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M'sian Short Film Selected Among 12 Titles To Compete In 2022 Venice Film Festival

"All the big filmmakers and directors from Hollywood will be there... and I get to be part of it with my little film, that's so unreal," local director Tan Ce Ding told SAYS.

Cover image via @tanceding91 (Instagram) & IMDb

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A Malaysian-made short film has been shortlisted to screen and compete at the 79th Venice International Film Festival this year

According to the film festival's website, local director Tan Ce Ding's short film Please Hold The Line made it into the final line-up of the Orizzonti Short Films Competition, among other international titles from France, Italy, Turkey, Belgium, and others.

The film will be played to a live audience during the event, which runs parallel to the main feature-length films competition at the prestigious festival.

Image via IMDb

Speaking to SAYS, Tan said he was in complete shock when he found out that his short film was selected as one of the 12 finalists

"It's so unbelievable. It really took me awhile to digest and process the news because it's Venice!" the elated 31-year-old told SAYS in an interview today, 28 July.

"All the big filmmakers and directors from Hollywood will be there, all these massive movies will be premiering there, and I get to be part of it with my little film, that's so unreal."

Tan, who has been in the advertising industry directing TV commercials in Malaysia for 12 years now, said he almost did not submit his film due to the festival's expensive submission fees and the low chance of being selected, but gave it a try anyway.

"Every year, all the best short films from around the world will definitely be submitted to the festival, and they only choose 12 short films. So, I had a hard time 'braining' how we made the cut," he laughed.

Director Tan Ce Ding.

Image via @tanceding91 (Instagram)

Please Hold The Line centres around a young girl from a small town in Malaysia who works as a scam call operator to afford an abortion

"I started working on the script since early last year during the lockdown," Tan shared.

"It's definitely heavily inspired by all the scam call cases that happen in Malaysia. But instead of taking a moral stand on this social issue, I decided to delve deep into what could possibly go on on the other end of a scam call."

Tan, who wrote the screenplay, said the film will explore the life and struggles of the woman and her relationship with her estranged father.

A still from the film 'Please Hold The Line'.

Image via Tan Ce Ding (Provided to SAYS)

The director also told SAYS that most of his time and effort went into research and finessing the script

So, although production only began this year, Tan said shooting went smoothly. He also attributed the quick production to main actress Kendra Sow for being a great talent to work with.

The film, featuring dialogue mainly in Cantonese, also stars Puie Heng, Ruby Faye, and Billy Ng.

The 18-minute short film will be screened at the Venice International Film Festival that is taking place for two weeks at the end of August

Encouraged by being selected, Tan shared that his team will be submitting their film to other film festivals this year to hopefully attract more attention and interest, so that they may expand their short into a full feature-length film.

As for next month in Italy, Tan said he is excited to meet and interact with other directors and the live audience to see how people react to his film.

Here are other times talented Malaysian filmmakers received international recognition for their art:

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