TOKYO – Malaysian film director Edmund Yeo has been named Best Director at the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) 2017 held from Oct 24 to Nov 3 for his film “Aqerat”.
Yeo was also selected as a finalist with 14 other films from all over the world to vie for the Grand Prix (Best Film) award. His film was chosen from among 1,538 participants representing 88 countries.
This is the second achievement for Yeo, 33, after his first film “River of Exploding Durians” also competed for the main prize in the 2014 edition.
His documentary on Malaysia’s film maestro, the late Yasmin Ahmad, entitled “Yasmin-san” was also selected by the festival organisers for special premiere under the “Çross Cut Asia” segment.
When met by Bernama at the film festival here recently, Yeo expressed satisfaction at his film “Aqerat” which competed at the TIFF 2017 while his documentary Yasmin-san was shown in the segment Cross Cut Asia What’s Next from Southeast Asia #04.
He had expected stiff competition from famous and experienced directors from Russia, Turkey and China.
According to Yeo, his experience in filming “Aqerat” in Kelantan during the monsoon season was his biggest challenge.
The talented director is now in the process of filming a new movie “Malu” in which half will be shot in Malaysia and the other half, in Japan.
Yeo, who lived in Japan for four years and directed several Japanese films, will start filming in Japan after the film festival.
He said the inspiration behind the film “Aqerat” was the plight of the Rohingya refugees and the discovery of refugee graves in jungles along the Malaysia-Thailand border not long ago.