M’sian Filmmaker Makes History, Bags Netpac Award For #MeToo Documentary ‘The Boys’ Club’

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‘The Boys’ Club’, a documentary by Malaysian filmmaker Chen Yih Wen, premiered at the 39th Busan International Short Film Festival (BISFF) and won the Netpac Award, the first for a Malaysian documentary.

The film chronicles Chen as she embarks on her first feature film project, revealing her highly intimate and horrific history of sexual harassment, bullying, and misogyny.

“I’m thrilled by the acknowledgement from BISFF at our international premiere,” Chen said of earning the Netpac Award. A journalist from The Vibes noted that receiving the news on World Press Freedom Day was even more poignant for her as a press writer.

“One of the topics raised in ‘The Boys’ Club’ is media freedom. Journalists should not be harassed at work or for carrying out their duties,” said Chen.

Chen and her executive producers intend to use the film for a greater good in addition to festival screenings. They want to use the film as part of an instructional package for sexual misconduct awareness and prevention.

They would also like to advocate for a more thorough and survivor-centered Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill, which has been in the works in Malaysia for more than 20 years. Chen is collaborating on the film’s impact campaign with the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO).

In the region, she’s collaborating with award-winning Indonesian film producer Mandy Marahimin on a similar initiative.

At certain film festivals, the Netpac Award is presented to foster Asian cinema as a way to spotlight excellent films and uncover fresh talent. The judges were awestruck by the director’s tenacity and perseverance not to abandon her film, and remarkable documentary narrative talent, according to BISFF.

The jury decided that the Netpac Award should go to the lone Malaysian film at BISFF this year since it provides insight on the Asian film industry in regard to the #Metoo campaign. It urges us to show solidarity with victims while also encouraging us to think about ourselves.

The Oceania premiere of ‘The Boys’ Club’ will take place at the Doc Edge Festival 2022, an Oscar-qualifying global documentary festival. From June 1 to July 10, 2022, it will conduct its 17th edition as a hybrid festival, screening 113 films in theatres (Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch) and digitally.

Malaysian fans will be able to watch the movie via virtual theater. Tickets are purchasable through the festival’s site.

Simultaneously, The Boys Club will have its US premiere as part of the ‘Shorts 7: She Dares to Defy’ segment at the 21st San Francisco Documentary Festival, from June 1 to June 12.

The Roxie Cinema, the oldest indie theatre west of the Mississippi, showcases the best films from around the world. San Francisco is the second-largest film sector in the United States. There will be approximately 9,000 documentary fans and industry experts attending.

The BISFF, which took place from April 27 to May 2, is Korea’s oldest short film festival and an Oscar and Bafta-qualified festival.

This year, 3,243 films spanning 111 countries were submitted, with the selection panel appointing 40 films from 37 countries for the International Competition and 20 films from Korea for the Korean Competition.

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