Last year, the Malaysia Film Festival (FFM) – which gives recognition to the talents in the local film industry – was shrouded in controversy after its nominees were announced.

Questions were raised, like why the Bahasa Malaysia films and Non-Bahasa Malaysia films were separated for Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay categories.

After much debate – publicly and on the Internet – all non-Bahasa Malaysia film categories were removed and the nominees were combined in the original category for Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay.

However, a new category was introduced – the Best Film in the National Language category.

This year, to curb any controversy, National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) decided to only announce the upcoming FFM29 nominees for all the categories on the awards night itself.

According to Finas’ chairman Datuk Mohd Khusairi Abdul Talib, this would also encourage more participants from the entertainment industry to grace the awards night.

The awards night will be held on Sept 23 at Dewan Merdeka, Putra World Trade Centre. It will be aired live on Astro Ria.

So far, 40 filmmakers have submitted their features for consideration. Among the films are Interchange, Pekak, Redha, Rock Bro, Hanyut, Kau Yang Satu, Kimchi Untuk Awak, Adiwiraku and Lebuhraya Ke Neraka. Undoubtedly, box office hits J Revolusi, which has earned RM7.13mil, and Abang Long Fadil 2 (with RM13mil) so far, as well as Desolasi (for its commendable special effects and unique plot about a sole man in the world) will be among the nominees, too.

FFM29

Zul Ariffin is the star of action film J Revolusi. Photo: Grand Brilliance

In view of the change, the committee is looking at the possibility of cutting down performances as well as the acceptance speeches.

Besides the awards ceremony, there are other events happening in conjunction with the festival.

On Sept 18, Finas will be screening Syamsul Yusof’s Munafik and Ghaz Abu Bakar’s Polis Evo at its headquarters in Hulu Klang, Selangor.

There will be a “Masterclass with American Society of Cinematographers” on Sept 19 as well as a Q&A session with Indian director Sasi (Roja Kootam, 2002) on Sept 22.

Finas will also look back on the life and work of the late Tan Sri Jins Shamsudin who passed away in March this year.