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Vital Support for Freedom

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Goethe-Institut Malaysia has supported many causes, artists, arts initiatives and productions since its establishment in 1962. FreedomFilmFest, has been partnering withGoethe-Institut Malaysia for many years. We speak to Festival Director, Anna Har on this partnership.

Human Rights and telling stories that matter have been the driving force behindFreedomFilmFest since its inception in 2003. As Malaysia’s annual human rights film festival, it aligns with themes under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, encouraging filmmakers and activists to use documentaries as a platform to showcase human rights films to the Malaysian public.

FreedomFilmFest welcomes the Malaysian public not only as audiences, but also as content creators. The festival has helped to build a culture of storytelling and discussion on Malaysian issues and realities. A longstanding partnership with the Goethe-Institut Malaysia has helped. Over the years, the institute has provided monetary support, brought in content, sponsored festival winners to attend Dok Leipzig (a documentary festival in Germany), and provided both regional and international networking opportunities.

Anna Har

Anna Har, Festival Director for the FreedomFilmFest explains that working with theGoethe-Institut Malaysia has “opened doors, allowing me to network with festival directors from around the world, as well as putting me in touch with a filmmaker network across South East Asia. They provide a wide-range of support for us.”

Going from strength to strength, year upon year, the festival has given out awards, grants, held workshops, sought non-mainstream narratives, and sent Malaysian creative talent to international festivals. In 2013, Goethe-Institut Malaysia’s support for the festival included bringing in German filmmaker Marcus Vetter to conduct a masterclass for the festival, as well as to UNIMAS to speak to students there. Over the years, the festival has also conducted screenings in Georgetown, Johor Bahru, Miri, Sibu, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, and Singapore.

Goethe-Institut Malaysia’s support in the arts and culture industry is dependent on the needs of the individual, production or institute being supported. In the case of FreedomFilmFest, the relationship built between them and Goethe-Institut is one which Anna describes as a “to be given support in the form of international resources and people is a win-win solution. What we as a festival are, is in line with their objectives as an institute.” They have had their venues, films, filmmakers, and prizes sponsored by the institute, depending on their needs that year.

Anna says that Goethe-Institut Malaysia has been one of the “key organisations supporting the arts and culture industry to strengthen local institutes, gain support for independent initiatives, open more options for those in the arts to get funds and exposure; filling in roles that are empty in the industry.” Support from cultural organisations such as Goethe-Institut tend to be symbiotic relationships focused on growing the industry, with a goal towards helping them towards sustainability.

“Through arts and culture, the mind is developed and eyes are opened,” Anna explains, and opening eyes to important issues and stories is perfectly in line with the theme forFreedomFilmFest 2016; ‘What Lies Beneath’. The festival empowers the storytellers, and the festival partners – including Goethe-Institut – empowers the festival. It is, just as Anna said, a ‘win-win solution’.


Freedom Filmfest 2016

FreedomFilmFest 2016 will be taking place from August 20th – 28th, and is accepting film submissions and proposals until the 1st of May 2016, click here for more information.

Click here to drop The Goethe-Institut Malaysia an inquiry on your idea or project.

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Amy De Kanter
Amy De Kanter

Former Chief Editor, frequent contributor and enthusiastic audience member, Amy is thrilled to have a job that lets her do three of the things she loves most.