CYBERJAYA: BMW Group Malaysia has been discovering and supporting local and international talents through its BMW Shorties.
For this year, the 13th BMW Shorties 2019 is open for entries until 6pm on Oct 11.
The German car maker has continuously laid the groundwork for local Malaysian film talents and digital content creators to build a name for themselves in the emerging digital media industry.
In 2007, when the creative industry saw the likes of Mukhsin by Yasmin Ahmad and Zombi Kampung Pisang by Mamat Khalid, the BMW Shorties took its first step into the scene with the theme "Mobility".
Since then, the short film competition created by BMW Group Malaysia has evolved.
The BMW Shorties’ first winner — Zahir Omar (grand prize winner of The BMW Shorties 2007), took home RM50,000 thanks to his depiction of drug abuse and death in K-Hole and went on to fund another short film
— Teddy & I.
With numerous TV commercials for brands such as Tenaga Nasional, Celcom, McDonald’s and more under his belt, he went on to direct his first feature film Fly By Night which premiered in April and is streaming on Netflix.
Supported by BMW Group Malaysia, the crime thriller showed off Zahir's storytelling skills.
The feature was well received at international film festivals, including the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, New York Asian Film Festival, and Busan International Film Festival.
As for Shanjhey Kumar, he took home the grand prize during BMW Shorties 2009 with his clip Ma Chai, which features a fun and light-hearted depiction of life in a multiracial community.
The production grant Shanjhey won was then spent in directing Jagat (now streaming on Netflix), which was later further developed into a feature film.
Jagat was completed almost 10 years later on limited budget and resources, and went on to win the "Best Malaysian Film" at the 28th Malaysian Film Festival. The clip also sparked the removal of non-Bahasa Malaysia award categories to allow for an equal playing field for all filmmakers.
Chen Yih Wen, grand prize winner of the BMW Shorties 2010 and the only female winner thus far, managed to reset the benchmark for documentary filmmaking in Malaysia with Like Toy Dolls.
It was screened at the Festival de Cannes in 2011 and was the official selection for the Artivist Film Festival 2011, Asian Short Film Awards @ Screen Singapore 2011 and Freedom Film Fest 2011.
Now, she is a senior producer and documentary maker for The Star Media Group Bhd's R.AGE — an international award-winning investigative news platform.
This year, her documentary titled The Hidden Cut won the award for "Excellence in Reporting on Women's Issues" at the SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence.
Her feature-length documentary on the Malaysian blind football team, Eye on the Ball is set to be released locally in December this year and the film has already been recognised internationally at the Visions du Réel International Film Festival and even premiered at the Aperture: Asia & Pacific Film Festival in London.
Quek Shio Chuan, grand prize winner of The BMW Shorties 2011 touched hearts with his winning short film Guang about an autistic man and his brother navigating the harsh realities of life in Kuala Lumpur.
The winning short film gained recognition almost immediately and became the first Asian short film to win the Best Short Film Award at the 6th Alto Vicentino Film Festival in Santorso, Italy.
Seven years later, Quek remade Guang into a feature-length film. He continues as a commercial director with several clients under his belt including Petronas, Tenaga Nasional and Volvo and is scheduled to direct The Ghost Bride - an original series for Netflix.
“The creative mind drives the innovation of the world today and the BMW Shorties is an initiative to inspire, discover and support emerging creative talents here in Malaysia. The programme has very high aspirations and ambitions in that it hopes to create careers and opportunities for these creative talents to contribute to building a dynamic nation,” said BMW Group Malaysia corporate communications head Sashi Ambi.
For more information, log on to www.bmwshorties.com.my, www.facebook.com/bmwshorties or www.instagram.com/bmwshorties.