SeaShorts'18: The Selection Committee Talks The Good, The Bad, and The Fuzzy of SEA Short Films




Ever wanted to pick the brains of film programmers and catch a couple of hot tips to making your own brilliant short films? Here, SINdie sits down with the selection committee to this year's SeaShorts Film Festival for a quick chat on everything short and Southeast Asian (Film-wise, of course) and the do's and don't's of short filmmaking.


What trends have you observed in the submissions to this year’s Sea Shorts?


Sanchai Chotirosseranee (S): Very difficult question. With the development of technology, the production values of many shorts' are almost as high as the commercial films; most of the submissions were also the thesis films of young filmmakers - the average age of a short filmmaker is younger than those of the past.  

Leong Puiyee (PY): There are a number of films that explore personal stories, experiments with the form of story telling which gives the films a fresh yet specific take through the point of view of the filmmakers. 

Fransiska Prihadi (F): More character-driven stories.

What makes a good short film for you?

S: Creativity is the most important.

PY: To be able to be immersed in the world of the story and characters within that few minutes, where the distinctive voice of the filmmaker shines through. 

F: Something that doesn't waste my time. Good story and pacing, enjoyable to watch, new ideas yet relatable to more people. 

What do you feel is the biggest strength of Southeast Asian short films?

S: Local context. We have many distinguished local context that can be exposed in the film. Nobody understands our local elements better than us.

PY: The uniqueness of being in this part of the world, the nuances of our own culture and traditions provides a characteristic take on how these Southeast Asian stories are special in its own ways. 

F: Creative exploration on social and political issue.

And conversely, what is the biggest weakness?

S: The audiences' taste is dominated by mainstream films that overshadow the independent film circuits. To develop the short film circuit, we need strong support from not only the government, but also the general audiences.

Moreover, as some Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand have outstanding filmmakers, their styles have often become models for young filmmakers to "copy", which is not good for the younger ones' own creative development.

PY: Sometimes it happens that certain stereotypes or the 'glamourising' of certain traditions from Asia can be overused in order to create something deemed 'exotic' to our culture.

F: Weak storytelling.

Which do you feel is one SEA country with it short film scene is in an exciting state of development now?

S: Malaysia. Last year, two Malaysian shorts impressed me a lot;  IT'S EASIER TO RAISE CATTLE by Amanda Nell Eu and KAMPUNG TAPIR by Aw See Wee. They are so fresh and talented, and good example of the combination of the local element with creativity. 

F: Short film scenes in SEA countries are all exciting to follow; the S-Express short films program exchange between these countries since 2003 has been filling in important gaps to learn more from each countries. 

Where do you wish to see more short films from?

S: Laos, Cambodia and Brunei.

PY: I'm excited to see more young filmmakers sharing their stories from Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Laos. 

F: Can't get enough from all but would love to see more from Cambodia and Brunei.

Interested in what else showed at SeaShorts? Check out the full line-up hereSeaShorts Film Festival 2018 ran from 01 - 05 August. You can support the festival here.

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