By Mohamad Letfee Ahmad
KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 – Malaysian director, Amanda Nell Eu has made Malaysians proud with her debut feature film, Tiger Stripes, becoming the first Malaysian and Southeast Asian film to win the Grand Prix at the 62nd Cannes Critics’ Week.
Written and directed by Amanda Nell Eu, the Malay-language horror is an eight-country co-production but shot entirely in Malaysia.
Ghost Grrrl Pictures (Malaysia) producer, Foo Fei Ling said her other partners are Patrick Mao Huang (Flash Forward Entertainment, Taiwan), Fran Borgia ( Akanga Film Asia, Singapore), Juliette Lepoutre, Pierre Menahem (Still Moving, France), Jonas Weydemann (Weydemann Bros., Germany), Ellen Havenith (PRPL, Netherlands) and Yulia Evina Bhara (Kawankawan Media, Indonesia).
“We’re very honoured to be the first from Malaysia and Southeast Asia to win Grand Prix. I hope this will bring more audience to the cinema of our region. We enjoyed a triumphant premiere last week with the attendance of the cast and crew,” Foo said in a statement.
Meanwhile, commenting on their historic win, director Amanda Nell Eu said they were so honoured to have been invited to la Semaine de la critique in Cannes.
“Winning this prize is just unbelievable. I’m so touched by the jury’s reaction to the film. It really means a lot,” she said.
The top prize was awarded by an international jury led by acclaimed director, Audrey Diwan alongside cinematographer Rui Poças, film critic Meenakshi Shedde, actor Franz Rogowski and Sundance programmer Kim Yutani.
“Irreverent and uncompromising, Tiger Stripes does not try to please, it is content to fully assume its seductive singularity. It was the first film of the selection that we saw. It has passed the test of time,” jury president, Audrey Diwan said in a statement.
The 62nd edition of Cannes Critics’ Week, focused on first and second-time works, was held from May 17 to 25.
Critics’ Week has discovered directors such as Alejandro González Inarritu (Mexico), Ken Loach (Britain) and Wong Kar-wai (Hong Kong) among many others.
Amanda, the current award recipient, graduated from the London Film School with an MA in Filmmaking is an alumna of Berlinale Talents and Locarno Filmmakers Academy.
Her short film Lagi Senang Jaga Sekandang Lembu premiered in competition at the Venice International Film Festival and has continued to travel and win awards in many other international festivals, including a Special Mention at the International Short Film Festival Clermont-Ferrand.
Tiger Stripes follows a 12-year-old girl, Zaffan, who is the first among her friends to hit puberty and discovers a terrifying secret about her body. Ostracised by her community, Zaffan fights back, learning that to be free she must embrace the body she feared, emerging as a proud, strong woman.
The film stars three new talents, Zafreen Zairizal, Deena Ezral, and Piqa, alongside veteran local actors Shaheizy Sam (“Rajah, 2021”), June Lojong (“Roh, 2019”), and Fatimah Abu Bakar (“Imaginur, 2022”).
The film received the Creative Industry Recovery Grant (PENJANA) from the Ministry of Communications and Digital for its production in Malaysia.
FINAS also awarded the international promotion grant for the world premiere campaign in Cannes.
The film is also supported by Taiwan Creative Content Agency; the Southeast Asia Co-production Grant of Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority; the Cinémas du Monde fund of the National Centre for Cinema and the Moving Image of France; the Nederlands Filmfonds; the Hubert Bals Fund and HBF+Europe Programme of the International Film Festival Rotterdam; Film und Medien Stiftung NRW; Vision Sud Est of Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation; Berlinale World Cinema Fund; the Doha Film Institute and the Next Masters Support Program from Talents Tokyo and Filmex.