For the first time in the country’s history, Malaysia has picked a documentary feature film as its official submission for the Oscars®. The powerful documentary M for Malaysia, directed by Dian Lee and Ineza Roussille, has been selected as Malaysia’s official entry for the Best International Feature Film category for the 2020 Academy Awards®.
The film sheds light on the various events involved in the Malaysian general election of 2018, which ended with former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad returning to power. Ruby Yang, who won an Oscar® for Best Documentary Short Subject in 2007, lent her expertise and serves as the Creative Producer for the film. Co-Director Ineza Roussille is the granddaughter of Prime Minister Mahathir and gives a personal and intimate look at the Prime Minster with unprecedented access.
The film has had a tremendous amount of success before being selected for the Oscar® campaign. Produced by Project M Media, M for Malaysia recently screened as a part of the 24th Busan International Film Festival, Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, Centre for Asian American Media Festival 2019 (CAAMFest37) in San Francisco and DocEdge in New Zealand.
M for Malaysia follows the 2018 Malaysian General Elections when the people of Malaysia, led by a 92 year-old former Prime Minister overthrew one of the longest ruling governments in the world. Despite endless barriers thrown at them, the tense campaign pushed on with the most surprising result in the country’s history.
Dian Lee stated: “I desperately wanted to have a change of government. 60 years was long enough and like everyone else, I was utterly disgusted and fed up with the abuse of power, corruption and racial politics that had become the status quo in Malaysia. I hope this film will act as a reminder to our new government that the change we have longed for, required fortitude and sacrifices from the people of Malaysia. I also hope this film will remind my fellow Malaysians that we can make a difference, our voices and votes do matter.”
Ineza Roussille said: “I was not happy when I found out that my grandfather was running for Prime Minister yet again, 15 years after retiring from the same post. I’d never really been on the same page with him politically and partly because I didn’t want to be that close to the political machine and be seen to lose all objectivity. However, I realized how important it was to document the moment, and that I needed to use my access to do it. To witness the love and support between him and my grandmother, how she stubbornly stood by his side throughout, made me so grateful. It was just an unforgettable experience.”