A still from the movie ‘Aqerat’, by Edmund Yeo, with lead actress Daphne Low.

FRESH from his Best Director win at the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) for his second feature film, Aqerat, Edmund Yeo hopes the film will be screened in Malaysia.

The 33-year-old filmmaker is the first Malaysian to win the award at the festival.

“My producers are working on it. Hopefully, by next year, Aqerat can come home,” said Yeo when contacted by the New Straits Times yesterday.

Aqerat is going to continue its film festival run, at the Singapore International Film Festival on Nov 23 and the Kerala International Film Festival next month.”

Filmed in Kelantan, Aqerat, told in Malay and Chinese dialect, is a film about a desperate woman who gets involved in a human trafficking ring.

Yeo came up with the story after reading news about mass graves of people, thought to be mainly Rohingya human trafficking victims, which were discovered near Malaysia’s border with Thailand in 2015.

The movie stars Daphne Low and Howard Hon Kahoe.

The filmmaker — who pursued his master’s degree and PhD in film at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, from 2008 to 2013 — showcased his first feature film, River Of Exploding Durians, at the same festival three years ago.

Besides Aqerat, he also showcased a 70-minute documentary, Yasmin-san, at the festival. The central person in the documentary is late filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad.

“It is (about actress) Sharifah Amani’s memories of Yasmin, as well as Japanese director Isao Yukisada’s impression of and admiration for Yasmin’s movies.

“He saw Sepet at the film’s world premiere at the Tokyo Film Festival 2005, and fell in love with it.

“I never had the chance to meet her, but I dug deep, trying to piece together the memories of Yasmin from her sister Orked and her parents (Yeo interviewed Yasmin’s mother, Mak Inom, before she died last April), to her former colleagues,” said Yeo, who believed that Yasmin had left a great legacy in Malaysian cinema.

Yeo is filming his third movie, Malu.

“I filmed half of it shortly be-fore I left for the Tokyo Film
Festival and hope to wrap it up soon.

“I’m also coming out with short films and documentary projects with my producing partners.”

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