KUCHING: The Freedom Film Festival is back in Kuching for its 13th edition after a successful run throughout Malaysia.
This year the Festival will be held at Lot 10 Boutique Hotel, Jalan Ban Hock, starting at 1.30pm tomorrow (Nov 5).
It will showcase four films including two outstanding submissions shot right here in Sarawak, entitled ‘Unlocking Bengoh’ and ‘The Borneo Case’.
Entry for students and senior citizens is free but the organiser will ask for a minimum donation of RM10 for entry to enable the festival to continue from year to year.
“We encourage all to come along and see for themselves the issues that these talented human rights filmmakers and advocates have uncovered under this year’s festival theme: ‘What Lies Beneath’,” Freedom Film Festival for Sarawak coordinator Ahmad Awang Ali said yesterday.
The Festival began in 2013 to create a vital platform for filmmakers and activists to showcase human rights films and advocate their causes to the Malaysian public.
The festival is run by Komas, an NGO established in 1993 to use creative and participative methodology in human rights education and to advocate for democracy and equality in modern Malaysia, in collaboration with other Sarawak NGOs.
“Film is a vital tool for story-telling and now, with the democratisation of film-making putting a video camera in the reach of so many members of the public, professional and amateur alike, the wealth of stories coming out in this medium is unprecedented.
“The festival provides a platform for ordinary Malaysians to share in the stories of our various communities, big and small, that uncover the human rights issues that are affecting us all today,” Ahmad said.
This year, the festival in Kuching will screen four submissions including two exclusively Sarawak stories.
In ‘Unlocking Bengoh’, viewers will be able to follow the stories of the villagers displaced by the Bengoh dam, just 30km from Kuching, and get a real glimpse of the true price of their relocation that they have had to endure in the name of development.
Then the Festival will be screening the feature-length documentary, ‘The Borneo Case’. This documentary, shot by a European film crew, was made over five years and tells the story of how our beloved rainforest has been stripped of its natural resources.
The filmmakers returned to Sarawak for the second time after a haunting film made in the 1990s on the plight of the Penan and the role that Bruno Manser played in their struggle against the loss of their ancestral lands.
In this gripping follow-up, they reveal how the billions of dollars of profit from the destruction of our forests have been siphoned out of Sarawak through international banks into huge overseas property portfolios.
This film premiered in Kuala Lumpur during the Freedom Film Festival there, attracting a large number of viewers, but will go on to an international release, being shown on television in 20 countries worldwide.
“This is your one and only chance to see these films here in Sarawak, highlighting issues from our own home state.
“Don’t miss out on the opportunity or on the chance to air your own views on each of the films or the issues that they raise,” Ahmad said.
For more information on the festival, the public are advised to visit http://freedomfilmfest.komas.org or call Ahmad Awang Ali at 010- 9756596.