce Ding had effectively communicated the nature of the journey of friendship in hard times and how it will persevere. 

What I learnt from this non-automotive, but automotive company organised event is that:

Companies like BMW are building human capital in Malaysia. Not only in terms of technical skills but also of the arts. This is something we actually lack. A society that is just filled with doctors, lawyers and engineers as well as a ton of religious teachers does not work. There has to be arts and entertainment. And so, part of BMW's corporate social initiative is BMW Shorties. To promote the art of film making. 
Mr Han Sang Yun, Managing Director & CEO of BMW Group Malaysia, with Tan

Ce Ding, Director for ‘Hawa’, Grand Prize Winner of the BMW Shorties 2016.

Then I also noticed that the chap who won is a persistent fella. It tells us that if at first you don't succeed, TRY AND TRY again. Obvious isn't it? Five time Top Ten Shorty finalist and finally he won something. Failure or being close to the top does not mean backing down. 

Finally, 115 people sent in their movies. The judges had to pick a winner and other category winners (best director, actor, etc). So the judges had to watch 115 short films. It must be hell watching through so many stories within a designated span of time in order to choose a winner. What won was actually good storytelling. What one of the judge mentioned caught my attention - Make movies that people want to watch. Not just you and the producer. It makes perfect sense yes? 

Like anything you wish to sell to the public. You have to give them what they want.  NOT what you want. And so, because I attended a non-automotive event organised by an automaker, I have something bigger than just motoring to type about today. Isn't life great?

December 19, 2016

Short Film ‘Hawa’ by Tan Ce Ding Wins the BMW Shorties 2016 Grand Prize.

Tenth edition of Malaysia’s longest running and most prestigious short film competition

awards its grand prize winner for 2016.

Kuala Lumpur, 19 December 2016 – ‘Hawa’, a short film by Tan Ce Ding has emerged

as the Grand Prize Winner for the BMW Shorties 2016.

The 10 th Edition of the BMW Shorties this year received 115 films, its highest number of

entries and shortlisted 12 finalists for contention in the competition this year.

Tan Ce Ding who has participated in the BMW Shorties since 2010, has been placed in

the Top 10 Finalist five times but has never won the competition until now. He will be

receiving a production grant of RM 75,000 from BMW Group Malaysia alongside

guidance and mentorship from the panel of judges to produce his next professional short

film.

Set in a post-apocalyptic zombie-plagued Malaysia, ‘Hawa’ tells the story of friendship

between Hawa, a girl who has been infected by a zombie bite and a carefree boy named

Meng. Through the clever use of symbolism, Director Tan Ce Ding effectively

communicates the nature of the journey of friendship – specifically its vulnerability to the

toxicity of social issues which is likened to a zombie pandemic in the film threatening the

friendship between Hawa and Meng.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Tan Ce Ding, Director of ‘Hawa’ said, “After several

years of participating in the BMW Shorties, I am thrilled to have finally won the Grand

Prize together with a team who believed in a story as bold as ‘Hawa’ and successfully

retold it through passion and excellence. When the theme ‘Journey’ was announced, we

decided to pursue a short film which not only entertains but also shares the journey

human relationships undergo – the threats it face and its persistence to triumph in spite

of.”

Tan elaborated that the symbolism used in ‘Hawa’, saying that the zombie outbreak can

be interpreted as anything which threatens the bond between individuals.

“Just like the zombie pandemic which came between Hawa and Meng, ill-conceived

ideas are like diseases infecting our society – posing risks to human relationships

conceived out of goodwill. But more than exposing the frailty of human relationships, we

wanted to remind the audience to appreciate and fight for the humanity within all of us –

that inherently, we seek to bond with one another in spite of social issues threatening to

separate us. And in the short film, we see just that in the persevering friendship between

Hawa and Meng”, says Tan.

Told through dialogue sparse scenes, ‘Hawa’ provokes a potent blend of emotions on

top of relaying bold themes through ingenious symbolism and competent filmmaking –

all of which forged a lasting impact in the judges’ deliberation room this year.

Lina Tan, who has judged in the BMW Shorties for the sixth year, said, “In all my years

of judging, ‘Hawa’ has exceeded my expectations as not only a competent genre film but

one which is bold enough to assume a Malaysian flavour. The seamless amalgamation

of a blockbuster-level theme like a zombie outbreak together with a raw Malaysian

setting to tell the story is what sets it apart from the other entries.”

Filmmaker Nadira Ilana, who joins the BMW Shorties’ judging board for the first time,

commented on the use of symbolism in a dialogue-limited script, “As seen in ‘Hawa’, the

use of symbolism is a powerful storytelling tool due to its ability to provoke thoughts

covertly and hence with impact. The story of ‘Hawa’ is one of great maturity and nobility

because it infects the audience with ideas with a hope to incite change. At the same

time, it does not compromise on entertainment or room for the imaginative to derive

deeper meanings.”

Fellow judge and acclaimed filmmaker Liew Seng Tat reciprocates praise for ‘Hawa’,

saying, “The attention to specifics in the production design for ‘Hawa’ is exceptional. For

example, props like the green toy soldiers positioned near the barred windows of Hawa’s

bedroom conveys the girl’s yearning for protection against zombies. Props which seem

to lie about randomly throughout the short film in truth were key in sustaining the dire

atmosphere of a plagued world whilst helping to narrate the story.”

Meanwhile, celebrated sound editor and guest judge Lee Chatametikool remarked on

the sound design of ‘Hawa’, “Sound design, in the case of ‘Hawa’, is impressive as it

helped evoke emotions the director and scriptwriter desire in the audience. Audibility

was tailored to draw the audience into a deep empathy which in turn equips them to

identify with not only the main characters but to internalize the core themes in the short

film.”

Commenting on the overall impression on ‘Hawa’, Singaporean producer and guest

judge Yuni Hadi said, ‘Hawa has all the makings for an award-winning short film. It has

compelling visuals and cinematography, thoughtful production design, evocative

soundtrack, and above all, a powerful story. It is truly a creation deserving of recognition

– both locally and abroad.”

On top of the Grand Prize honour, ‘Hawa’ also took home the awards for Best Director,

Best Screenplay, and Best Sound Design. The production was also nominated for Best

Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Editing, Best Actor, and Best Actress.

Speaking at the Awards Night, Mr. Han Sang Yun, Managing Director and CEO at BMW

Group Malaysia said, “The BMW Shorties has coursed a great distance in discovering

and supporting local filmmaking potential in Malaysia since we started a decade ago.

Today, we are proud to have found and helped raise so many promising talent who have

gone on to create value and a legacy in the Malaysian filmmaking and advertising

industry.”

Han added that with the theme ‘Journey’ this year, the BMW Shorties 2016 has set a

new milestone in proving that is an abundance of film making potential in Malaysia. The

BMW Shorties 2016 entries charted a new record in not only the number of submissions

but also the overall improved quality shown in the entries.

The BMW Shorties Grand Prize Winner and Finalists short films can be viewed on the

BMW Shorties website (www.bmwshorties.com.my). For more information, visit the

BMW Shorties Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BMWShorties.

-End-

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