KUCHING: Hollywood action star Steven Seagal will be making special appearances during the Asean International Film Festival and Awards (Aiffa) 2019, taking place here on April 25-27.
The veteran actor will be in the city throughout the three-day festival, joining local and international celebrities such as ‘Asean Jazz Queen’ Sheila Majid and former ‘Asia’s Got Talent’ hosts Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez.
Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah says ‘Sarawak is very fortunate’ to host Seagal in Aiffa this year.
He will be in town throughout the festival, where he will be meeting fans at the Old Courthouse on April 27, with the session to commence at 3pm, Abdul Karim, who is a fan of Seagal, told reporters during a press conference at a hotel here yesterday.
Datuk Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen and Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh were among the international superstars who had made special appearances in previous editions of Aiffa.
On Aiffa 2019, Abdul Karim described the fourth edition of the biennial festival as ‘being significant’ for Sarawak, in view of it coinciding with the Visit Sarawak Campaign (VSC) this year.
This is one of the events that can promote Sarawak to the tourism and film industries and since its introduction here in 2013, the festival has grown from strength to strength � having established itself as one of the premier film festivals in Asean, he remarked.
Abdul Karim pointed out that one of the highlights would be the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Alibaba Pictures Group, a Chinese film production company under Alibaba Group, which has produced blockbusters such as ‘Mission: Impossible � Fallout’ and ‘Star Trek Beyond’.
They will be coming down to sign a MoU with Aiffa, as well as to try and probe into how they can come into Sarawak or Malaysia to do filming.
For such a big production company to come down to Kuching for this film festival, this reflects that they have confidence in Aiffa and want to know more about Sarawak and Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Aiffa festival director Livan Tajang said the highly-anticipated Aiffa 2019 Gala Night this April 27 would feature 29 shortlisted films from Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia, Vietnam, Lao and the Philippines � all eyeing for the coveted awards such as ‘Best Picture-Drama’, ‘Best Picture-Action’, ‘Best Picture-Comedy’, ‘Best Actor’, ‘Best Actress’, ‘Best Supporting Actor’, ‘Best Supporting Actress’, and ‘Best Director’.
Screenings of the shortlisted films will be held from April 25 to 28 to give everyone ample opportunity to catch some of the competing films from the Asean region, she said, adding that members of the public could catch the free screenings at the Old Courthouse Auditorium, from 10am to 8pm daily.
On April 25, the ‘Party by the River’ will mark the launch of Aiffa 2019, which is also open to the public from 7pm onwards at the Kuching Waterfront extension next to the Grand Margherita Hotel.
This free event will host performances and also announcement of the nominated films, as well as the premier screening of ‘Nightmare in Bali: Kajeng Kliwon’ � a supernatural horror film shot in Bali. It is a joint-production with cast and crew from Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
Livan also listed other interesting events such as the ‘Starcraft Workshop’ at Restoran Budaya, Sarawak Steamship Building this April 25, slated for local aspiring actors, film make-up artists or anyone interested in pursuing such careers; and also the ‘Aiffa Biz World Day One’ at the Old Courthouse Event Hall on April 26, which would hold the launch, digital film talks and signing of several MoUs.
Another anticipated event would be the pitching session at Aiffa Biz World on April 27 at the Old Courthouse, from 10am onwards, where filmmakers could pitch their ideas to financiers towards securing funding for production.
We will also be conducting the first talent casting session with an international cast director based in Hong Kong, who provides international cast to Hollywood, China and Hong Kong, disclosed Livan.
The casting session would be held at Restoran Budaya, Sarawak Steamship Building here this April 27, commencing at 11am.
So aspiring actors and actresses can come for the audition with their CVs, added Livan.
Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin, and Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee were also present at the press conference.
Source: Sarawak Government