The Beginning of Something / by next new wave

Words from Tan Chui Mui, Festival Director of SeaShorts


I started making short films after watching Amir Muhammad’s “6 Shorts”. The compilations of 6 short films have something so playful and reflective, it gave me an itch to grab a camera and do something. And each time I saw a short film by a fellow filmmakers, people nearby, like Royston Tan from Singapore, Edwin from Indonesia and Aditya Assarat from Thailand, it makes me want to make film. I have a shock when I first saw Edwin’s A Very Slow Breakfast in 2004, I realised there are so many things I still had not tried before!

Time and again you hear someone shouts, “Le Cinéma est mort!”

But again and again, we are seeing proofs that cinema is still alive and living well, and kicking strong. Especially short films.

It is especially short films that show us cinema is still young and curious.

I will say short film has the spirit of the beginning of cinema. Short films is something to be celebrated.


I remember the first ever short film festival I attended, I was 27, year 2005. My short film A Tree in Tanjung Malim was in competition. I went to a small German town all by myself.

It was the legendary Oberhausen Short Film Festival. I heard Wim Wenders smoked his first cigarette here, he was 17. Maybe not 17, or maybe not Wim Wender, but another well known German filmmaker.

Nevertheless, it is a way to tell people that Oberhausen is the world oldest short film festival. And famous filmmakers got inspired here when they were teenager. That always impressed people.

I had already been to a few international film festival before that, most important one was Rotterdam International Film Festival. In Rotterdam, there were so many cinemas showing so many films with so many audiences. I was overwhelmed.

Oberhausen was very different. All the films was just shown in this one single building. And there are showing only short films. And when I realized some of them just making a living by making short films, it opens up a door for me, and I took a good look inside.

It was a very important experience for me. I made a life changing decision. No, it was not picking up my first cigarette. I decided to quit my job and become a full time filmmaker.

That was what happened when I visited a short film festival for the first time.

I don’t know what will happen from you coming to this film festival.

What are you going to experience here? We are showing you more than 100 short films, from cinema auteur like Tsai Ming Liang, Lav Diaz, Aditya Assarat, John Torress, and new auteur like Davy Chou, up and coming filmmakers like Kavich Neang, Rina Tsou, to filmmakers that are still studying in the school, like Chloe Yap.

You will have a chance to meet the filmmakers, the curators, the juries, and have passionate discussion about films.

If you are crazy, you can take the challenge to watch 100 short films in SeaShorts. where you will be locked up in a room and we will give you food and drinks during short breaks. Yes, you can watch all 100 short films in 3 days.

Isn’t that great?