1. Hello. Welcome to FilmBuff(www.filmbuff.org.in)
2.Tell me something about your background.
Greetings from Malaysia, Joanne Goh here, President and Founder of the Malaysia International Film Festival. Besides, I am also the Managing Director of the film production and concert promotion company Jazzy Group of Companies.
I got my start in the entertainment industry by putting on concerts all over the world. Over the course of my twenty-plus year career, I have organised, directed, and produced well over a hundred live performances.
In 2017, I decided to take on new roles in the film industry, and since then I’ve served as an EP (executive producer) or producer on a wide variety of films both domestically and abroad. However, I haven’t lost my enthusiasm for movies, and in 2016, I established the Malaysia International Film Festival (MIFFest).
As the sixth annual Malaysia International Film Festival begins, I remain convinced that it must serve as a forum for promoting dialogue between Malaysia’s various artistic communities and those elsewhere in the world. With this, we hope to establish long-lasting connections within the film industry and to honour the splendour of cinematic creations from around the globe.
Despite the difficulties presented by the global situation, organising a film festival is never simple. However, I am fortunate in that I have a great team working with me to make this festival a success, and we are dedicated to sticking to our original plan to honour the cinematic achievements of Malaysia.
3.What motivated you to start your festival?
Mr. Wen Tien-Hsieng is the CEO of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, the most prestigious and consequential film festival in Asia. He is my role model and the inspiration behind Malaysia’s first international film festival. He got me thinking about all the great things a film festival can do for the community and the arts, and about the significance of the role of an international film festival like ours, which aims to promote Malaysian cinema internationally and put the country on the map.
I also owe a tremendous amount to Mr. Kim Dong-ho, the Honorary President of MIFFest and a pioneer in the field of Korean film festivals. I don’t think I’ve ever met a stronger man than Mr. Kim. Over the course of his 40-year career, he has made numerous significant contributions to society. Over the past five years, I’ve had the privilege of serving as Mr. Kim’s closest collaborator.
4.How your festival is different from others?
Despite MIFFest’s relative youth, the festival returns each year with full force, dedicated to bringing the best in film, culture, experience, and precious moments to the people of Malaysia. It’s amazing and alluring that we have so many stories, so many elements with which to create truly amazing stories, and especially so in South East Asian country, a really special region on the earth. We take advantage of the region’s many strengths and introduce our international guests to Southeast Asian (SEA) cinema, directors, storytellers, cuisine, culture, etc.
We are proud of our homeland, culture, and history, but we share them with others in a spirit of modesty and respect. Naturally, many excellent films from all over the world are also brought to Malaysia for the MIFFest, where the joy of filmmaking is shared.
5. What kind of films do you usually screen?
We support and value independent filmmaking. Our film festival welcomes and celebrates films from all over the world that exemplify the current style of independent filmmaking and uphold the value of humanity.
6. Is your festival specially oriented towards promoting Asian Cinemas?
Yes, Asian Cinema is one of the key elements for the festival. Malaysia International serves as a platform for fostering communication between Malaysia’s diverse artistic communities and those throughout the world, we upload the conviction of being able to establish long-lasting ties in the film industry and celebrate the beauty of Malaysian and international film art.
Every year, we endeavor to promote mutually beneficial interactions between the Malaysian and other international film industries by playing a role as a central hub in South East Asia, allowing the world to learn more about Malaysia and encouraging them to build ties in this welcoming environment.
7.What is your opinion about the contemporary Asian filmmakers? Any preferences?
Unlike what I would have predicted ten years ago, today’s generation of independent filmmakers is incredibly devoted to their local communities, and their films often have deep emotional and philosophical resonance. They have made the neighbourhood and business sector more vibrant, colourful, and noisy.
We need a variety of stories; through them, we can gain insight into the world in ways I never would have guessed before watching the show in question. There is an eagerness in the storytelling of today’s Asian filmmakers that allows them to project their stories in ways that often lead to surprises.
8.How Malaysia is being adapted to the film festival culture?
The film festival culture in Malaysia is young and rarely attended in some ways.
This is another reason why I can’t give it up: our society depends on culture. With the festival now entering its sixth year, the local community has amassed a sizeable fanbase; however, I believe that this is still not enough; eventually, we will become stronger.
9.With the rise of OTT platforms, do you think cinema in big screens is coming to an end? In that case, what is the future of Film Festivals, if at all.
Neither is true, and neither is going to happen. Large screens are essential for watching movies, and while OTT is a useful innovation in some respects, the cinema is here to stay. I don’t know how awful things could get if there weren’t movie theatres in the world.
The meaning and significance of film festivals grows.
10.What about films from Malaysia?
There is something unique about Malaysian cinema because we tell our own stories in our own ways. I think our stories are interesting and creative as well, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some foreigners who have watched our films and left with huge grins on their faces.