Celebrating youth mental health through films
10 Oct – The My Mind on Film (MMOF) Youth Mental Health Short Film Festival has recently wrapped up its third season with their Screening and Awards Ceremony on Saturday at GSC Starling Mall, Selangor.
With the theme of "Revival," this season drew focus to the universal nature of mental health, that it is changeable and includes the positive; a perspective that profoundly resonated with youths.
The festival received an overwhelming 953 submissions from youths aged 15-25 in Malaysia and all over the world.
The festival, a collaborative effort by the Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing (CMHW) of HELP University and the Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA), partnered with Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) for the second consecutive year, bringing together a diverse array of talents, with industry experts including Prof. Dato' Dr Andrew Mohanraj, President of the Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA); Brenda Danker, Co-Founder of Freedom Film Network; and Tunku Mona Riza, award-winning Film Director and Executive Producer of Current Pictures, who played a crucial role in evaluating and selecting the season's winners.
Nine finalists saw their films on the big screens, with Karl Cedrick Barcoma Marquez (23) from the Philippines winning the International Young Adult Category (ages 18-25) prize with his slice of life film, 'In case you have a hard time,' which emphasised sharing not just struggles but also joy.
Season 2 finalist turned Season 3 winner, Lim Min Xue's (17) poetry film about navigating loss, 'I think I'm getting better,' topped the Malaysian High School Category (ages 15-17).
Lim Min Xue wins Best Youth Film in the Malaysian High Schoolers Category with Ms. Shirley Low, GSC Chief Marketing Officer
Finally, for the Malaysian Young Adult Category (ages 18-25), the Grand Prize was clinched by Khairi Hizami Zalani's (25) drama 'Echoes of time', a narrative about accepting a father's passing and embracing new roles in life. Khairi walked away with RM10,000 in cash and RM30,000 in funding to create a mental health PSA short film to be screened at GSC theatres, with full production support from the exhibitor.
He shared, "My film aims to offer comfort and remind others that grief is universal, and life goes on. Our existence is about embracing both sadness and happiness."
Khairi Hizami Zalani (middle), Grand Prize winner of the Malaysian Young Adult Category with Dr. Gerard Louis (left), CEO of HELP Education Services and Pro Vice-Chancellor of Wellbeing at HELP University & Mr. Tung Yow Kong, GSC Movies Chief Operating Officer
The winners also received exciting internship opportunities and one-on-one sessions with Naluri, a Malaysian digital healthcare provider which aims to empower users and deliver holistic, interdisciplinary care.
MMOF continues to provide a unique platform for young creative talents to dive deep into their emotions, ideas, and stories, tackling difficult subjects and uplifting one another; creating a space where mental health discussions are not just encouraged but celebrated.
"GSC is committed to empowering young, creative talents, in line with elevating the local entertainment landscape in Malaysia. The winners of MMOF 2023 reflect the strength of our young, local talents with a bright future ahead for them, and GSC continues to provide opportunities for them to realise their dreams on the big screen," said Ms. Shirley Low, Chief Marketing Officer, Golden Screen Cinemas.
Ms. Shirley Low, GSC Chief Marketing Officer
All 9 finalist films will be publicly accessible on MMOF's YouTube channel: (@mymindonfilm8500) along with videos from the Screening and Awards Ceremony.
Cinema Online, 10 October 2023