I went to the KL 48 Hour Film Project Awards Night tonight with a feeling of dread: what if Bihun - the short we shot in less than 48 hours - was to win.
I'm not saying we made the best short in the competition - far from it, the horrible audio we produced meant there are billions of other shorts that are better. In fact, I was rooting for my personal favourite - Sendat - which I think is hilarious. Realistically, though, I believe Ganggu - a very slick detective/cop comedy would win with their wit and smooth execution. The dark horse would be the fantasy short Bye Bye Blackbird, which I think is stylistically competent and high concept without being too wanking. And they pulled it off.
Of course, being a competition with judges, you sometimes end up with surprising results. I was deathly afraid that the judges this year would be weird enough to choose Bihun and send our team to Hollywood with a short that has possibly the worst audio ever in the history of films.
I imagined myself having to explain to some white dudes with a crumpled look on their faces as they pushed the next button to watch the winning short from Malawi, Mali or Maldives. With better audio.
"No, focus on the story, which is not bad, if I do say so myself, and just... just cover your ears and pretend this is a silent film. Or that you're deaf."
That was what I was worried about, but it didn't happen. Phew! Nevertheless, the judges still made a surprising decision - Ganggu did not win anything other than Audience Choice Award. Nothing. Not a thing. Ganggu is not the best short film in the world, but for this competition, their idea is good, their execution nearly flawless. It also has the added advantage of incorporating something very Malaysian - our belief of ghosts.
Like the Japanese Kappa and Snow Maiden, Ganggu made clear the types of ghosts we believe in. I thought it was a sure bet for the top three. It got none.
Bye Bye Blackbird got first runner-up and deservingly so.
Oh well. I guess this is what always happens with judging. I was a judge myself once, and some decisions are like that.
All in all, it was a very educational experience. I will make sure the next time we do a production, we will have a sound man or someone to take care of the audio.
Bihun's audio will be fixed by end of this month, I hope, and I will upload it on YouTube with a disclaimer that the audio has been changed. We will not change anything else and leave the short film as it is. With the exception of the audio, I am pretty happy with what the six-man crew produced in 48 hours and look forward to do more with them.
Props to the organisers who have stayed up late and worked harder than any of us participants. Thank you for opening the toy chest and becoming dungeon masters. We'll meet again next year!