M for Malaysia, a documentary feature film about the election that brought hope to the nation, is set to screen at two international film festivals – CAAMFest37 and DocEdge New Zealand.
M for Malaysia will be making its world premiere at the Centre for Asian American Media Festival 2019 (CAAMFest37) in San Francisco on May 15, the largest showcase for new Asian American and Asian films. It annually presents approximately 130 works in San Francisco and Oakland, United States.
Following that, M for Malaysia is slated for a series of screening at DocEdge New Zealand: May 30 and June 2 in Auckland, and June 14 and 16 in Wellington. DocEdge New Zealand is an Academy Award-qualifying festival for feature and short documentaries. It celebrates the best in domestic and international documentary films.
M for Malaysia follows the then 92-year-old Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the campaign trail for 16 days leading up to Malaysia’s 14th General Election on May 9, 2018, when Malaysians voted out a government that had ruled them for 60 years and voted in a new one headed by Tun Dr Mahathir.
Shocked by the corruption of the previous government, the former premier had come out of a 15-year retirement to lead the Opposition Coalition of Hope (Pakatan Harapan), to victory and become the oldest Prime Minister in the world.
The story of this triumph is one of unlikely coalitions, impossible odds and almost impassable barriers. But it is also the story of the tenacity and resilience of a people who rallied around Pakatan Harapan in order to effect change in the most democratic way: through the ballot box.
The documentary includes spectacular scenes of the massive rallies around Malaysia, interviews with various politicians and civil society leaders as well as exclusive intimate footage of Dr Mahathir and his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali as they fought the battle of their lives.
M for Malaysia was directed by Ineza Roussille and Dian Lee.
“Witnessing the election campaign was an unforgettable experience, not just because we were alongside Dr. Mahathir during the campaign but also because we were extremely moved by the people of Malaysia – how they showed up in huge numbers at the election rallies, how they organised themselves to help one another to vote and how determined they were to change the government. Malaysians went from having little hope to making history,” explained Roussille and Lee.
Ineza Roussille (Mahathir’s granddaughter) is a documentary filmmaker who has made several short documentaries for non-governmental organisations. This is her first feature-length film, while Dian Lee is making her directorial debut.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Ruby Yang served as creative consultant while the original soundtrack was scored by Los Angeles-based Malaysian award-winning songwriter and musician Rendra Zawawi. Sebastian Ng was responsible for editing, while the film’s executive producers were Marina Mahathir and Dian Lee.
The film is currently securing a release date for screening in Malaysian cinemas.