Miri – 7 February 2011 – A team of three mass communication students of Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) has made the university proud by emerging second runner-up in the ‘Short Film/Mini Documentary’ category of the recent MUFORS Road Reels Short Film Competition.
The competition was organised by MUFORS or Malaysians United for Road Safety to provide a platform for students of institutions of higher learning in Malaysia to champion the importance of road safety.
The team comprising Cecilia Yii Siew Chen, Irene Wong Tien Tien and Wong Kee Fong greatly impressed the panel of judges and online voters with their 3-minute film entitled Turn Back, and walked away with a RM5000 cash prize, trophies and certificates at an awards ceremony held in Petaling Jaya recently. In addition, the university was awarded a prize of RM1000 cash.
Turn Back is a touching tale of a mother’s prayers for her rebellious son’s safety when he storms out of the house in a fit of rage after an argument with her. The son experiences a near-accident on the road which brings him to his senses and prompts him to return home to seek his mother’s forgiveness.
Cecilia, the film’s producer, described the experience as mind-blowing for the team as they had not expected to be among the top winners.
“We decided to give the competition a try for the experience and the off chance we might win something. Coming in third was a bonus for us. Of course, we are very happy with the outcome,” she said.
Irene, the film’s director, was also elated at having won and thanked the film’s production crew and cast, as well as the lecturers involved, for their contributions. She pointed out that producing a film involves a great deal of preparation.
“Talking about making a film and actually making one are totally different experiences. We put in a lot of hard work and learned a lot in the process,” she remarked.
Irene added that being the tiniest girl in the team hardly deterred her from handling the camera as well and she found the experience most fulfilling.
“It was not an easy task lugging a heavy camera around but I was determined to shoot a film that teaches drivers to be safe on the road,” she said.
Winning in the competition has spurred the trio to produce even better films and attempt other competitions in the future.
Among those they can count on for support is Juliana Yong, their production supervisor for the film. Yong praised the girls for their initiative and hard work, adding that their win in the MUFORS competition was also a feather in the cap for Curtin Sarawak’s Department of Media, Culture and Communication.
Students of the department have won a string of prizes in national-level film competitions over the years, including the IGEM 2010 Dare to Dream Challenge, Malaysia Airlines’ Detik-detik MH Short Film Competition, Radio Television Malaysia’s Anugerah Filem Pendek and Program Karyawan Muda national film competition.
According to mass communication lecturer Ngu Ik Ying, the competition offered the students good exposure to participation in a film competition, as well as a national road safety campaign.
“The competition was not only about winning prizes but giving younger filmmakers a chance to express safety messages in their own creative ways,” said Ngu.
Other participating entries from Curtin Sarawak in the competition were You Nampak Tak?, All It Takes and Don’t Text and Drive.
A total of 142 entries were received for the MUFORS Road Reels Short Film Competition which ran from August to November last year. MUFORS is a community project undertaken by PLUS Expressway Berhad that encourages young filmmakers in Malaysian universities and colleges to create short films that would help instill road safety awareness among Malaysians. To view the winning films, log on to www.mufors.org.my.