KUCHING: Kuching has been chosen as a permanent venue for Asean International Film Festival and Awards (Aiffa), which is held once in every two years.
Minister of Tourism Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the proposal to make Kuching the permanent venue was made and endorsed during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Ministers meeting at Asean Tourism Forum (ATF) held here earlier this year.
He said on Tuesday night that the event would start next year and the state Tourism Ministry was all prepared and really looking forward to be the host.
“Kuching was chosen as a permanent host for Aiffa because our culture is unique, secondly for its security and safety and thirdly our landscape is very suitable…we are ready and we can hold it because of the success of Aiffa 2013,” he said during a dinner at Magenta Restaurant.
The dinner was to bid farewell to the out-going staff of Tourism Ministry.
He also said Kuching Waterfront and Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) where films can be shot were the added attraction in choosing Kuching.
The Housing Minister pointed out that Kuching’s success in hosting Aiffa 2013 was mentioned by Minister of Tourism and Culture Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz at the Federal Cabinet meeting.
He believes that choosing Kuching as the permanent venue will have a positive impact on the local tourism industry, adding with the endorsement by these Asean countries and the federal government, Aiffa will be now not just a state event but a national affair.
“The state will benefit with these new tourism products as it involves arts and fashions and in conjunction with that we will hold a fashion extravaganza in Kuching, showcasing Islamic and Western fashion and also that from the Asean countries.”
Abang Johari said the festival can last for one week because there will be film directors, cameramen and script writers who will have their own workshops.
“This will be good for the country and especially the state as our indigenous talents can be developed through this involvement in the workshop, just like what happened during the Borneo Music Festival where our indigenous musicians were brought to world stage,” he enthused.
“Busan in South Korea, Hong Kong and Caines in Europe were developed through this kind of film festival and all these film makers do not want to hold such event in big cities and Kuching is ideal,” he further explained, thus making Kuching City a destination for artistes and fans.
Also present at the dinner were his wife Datin Amar Jumaani Tuank Bujang, Assistant Minister of Tourism (Local Events and Products) Datuk Gramong Juna and permanent secretary to Ministry of Tourism Datu Ik Pahon Joyik.