Aiffa 2015 a glitzy, black-tie affair like the ‘Academy Awards’


The award winners celebrating their win at the press conference after the award show at BCCK. Seen here are Livan (seated centre) and head of jury U-Wei Saari (seated fourth right).

Superstar Jackie Chan is flanked by bodyguards as he walks through the BCCK venue.

Michelle Yeoh arriving at BCCK.

The crowd waiting to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars.

KUCHING: The Asean International Film Festival and Awards (Aiffa) 2015 on Saturday night was a glitzy affair.

On the red carpet were celebrities and other film industry personalities from 10 countries, including Malaysia.

Instantly recognisable faces included international movie star Datuk Jackie Chan and Malaysian-born international actress Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh.

Non-stop camera flashes fired at the red carpet as journalists captured arrivals and fans rubber-necked for a glimpse of their favourite stars. It was the closest thing to the Academy Awards here in Kuching, and instead of a golden man, there were svelte minimalist hornbill trophies waiting to go home with worthy owners.

From the viewing balcony at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK), around 30 members of the local media occupied the front row seats, resplendent in their best attempt at the de rigueur ‘black tie’ dress code and a little baffled that they were sharing the seating area with Kuchingites who were dressed for a day at the beach.

Nonetheless, these ‘beachcombers’ cheered loudly when Malaysia’s entry ‘Terbaik Dari Langit’ was named Best Film and its lead actor Bront Palare crowned Best Actor.

The crowd also went wild when Jackie Chan left his seat at the main table to present singer Dasha Logan with a flower. There was some friendly banter between him and Michelle Yeoh about making a movie they’ve been talking about for 30 years.

When Jackie was awarded the freshly-minted Asean Inspiration Award, he gamely promised to continue hurting himself making more action movies.

The Pinoys swept a total of five awards, including Best Director (Joseph Laban – ‘Nuwebe’), Best Actress (Cherie Gil – ‘Sonata’), Best Editing (Benjamin Tolentino – ‘Bendor’), and Asean Spirit Award – ‘Purok 7’ – Philippines.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Nora Aunor of the Philippines, who called upon her country’s government to lend the film industry more support.

“We make many films,” she said during the press conference later. “It would be great if the government would recognise these efforts and support us so we can make great films.”

Best Supporting Actress went to Brunei’s Nadiah Wahid for her performance in ‘Yasmine’. Sok Sothun of Cambodia was named Best Supporting Actor for ‘The Last Reel’, Best Photography went to Vietnam’s Dang Xuan Truong for his work in ‘Inseminator’, and Best Screenplay went to Ben Sihombing for his work on ‘Soekarno’ (Indonesia).

Earlier in the evening, Singaporean film ‘The Lion Men’, and ‘Pee Mak’ from Thailand were named recipients of the Special Jury Awards.

The awards ceremony was shown live on TV2 and hosted by Tony Eusoff.

There was classy entertainment from Miss World Talent Winner Dewi Liana Seriestha, Filipino 2015 best actor, and popular singer Paolo Pascual, Indonesian evergreen singer Emilia Contessa, Thai international artiste Tata Young, Malaysia’s own Anuar Zain, and latest K-Pop sensation Nolza.

Other headliners were Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, Minister of Communication and Multimedia Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, and Aiffa festival director Livan Tajang who pulled off a sensational job.