UMS graduate wins at Limkokwing Youth International Film Festival


By: Salbinous Saribun

KOTA KINABALU: A Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) graduate, who made a short film about her father's artistic life journey, emerged a winner for the Best Screen Play award at the recent Limkokwing Youth International Film Festival.

Siti Nuryshirah Mohd Anwar's short film entitled 'Penjara Seni' earned her a trophy and a certificate after beating 50 other contestants, including participants from China, Iran, Pakistan, Brazil, India, Philippines, Botswana, Swaziland, Syria, and Krygyzstan.

The 14-minute 19 second film featured the life story of her father, Mohd Anwar Mahmud Chuchu, who was a self-taught artist and went through challenges to chase his artistic dreams. The film was Siti Nurshurah's final year project.

Describing her win as unexpected, Siti Nuryshirah said she did not have high hope as she had submitted the same short film to other contests but luck was not on her side.

"However, I do believe that as long as there's an opportunity, there is no harm in trying. I am grateful to have won my first award and it is an international award," said the aspiring film-maker.

Siti Nursyahirah, who is a visual technology graduate, said she had chosen to tell the life story of her father because it was such an inspiring journey that the public should know as it would inspire those going through similar journey.

Through her short film, she hoped to open the eyes of all people that "self-thought artists" do exists and that their talent should not be judged by rank or position.

"My father always tells us how he became an artist. He told us how his school teachers often scolded him for filling up his exercise books with drawings and ordered him to get out of the class for doodling on the blackboard.

"But all these did not deter him from continuing with his artistic talent. My father sold 'kuih' to buy his drawing equipment and his passion for art intensified when a teacher from abroad purchased his artwork for RM5 during secondary school.

"In his adulthood, my father took courage and entered an art contest. Many professional and educated artists also joined. It was here, where my father was looked down upon and labelled as 'pelukis kampungan'," she said.

Siti Nursyahirah said after her father won the competition, he was offered to further his artistic talent in London.

However, due to financial constraint, he had to turn down the offer. Despite the setback he nevertheless managed to open his own art gallery.

Siti Nursyahirah said winning the youth international film festival could not be made possible without the help and support of her siblings, friends, and university lecturers, among others.


"It is my hope that our country organises more art competitions and that the government provides more fund to our artists, especially film-makers.

"The nation has many talented film-makers, who are facing difficulty in producing their work due to insufficient fund. I also hope the quality of Malaysian artists would continue to thrive to be on par with international art activists," she said.