FreedomFilmFest 2008 at WOU

(26-28 September 2008)

The recently concluded FreedomFilmFest in Penang saw members of the public thronging WOU’s main campus from 26-28 September 2008. It was the first time WOU hosted the film festival, which returns to Penang for the third consecutive time.

This year’s festival is based on the theme “Democratic Space – Making Room for Human Rights”, aiming to draw attention to the deteriorating state of democracy in the country.

The opening ceremony of the festival was graced with the presence of two special guests, Jelutong MP, Jeff Ooi, and President of Aliran Monthly, P. Ramakrishnan, who implored the audience to stand up for democracy.

Jeff Ooi among the crowd.

Jeff Ooi among the crowd.

A number of NGOs like Aliran, PT Foundation, Pusat Khidmat Pekerja Tanjung and Non-Timber Forest Products also set up information booths to help raise visitors’ awareness on various issues like gender, human rights, democracy and the environment.

In conjunction with the festival, there was a special exhibit of still photographs, where guests were invited to pick the photograph that best captures the essence of democratic space.

Over 20 thought-provoking films and documentaries exploring issues such as human rights, environment, race, identity, religion and terrorism were screened at WOU’s Theatre 1, drawing a sizeable crowd over the three-day festival. Other highlights included talks by social activists and filmmakers.

Viewing the photographs on display.

Viewing the photographs on display.

The festival also premiered three winning films from KOMAS’s “Dare2Document” filmmaking competition - Abror Rivai’s “Pilihanraya Umum Malaysia ke-12: Demokerasi atau rebutan kerusi”, “Pecah Lobang” by Poh Si Teng, and Justin Johari Azman’s “Who Speaks for Me?”, which won the award for Most Outstanding Human Rights film.

Checking out the items for sale.

Checking out the items for sale.