GEORGE TOWN, Feb 3 – Cambodian Polen Ly won the top prize at Tropfest Southeast Asia (SEA) beating 15 other finalists from five countries last night. The 25-year-old, who had won second prize at the festival last year, bagged the coveted grand prize this year with his touching short film titled Colourful Knots.
The short film is about a cancer-stricken girl who strikes up a friendship with poor street children. He walked away with a US$12,000 (about RM43,000) cash prize sponsored by Yayasan Sime Darby and a five-day industry immersion trip to Los Angeles sponsored by Motion Picture Association (MPA).
“I am really happy to join the competition again and I didn’t really expect to win because the other films were really good too,” he said when receiving the prize. He said his short film shares a universal message where everyone should do their part to stop war and violence in the world with a simple act of sharing.
The second prize this year went to The Steel Child by Jake Soriano from Philippines. Soriano won an all-expenses paid trip to a Tropest Sydney location sponsored by Sime Darby Foundation and an EOS 700D camera. Another Cambodian film-maker, Somchanrith Chap, won third prize with his short film titled A fistful of pebbles.
He won an all-expenses paid trip to Tropest Abu Dhabi and an EOS 100D camera. The rest of the finalists each won a cash prize of US$500 which was presented to them during the festival. Of the 16 finalists, four are from Malaysia, five from Cambodia, five from Philippines, one from Singapore and one from Vietnam.
The finalists’ short films were screened and judged “live” last night by a jury panel at the Esplanade here. The jury panel included award-winning cinematographer Christopher Doyle, Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton, Infinite Studio’s chief executive Mike Wiluan, Astro’s Teng Lee Yein and National Film Development Board’s director general Datuk Kamil Othman.
The short film festival in Southeast Asia debuted last year. Tropfest is the world’s largest short film festival which is also dubbed as the world’s first truly global film festival. Tropfest started in 1993 with a screening for 200 people in a cafe in Sydney, Australia but has now grown into the largest platform to showcase short films in the world.