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[Event Reports]
Reminiscing Director Yasmin, Winds of Asia – Middle East section, Talentime: Oct. 21st (Tue) Talk Show

The memorial event was held in the remembrance of Director Yasmin Ahmad’s sudden passing on July 25th, 2009.

The event commenced with the mini-live event featuring the popular musician from Malaysia, Pete Teo, who is the Music Director for Talentime and also late Ms. Yasmin’s close colleague and friend. Picking up the acoustic guitar, he sang the classic song, “Blue” in medium tempo. The song was written upon a theme of “Departing person and those who were left behind” and literally is a song that is appropriate for the opening of this event.

“Yasmin was a person who was pressed for time everyday and to tell you the truth she never came to see my live concerts. It would be nice if she was listening to this song on this day from somewhere out there…." We really felt Pete’s lyrics from our heart.

The second part of the event began with the Programming Director Kenji Ishizaka’s host for the Talk Event which took place with the guests who were very close with Director Yasmin.

The first person which expressed her condolence was the Director’s younger sister, Orked Ahmad, You can tell from her name that she was the person who became the inspiration for the character of the “Orked tetralogy” which was performed by Sharifah Amani and Sharifah Aryana, and which began with the Director’s feature debut Rabun (aka My Failing Eyesight). She is a model of that attractive character.

Orked first thanked Director Yasmin in the heaven, their parents, Director’s husband, Programming Director and the film festival officials and then began reminiscing the Director’s memory.

She mentioned that during the production of the Rabun (aka My Failing Eyesight), her father suffered from the diabetes and during the preproduction of the Sepet (aka Slitty Eye) her mother had the heart illness. Nevertheless, she nursed her sick parents and still was able to complete the superb masterpiece. Following the completion of the Talentime, Director Yasmin was in the process of preparing the semi-autographical film, “Wasurenagusa”(literally means forget-me-not), and one another film which was scheduled for its shooting in Singapore.

She also mentioned that it was Director Yasmin’s daily routine to “forgive” anyone who had “hurt her feelings” on that day. If there were anyone here who watched Director Yasmin’s film today and got their feelings hurt, “I wish you could forgive her.” Orked said, “You can forget the name of the Director, but I would be happy if you can remember the aspirations that my elder sister held for the films she made.” She said this with tears in her eyes.

The next person who held the microphone was Director Ho Yuhang who participated in the film festival with his new film, At the End of Daybreak. Director Ho was a regular participant in the Yasmin’s films as ‘an actor’ and on the other hand, Yasmin showed a ‘splendid performance as an actress’ in his films .

Director Ho and Director Yasmin met through the introduction set up by Low Soon Keong, who is the Director of Photography for the Yasmin’s films. At the time, Yasmin was already well known as the CM director. On the first day they met, Director Ho headed nervously to the place of the meeting place. But Director Yasmin was more nervous than he was; thus they both suffered stage fright during their first meeting. But when Ho realized that “they were alike and were both crazy in a good sense of the word“, they quickly became friends.

But Director Ho and Director Yasmin were both busy and didn’t quite have a time to meet with each other. If they added all the times they have met together; it was only about 1 month in total days that they have spent their time togeather. But we were always communicating over the phone. According to Director Ho, the conversations that they had over the phone was a “laughable talk between the friends”, The half of his telephone bills were charges for the conversations with Director Yasmin.

And following Director Ho, Pete Teo began to talk about his memory of Ms. Yasmin.

Pete and Ms. Yasmin met each other soon after Pete released his first album "Rustic Living For Urbanites", Director Yasmin who was very pleased with the album, wrote her impression on Pete’s blog. This became a motive for Pete to visit Director’s office. Pete watched her Slitty Eyes there, “It was a best movie in 20 years that I have seen!” Pete praised the film but Director Yasmin who’s known to be a shy person behaved modestly. Pete and Yasmin became friends from this day onwards and provided the music for her third film, Gubra (aka Anxiety).

Like Director Ho, Pete didn’t have much time to meet Director Yasmin either, but they continued to communicate with each other leaving short messages in each others cellular phones. Naturally, the things they talked about in their “conversations” were about the topics of Films and Music; however there were times when he received Director Yasmin’s poems in his email.

Within the music that was used in Talentime, the most impressive song was “I Go” that was sang by Mohd Syafie Nsawip in the film. The original version, which Pete Teo sings, was not initially released in Malaysia, due to the certain circumstances. But because of the passionate approach by the Director Yasmin, it was given a second chance as a song for the soundtrack. Director Yasmin asked Pete how he created this song of “departure” and to whom he wrote it for. She asked various questions about the song but “This song was created in merely 5 minutes (as if been driven something),“ says Pete Teo. But he said that he still didn’t have a clear image back then.

And finally approximately 30 minutes of the event came to the end and “Luckily there are all the feature film prints of Director Yasmin Ahmad stored in Japan. There would be many opportunity that her films will be screened again in future,” Program Director Kenji Ishizaka gave us a joyful message.

We truly hope that the Director Yasmin Ahmad, who makes an imprint on Asian Film History, with her scintillating group of work would continued to be loved by an entire generation.

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