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News from Malaysia: Kelab Seni Filem Malaysia


Tuck Cheung Wong, FICC representative from Malaysia
The club is over 40 years old now.It was set up by a group of film enthusiasts who wanted to show films on a non-commercial basis to fellow cinephiles. Cinemas then (as now) were screening largely commercial films.

The club is over 40 years old now.It was set up by a group of film enthusiasts who wanted to show films on a non-commercial basis to fellow cinephiles. Cinemas then (as now) were screening largely commercial films.
The club proved popular from the beginning: the members were largely professionals, expatriates and students eager to see films from other countries, especially classics of the international cinema by auteurs like Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, Ozu, Ray, Teguh Karya, Bunuel, Godard, Truffaut, Melville, Lang etc.
It is the only extant cineclub in the country, although there are other small societies in specific neighbourhoods or universities. Ours is a club registered with the government, with a formal constitution and specific rules about membership procedures and subscription rates.
The committee members are all unpaid volunteers who serve the club out of a love for cinema.
Over the years, its role has expanded.
Currently, apart from screening an expanded repertoire of international cinema for its members, the club's functions are:
1. act as a referral point for embassies, foreign agencies, film scholars and researchers wishing to obtain information or contacts on Malaysian cinema.
2. cooperate with foreign embassies and cultural agencies to organise film events and programs specific to their countries (eg European Film Festival; British Film Week; Edward Yang, Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog and Ingmar Bergman retrospectives)
3. host visiting filmmakers, researchers and film festival programmers for talks/seminars for Malaysian cinephiles
4. publicise and promote the films of the independent filmmakers of Malaysia to international film festivals and foreign cultural agencies
5. cooperate with the National Film Development Corporation of Malaysia (FINAS) to organise film events and film festivals (eg the Commonwealth Film Festival in 1998)
6. help international film festivals (especially new ones like Tashkent) to identify suitable films from Malaysia for their programs
7. organise forums and workshops to promote film appreciation and film as a medium of culture (educational role).
The club currently has a partnership with the Alliance Francaise by which our respective members have the privilege of attending the other partner's screenings gratis; and sponsorship from the Goethe-Institut Malaysia to show a monthly program of contemporary German films mainly aimed at students of the German language from local colleges and universities.
As a result of these different roles, the club has acquired a respected status as a pro-active cultural organisation.
Also with our membership in the IFFS, we have taken on a further role in facilitating film exchange and communication among the IFFS members on the one hand, and contact with other cineclubs in the Asia-Pacific region with a view to recruiting them into the IFFS.