ShoutOUT! 26 Southeast Asian shorts vying for awards at SeaShorts

 Vinegar Baths by Amanda Nell Eu from Malaysia, one of the shorts vying for awards at SeaShorts

More than 350 submissions were received by the SeaShorts Film Festival this year, happening in Malacca from 25th to 29th September. Started in 2017, SeaShorts is an annual celebration of Southeast Asian short film featuring film screenings, forums, workshops, exhibitions, and music performances by filmmakers, inspired by the S-Express short film exchange programme started in the early 2000s. This year, 26 short films have been selected to be in competition for the SeaShorts Award and Next New Wave Award (for Malaysian works).

Festival founder and director Tan Chui Mui said, “SeaShorts celebrates the breadth of possibilities that cinema has to offer, and this is evident in the 26 films vying for honours. The Official Selection presents titles exploring new narratives, issues, and practices pertinent to Southeast Asia, much of which may never be seen outside the context of events like ours. They reflect the enduring social relevance of filmmaking, and why it is important for all of us to be a part of it.” 

Comprising two categories, the annual competition counts a veritable who’s who of industry players among the jury panel. Venice Film Festival Golden Lion winner Lav Diaz (Philippines) leads judging duties for the regional SeaShorts Award alongside actor-director Bront Palarae (Malaysia) and Asian Film Award-winning editor Lee Chatametikool (Thailand). Respected helmer Garin Nugroho (Indonesia), artist Sherman Ong (Malaysia), and rising filmmaker Shireen Seno (Philippines) meanwhile decide the Next New Wave Award, which goes to the best Malaysian effort. 

Nominees stand the chance to walk away with the lion’s share of prizes including Panasonic Lumix GH5 4K cameras, Aputure lighting equipment, Zoom field recorders, and Deity Microphones. The top three local submissions will additionally earn placements in the Finas Film Incubator Programme. 

Out of competition, audiences can look forward to a bumper programme of activities for every preference. On top of daily screenings, highlights include an animation workshop by Philippine auteur Rox Lee as well as performances, talks, forums, and an exhibition by participating guests. Anthologies Ten Years Thailand and 15Malaysia will feature as the opening and closing films respectively. 

The event is made possible with the support of National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas), The Japan Foundation Asia Center, Film Development Council of the Philippines, Purin Pictures, Panasonic, Aputure Imaging Industries, Deity Microphones, Zoom Corporation, Epson, CK Music, and Sinema Media. More than RM10,000 has been collected through a fundraising campaign to help filmmakers attend the Festival. 

Festival passes are available for purchase at For more information, visit

Official Selection for the 2019 SeaShorts Award:

A Million Years, Danech San, Cambodia, Malaysian premiere
  • Relaxing at a waterfront restaurant, two people share a seemingly ordinary conversation that takes a turn to furtive experiences.

Ballad of Blood and Two White Buckets
, Yosep Anggi Noen, Indonesia, Malaysian premiere

  • A couple selling congealed blood find their livelihood endangered by shifting religious beliefs.

Blessed Land,
Phạm Ngọc Lâ
n, Vietnam, Malaysian premiere
  • Past and present converge in the search for a grave. Read SINdie's review here.

Cold Fish
, Thanh Đoàn, Vietnam, World premiere

  • A girl and two men harbour veiled obsessions that are only bared in their private spaces.

Ethereal Creature
, Tinnashine Mongkolmont, Thailand, Malaysian premiere

  • Two friends attempt to return a forbidden fruit that they stole from a mythical tree fairy.

, Tan Wei Keong, Singapore, Malaysian premiere

  • The quiet, atmospheric terrain of a forest is intruded by a lost man. Read SINdie's interview with Wei Keong here.

Levitating Exhibition
, Ukrit Sa-nguanhai, Thailand, World premiere

  • Stories unfold as housekeepers of a fancy love motel go about their duties in maintaining the establishment’s timeless beauty.

Mother, Daughter, Dreams
, Linh Duong, Vietnam, Malaysian premiere

  • A search for a vanished man lands his daughter and wife in unfinished dreams.

Nasi Mah Bali K Rumah
, Hasanul Isyraf Idris, Malaysia

  • The director’s hyperpersonal experiences come alive in visual detail.

New Land Broken Road
, Kavich Neang, Cambodia

  • Three young hip-hop dancers make a night pitstop on a deserted road in Phnom Penh.

, Gina Tan, Singapore, Malaysian premiere

  • Set against the backdrop of the 90s, two best friends find their bond tested.

Please Stop Talking
, Josef Gacutan, Philippines, Malaysian premiere

  • A man tries to repair his relationship with his son, but a mysterious black figure gets in the way.

Rest in Peace
, M. Reza Fahriyansyah, Indonesia, Malaysian premiere

  • A couple grieving over the sudden death of their son encounter difficulties in preparing for his funeral.

Qinglang de Tiankong
, Thamsatid Charoenrittichai, Thailand, Malaysian premiere

  • A young woman is pulled in two directions by her mother and the reappearance of an absentee father.

The Bird That's Not Allowed to Chirp
, Andri Firmansyah, Indonesia, World premiere

  • A last remaining home slated for demolition evokes memories of a wife lost.

The Imminent Immanent
, Carlo Francisco Manatad, Philippines, Malaysian premiere

  • The inhabitants of a rural town go about their day, oblivious to the forces of nature to come.  Read SINdie's interview with Carlo here.

The Life We Live
, Jeldin Loh, Malaysia, World premiere

  • A woman leads a simple existence in a sinking harbour city.

The Sea Recalls
, Aekaphong Saransate, Thailand, Malaysian premiere

  • The director returns to the site of his uncle’s murder to probe the man’s past and cope with his absence. Read SINdie's interview with Aekaphong Saransate here.

To Work
, Jeremy Emang Jecky, Malaysia, World premiere

  • Mr. Elisah dreams of a better life beyond his rural upbringing, but past troubles still haunt him.

Vinegar Baths
, Amanda Nell Eu, Malaysia

  • A nurse at a maternity ward can finally eat when she roams the hospital corridors at night.

Official Selection for the 2019 Next New Wave Award:

Forget Me Not, Anwar Johari Ho
  • The transnational romance between a Malaysian and a Chinese mainlander, told in three parts.

Football, Chan Jie Min
  • Fond of playing football with friends, a young girl finds her hobby interrupted by Chinese New Year.

Langit Budak Biru, Lim Kean Hian
  • Two teenage boys grapple with bullying at their school.

Light of Memories, Sim Seow Khee
  • A mother and son converse over memorial preparations.

The Darkest Night, Toh Tze Wei
  • Learning Chinese in Malaysia has not always come easy.

Simon and Ah Bou, Vikster Chew Chin Wai
  • Two friends reminisce about their past after a devastating incident.

Nasi Mah Bali K Rumah, Hasanul Isyraf Idris

The Life We Live, Jeldin Loh

To Work, Jeremy Emang Jecky

Vinegar Baths, Amanda Nell Eu
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