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By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, April 8: Famous Hollywood martial arts actor Steven Seagal will be making an appearance at the Asean International Film Festival and Awards (AIFFA) 2019, which will be held here from April 25 to 27.
Aikido master Seagal will be having a meet-the-fans session at the Old Court House at 3pm on April 27, and he will also be touring Kuching City and other attractions.
Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said this was the first time AIFFA is inviting a Western personality to the film festival, which would be on its fourth edition.
Held every two years, AIFFA began in 2013 with the appearance of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star-cum-Tomorrow Never Dies Bond girl Dato Michelle Yeo, followed by world renown kungfu daredevil Jackie Chan in 2015 and ‘Ip Man’ star Donnie Yen in 2017.
“He (Seagal) will be around. I’m sure most of you are his fans. I am a fan. I watched almost every one of his movies. He will be in Kuching throughout (AIFFA), and I’m also made to understand that he will extend his stay for a few more days.
“So, we are very fortunate to have him around, and he will also be meeting the fans when he is in Kuching,” said Abdul Karim.
Apart from that, Abdul Karim revealed that major Chinese film company Alibaba Pictures Group will also be coming to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AIFFA.
Alibaba Pictures are known to have worked on some major Hollywood films like Star Trek Beyond and Mission Impossible – Fallout.
“This is a very big breakthrough for Alibaba Pictures because they are always involved in Hollywood. For them to be willing to come down to Kuching for AIFFA reflects that they have confidence in this festival as well as wanting to know more about Sarawak and Malaysia.
“If there are opportunities for them to come over and do their filming here, that would definitely be a very big breakthrough because any movie they come up with will have a lot of followers,” he reckoned.
Meanwhile, AIFFA 2019 director Livan Tajang said there would be free movie screening open to the public throughout the festival at the Old Court House.
On the second day (April 26), she said major film and television players like Netflix, Astro and Beach House Production would also be holding talks. She invited aspiring local filmmakers and filming students as well as interested members of the public to join the talks.
On the third day (April 27), Livan said South East Asia Audio-Visual Association (Sava) and National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) will also be present at the Old Court House.
She called upon local filmmakers to come with their projects to pitch to the two organisations for funding and to become a partner to finance their projects or productions.
Another new element at AIFFA 2019, Livan revealed, would be the presence of an international talent casting director who will be doing auditions on April 27 at 11am at Restaurant Budaya in the Sarawak Steamship Building here.
She said the talent casting director has been doing casting works for not just Hong Kong and China filmmakers but also Hollywood.
“You aspiring actors and actresses out there do come and try for an audition. Get your CVs ready,” Livan urged.
She said the main event, the Gala Night, would be on April 27 at Pullman Hotel.
For those interested to witness the Awards Show during the Gala Night, tickets are priced from RM200 to RM300 and inquiries can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. — DayakDaily