Thursday, 7 January 2010

Save the Date - 6 Feb 2010

Last October, the Freedom Film Fest season of 2009 toured the cities of Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Baru and Kuching showcasing documentaries about human rights in Malaysia. The event in London will take place on the 6th Feb, 2010.  Real Change? is the question posed by the festival organisers, querying the changes that have come our way since the Tsunami elections of 2008. Join us for an afternoon of films that delve into contemporary issues that shape 1Malaysia.

This year's Freedom Film Fest in London opens with When Lawyers Walk by
"When Lawyers Walk, something must be very wrong" so signalled the President of the Bar Council, Ambiga Sreenevasan as she led a march involving 2000 members of the Malaysian Bar. The lawyers came out in force just days after the "judge fixing" Lingam Tape was made public in Sept 2007. Four more civil society marches brought the public out on the street, culminating in the Tsunami elections of March 2008.

Three winning proposal by budding film-makers were turned into documentaries with the help of a RM5000 grant and assistance from Anna's team at KOMAS. The three were :

Al-Fatehah Memali by Rahmat Haron
This film tracks the journey of singer-songwriters, Black and Meor, in their bid to comprehend a massacre that happened in 1985 in Kampung Memali, Kedah. PAS and UMNO were on a turf war over the custody of Islam and the accompanying Malay-Muslim electorate, resulting in the splitting of Malay society into two camps. The kafir-mengkafir polemics turned into violence when the Army stormed the house of Ibrahim Libya, a popular PAS religious leader accused of deviant Islamic teachings. Dissatisfied with the authority's White Paper on the matter and the lack of an official Inquiry, the film-makers set off to meet the survivors. Ibrahim Libya's wife, Puan Solehah, is interviewed as is Muhamad Yusof Husin whose taped 'confession' while under ISA became the government's "favourite evidence" to air on national television. Encik Husin is now a member of the Senate. For more about kafir-mengkafir and Memali, read this paper by Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid.

Kayuh by Soh Sook Hwa
This film is a first-hand account of a 100-strong contingent of cyclists in the JERIT cycling campaign who rode into Kuala Lumpur from Alor Setar in the north and Johor Baru in the south. It's purpose - to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister to highlight 6 major concerns of marginalized groups in Malaysia. With an intention to make stops at villages and towns along the way to raise awareness among the public, the cyclists were repeatedly hindered by the authorities from furthering their message.The bike ride was inspired by the Asahan march of 1967 where workers walked from the rubber plantations of Malacca to Kuala Lumpur.

No Silver Lining: The Perak Crisis by The S-ploited
What happens when “frogs” jump over to the other side? In Perak, when 3 elected representatives of the Pakatan Rakyat "hopped" over to become BN friendly, it started a political wrestling match for power between the two opposing political alliances.

Hilary Chiew, veteran journalist on Environmental issues, presents a detailed documentary about the fight back by Indigenous Communities against the land grab of their ancestral property. In Delaying Justice, Indigenous communities turn to the courts to seek justice when their land is taken over in the name of development. The road from the forest to the Mahkamah is strewn with anxieties, threats and can potentially involve losing one's life. Two landmark court decisions ruled in favour of the Indigenous claimants, Sagong Tasi and 'Rumah Nor' but redress from the government is not forthcoming. In Sarawak alone, there are over 200 court cases waiting to be heard. Newly-elected State assemblyperson, Elizabeth Wong, withdraws the previous Selangor government's application to challenge the court ruling. Heartbreaking yet hopeful, this film of past injustices is a lesson on what votes can reverse.

Film Schedule

6th February 2010
Amnesty International UK  [map]
The Human Rights Action Centre
17-25 New Inn Yard London

Session One 2pm - 3.30pm
When Lawyers Walk by mienlor for The Malaysian Bar Council
No Silver Lining : The Perak Crisis by The S-ploited

Session Two 3.40pm - 4.50pm
Delaying Justice by Hilary Chiew
Kayuh by Soh Sook Hwa

Session Three 5pm - 5.40pm
Al-Fatehah Memali by Rahmat Haron

 Book now, pay at the door. Tickets £2, consessions £1.

Anna Har, Festival Director, speaks about the 6th Freedom Film Fest in Malaysia...