I’m Farah Azalea Mohamed Al Amin and I’m a Master of Film and Television studies candidate from Monash University in Melbourne. My main area of research is the political aspects that influence media representation, namely film and television in the Southeast Asia region, particularly my home town of Malaysia. I’ve examined the politics behind the censorship, rating and banning of films and television programs, and looked at how certain government bodies control what is portrayed as being suitable and appropriate to the culture.
At the 17th Biennial conference of the Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) Melbourne held in June 2008, I presented a paper (available on-line at http://arts.monash.edu.au/mai/asaa/farahazaleamohamedalamin.pdf) on the Malaysian independent filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad, whose works have received criticism and stirred controversy in Malaysia for being bold and confronting, yet were favourably received at film festivals worldwide. I’ve always been interested in learning how one film is perceived in many ways at different festivals, and this unit has provided me with the opportunity to explore the reception of films in different cultures. In August 2009, I will be involved in the Melbourne Indonesian Film Festival as a judge in the short film section.
For a film to be selected for film festivals, it has to have a distinction from commercial cinema, which is what I often seek when attending these festivals. I want to find out what makes a film worthy and unique, and what it tries to communicate to the festival audience.