Rajkumar Hirani Named Malaysia International Film Festival Jury Head

Rajkumar Hirani - Getty - H 2019
Scott Barbour/Getty Images for IFFM

The '3 Idiots' director will be joined on the panel by South Korean cinematographer Kim Hyung-Koo, Hong Kong actress Cecilia Yip, Indonesian director Joko Anwar and Malaysian helmer Ho Yuhang.

Indian director Rajkumar Hirani will take the reins as jury president for this year’s Malaysia Golden Global Awards, which will bring the curtain down on the third edition of the Malaysia International Film Festival (MIFFest) on July 20.

Hirani, the man behind the global comedy hit 3 Idiots, will be joined on the jury panel by South Korean cinematographer Kim Hyung-Koo (Memories of Murder), Hong Kong actress Cecilia Yip (This Thing Called Love), Indonesian director Joko Anwar (Satan’s Slaves) and Malaysian helmer Ho Yuhang (Mrs. K).

The big winner at last year’s Malaysia Golden Global Awards was the gripping Russian drama Tesnota (Closeness) from first-time director Kantemir Balagov, which picked up four awards, including Best Film.

Both the awards and MIFFest are organized by Malaysia’s Jazzy Group, which will this week see its latest co-production, Nina Wu, make its world premiere in the Un Certain Regard programme at Cannes on May 20.

Myanmar-born, Taiwan-based director Midi Z’s Nina Wu — a thriller which looks at the dark side of the film industry — is a collaboration between the Jazzy Group, Myanmar Montage Film, Taiwan’s Harvest 9 Road Entertainment and Germany’s River Flow Studio.

“[MIFFest is] the platform to distribute what Malaysian talent has to offer to a global audience,” said Jazzy Group executive producer and MIFFest chairman Joanne Goh. “We know this is an exciting time to film and create films in Malaysia."

“The Nina Wu storyline looks within the film industry and the bullying culture. This film will also be a great and ideal opportunity to enhance Malaysian cinema as [it’s] a co-produced project and has been internationally recognized by such an important event as the Festival de Cannes 2019. This is also an opportunity to indicate the growth and elevation of Malaysian talents and production teams.”

MIFFest was established in 2017 with the remit of screening international films to the domestic Malaysian audience while also promoting the country’s rising filmmaking talent.

The local industry is coming off a bumper 2018 that saw the Syamsul Yusof-directed horror Munafik 2 top $9 million in takings — the most ever for a Malaysian film. Meanwhile the edgy Namron-directed thriller Crossroads: One Two Jaga picked up a slew of local awards and charted a new direction for an industry that comes under close government scrutiny when it comes to subject matter, with its themes of corruption and crime.

Namron is lending his experience to the role of juror for a new short film competition at MIFFest that is only open to “hidden yet talented and extraordinary young filmmakers and films” from Malaysia, according to festival organizers.

MIFFest will run July 14-19.