AIFFA could become S’wak’s next Rainforest World Music Festival, says Minister

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Abdul Karim launches the sixth edition of AIFFA at the Old Courthouse. From front right are Ting, Livan, and Snowdan. – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (Aug 3): The Asean International Film Festival and Awards (AIFFA) has the potential to grow to a bigger scale like the hugely successful Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF), said Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

The Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister pointed out the annual RWMF had a humble beginning in 1998 with a crowd of around 300.

“I believe AIFFA will go up to achieve similar success, like other major film festivals in destinations all over the world. However, a lot of the successes depend on those coming from the industry,” he said, citing major international film festivals such as the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea and Cannes Film Festival in France.

Abdul Karim said this at the launching ceremony and welcoming dinner for AIFFA 2023 at the Old Courthouse here yesterday.

He reiterated the state government’s full support for the film industry and AIFFA, especially with the rich local culture and creative scenes in Sarawak comprising the traditions and heritage of at least 34 ethnic groups.

“The creative industry is a trillion-dollar industry. We are slightly late, as compared to some countries, but we have to start somewhere as our young people are graduating from creative industry and performing arts higher institutions, who will contribute to this industry,” he said.

Abdul Karim said since its inception in 2013, AIFFA has offered a platform for the Asean film industry to close ranks and bring the industry to greater heights on the international scene.

He pointed out that Oscar winner Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh received the AIFFA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.

“Besides, I saw in the programme that one of the speakers who will be sharing her experience is Renee Pillai, a Malaysian who has won an Oscars-Governed Grant in screenwriting. As you all know, there are many aspects of putting a film together, and finance is always a concern,” he said.

Abdul Karim explained his ministry provides grants for producing movies in Sarawak and the state’s centre of performing arts at the old State Legislative Assembly building is expected to be ready in two years’ time.

Adding on, he said the Southeast Asian region boasts a population of about 700 million and presents a huge market for the regional film industry.

A press statement said the AIFFA 2023 jury panel has selected 34 films from 120 entries to represent the best of the region’s cinematic achievements.

AIFFA 2023 will host three days of free film screenings of the shortlisted films at the iconic Old Courthouse, as well as a two-day acting masterclass offering networking opportunities and a platform to exchange ideas, forge collaborations, and explore new possibilities within the industry.

The AIFFA 2023 Award Ceremony will take place on Aug 4 at Pullman Kuching and will see the presentation of awards such as Best Film, Asean Inspiration, and ‘Lifetime Achievement’.

K-pop sensation Rain is the special guest for this year’s festival.

Among those present for the welcoming dinner were Abdul Karim’s deputy ministers Datuk Sebastian Ting and Datuk Snowdan Donald Lawan, as well as AIFFA 2023 festival director Livan Tajang.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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