Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Happenings: Ekin Kee Charles.Wins The BMW Shorties 2019 Grand Prize With His Short Film 'PACE'

The BMW Shorties has named the short film, ‘PACE’ by Ekin Kee Charles as its its Grand Prize winner for the 2019 BMW Shorties. This is the thirteenth edition of what is the most prestigious and longest running short film contest for Malaysian filmmakers and videographers. The Grand Prize worth RM80,000 in production grant was presented at the BMW Shorties Awards Night 2019, held in conjunction with Urbanscapes 2019 recently.

‘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 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.

Of course, this is slightly 'off topic' with the only link to the automotive industry is the fact that BMW Group Malaysia is the company that is holding this contest. This is actually how a company like BMW Group gives back to the country where they are operating in and aside from the usual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities like helping the needy or supplying technology to those in rural areas there are also times when companies like the BMW Group gives back in terms of inculcating the performing arts like in this case, filmmaking. 

Why? Because for a country to be developed, it isn't just about building technology or stuff, but also about the promotion of culture and the arts. Even an analytical mind would need to be entertained.

Anyway, the winner for this year is a fresh graduate of University Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) who majored in Cinematography. Her film, ‘PACE’ is Ekin’s first submission to the BMW Shorties. Her winning short impressed the judges 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,” said Ekin.

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 seelocal 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 also added this thoughts on this year's Shorties, “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.”

If you are interested to watch what budding Malaysian filmmakers created, you can watch the 2019 BMW Shorties Finalists’ short films on the official BMW Shorties’ YouTube page at . 

For more information on the BMW Shorties, especially if you are interested to participate in the next one, head over to the official BMW Shorties website at . For the latest updates on future BMW Shorties events, check out the BMW Shorties Facebook page at and Instagram page at

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