7 Award-Winning Local Movies Every Malaysian Should Be Proud Of
1. The Journey (2014)
Summary: In a classic Asian twist of 'Meet the Parents' sort of movie, Bee, a Malaysian girl brings back Benji, her English fiance to meet her conservative father, Uncle Chuan. One thing leads to another, and a reluctant Uncle Chuan and Benji set off on a road trip around the country to hand deliver the young couple's wedding invitations. The highlight of the movie is the journey Uncle Chuan and Benji take around Malaysia, as it teaches them to look beyond their differences and realize that they are not so different after all.
Awards: The Journey won the Best non-Malay language local film and Best Cinematography at the 27th Malaysian Film Festival.
2. Ice Kacang Puppy Love (2010)
Summary: Set in Tronoh, a small town in Ipoh back in the 1980s, Ice Kacang Puppy Love details the lives of two people, Botak and Yue Feng. Botak's adoration for Yue Feng and her feisty nature sets the pace for the movie as they both set on a road trip to look for her estranged father in the Pearl of Orient that is Penang. The movie thrives on its relaxed and quirky conversations between Botak and Yue Feng and the scenes set in scenic towns of Ipoh and Penang perfects the movie.
Awards: Ice Kacang Puppy Love won Best Movie, Best Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Art Design at the Golden Wau Awards 2013.
3. Papadom (2009)
Summary: Papadom entails the lives of a single father Saadom and his daughter Mia. Honouring his late wife's wish to take care of their daughter, Saadom's love for Mia turns into a comical obsession as the devoted father desperately tries to hold on to his daughter as she grows up, craving for her own space and time.
Awards: Papadom won the Best Original Music Score, Best Original Story, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Film at the 22nd Malaysian Film Festival.
4. Mukhsin (2007)
Summary: Mukhsin depicts the friendship between 10-year-old Orked and 12-year-old Mukhsin. Set in Sekinchan, Sabak Bernam in the year 1993, the quaint little village proves to be an excellent setting for the blossoming friendship between the two main characters. With a series of conversations brought on by childlike curiosity, Mukhsin pays tribute to the deep layers of society, quirks of Malaysians still caught in our colonial past, and the simplicity of life before the boom of technology.
Awards: Mukhsin won Generation Kplus Best Feature Film the 57th Berlin International Film Festival (2007), Best Southeast Asian Film at the Cinemanila International Film Festival 2007 and Silver Hanoman Award at the Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival 2007.
5. The Red Kebaya (2006)
Summary: A famous, lonely photographer ends up travelling back in time to 1957 when photographing an old house on Penang Hill. The Red Kebaya's rendition of Malaysia's independence year is both beautiful and haunting. This movie is a must watch for history buffs, or anyone that is obsessed with the colonial era.
Awards: The Red Kebaya won Best Actress, Best Sound Effects, Best Costume Designer/ Garment and Best Poster at the 20th Malaysian Film Festival (2007).
6. Sepet (2005)
Summary: Sepet tells the story of love blossoming between two teenagers, Orked and Jason. Sure, that sounds like any other love story but here in Malaysia, for the oddest of reasons, interracial relationships are most often shunned, and let alone made into movies. Orked and Jason do what most kids in love would do, hold hands, hang out at eateries and take photos, but unfortunately, this is opposed by their respective racial communities.
Awards: Sepet won the Best Asian Film Award at 18th Tokyo International Film Festival 2005, Best Film at Ninth Malaysian Video Awards, 27th Créteil International Women's Film Festival in France, 18th Malaysian Film Festival, Global Chinese Golden Arts Awards and Anugerah Era 2005.
7. Puteri Gunung Ledang (2004)
Summary: Puteri Gunung Ledang, Hang Tuah and Melaka sultanate stories were our version of fairy-tales. The movie, based on the Puteri Gunung Ledang legend, spins the tragic love story that transpires between Gusti Putri, a Javanese princess and Hang Tuah, a Malay warrior that is unceremoniously interjected by a forced marriage proposal to Sultan Mahmud of Melaka.
Awards: Puteri Gunung Ledang won five awards at the Malaysian Film Festival 2004 for best director, best screenplay, best art direction, best music score.
Lead actress Tiara Jacquelina bagged the 'Best Actress' award at the 50th Asia Pacific Film Festival as well as the 'Best Producer' award at the Inaugural Asian Festival of First Films in Singapore. Puteri Gunung Ledang was Malaysia's official entry for the 2004 Academy Awards.