Rohingyans an international issue: Edmund Yeo

Rohingyan crisis, Yeo says, is not a regional issue happening in Malaysia.

Thiruvananthapuram: Edmund Yeo, The Malaysian director, whose film Aqerat is awaiting its third screening on Tuesday, is glad to see the enthusiasm in the air. “During the opening screening of The Insult, I too was cheering with the crowd. It is great to see such a huge crowd of film-lovers,” he says. Aqerat, which means ‘we are the dead’, is his second film. It speaks about Rohingyan crisis. Yeo’s films have been about resistance and struggles. At this year’s Tokyo Festival where Aqerat was screened, Yeo became the first Malaysian film maker to have won the best director award at the prestigious venue. “That was an emotional moment. I broke down on the stage,” the 33-year-old director recalls with a laugh.

Rohingyan crisis, Yeo says, is not a regional issue happening in Malaysia. “It is an international issue. They are innocent people – teenagers, kids and women; there is no reason for them to be killed due to hatred in the countries where they try to find lives.” Aqerat had just 20 people on board as actors and technicians, some of them who doubled up as extras. The whole film was shot over 12 days. The lead character, Hui Ling, excellently portrayed by Daphne Low is especially dear to Yeo.

“Hui Ling is a bit of me and a bit of her. Biographical elements of my displacement woes as a Chinese person in Australia and Tokyo, where I had gone for studies, are there,” Yeo adds. “There is no platform for independent film makers,” he said. “Last year, the independent film makers organised Malaysia’s first film festival. The reception wasn’t that great, but we hope participation will increase in the future and that we can host a huge international film festival like the IFFK.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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