Rights on film

‘Dare to Document’ is the tagline of the Freedom Film Fest, now into its eighth edition. The festival, which will screen local films on human rights issues, was launched by Komunikasi Masyarakat (Komas) recently at Jaya One Square in Petaling Jaya.

Said Komas executive director, Tan Jo Hann, “We haven’t had many who have actually dared to document. When we started FFF, the quality of films that we received were not that good.”

Tan also described human rights as being a ‘bad word’ in Malaysia.

“In Malaysia, it’s worse than the four-letter word,” he said in jest.

“People tend to think human rights is a western element and that we are bringing something from the west. But human rights is universal,” he elaborated.

Komas launched a film proposal competition, deadline April 15.

Three selected proposals will receive a RM6,000 grant, and the films must be completed before September 15.

The three films, and other human rights films from across the world, will be screened by the Freedom Film Fest 2011, which will tour Selangor, Penang, Johor and Sarawak later this year.

This is also the second year running in which KOMAS’ FFF is receiving support from the Selangor state government.

“We want [to support] a medium which can educate and entertain. Komas is a pioneer in these efforts,” said Selangor Cultural Exco Rodziah Ismail’s aide Zahariman Ariffin.

FFF co-ordinator Rekka Chinasamy believes that the visual medium is the most powerful medium to deliver a message to audiences.

She also considers human rights as something personal and subtle.

“As far as human rights in Malaysia are concerned, we are by and large aware of how to live and how not to live. For me, human rights is about self-awareness, knowing who you are,” she told Komunitikini.

“In that sense, we are ignorant,” she added.

“I knew about Komas for a long time, and I always wanted to be a part of the team, but I was unable to do so because I was in foreign shores,” said the Taiping native who studied and worked in Los Angeles.

The event also attended by Kota Damansara assemblyperson Dr. Nasir Hashim.