Singing in Graveyards, the first feature film by a Malaysian director, Bradley Liew has been chosen to compete in the 31st Venice International Film Critics’ Week in Venice, Italy. The competition, which will take place on 31st August to 10th September 2016, is an independent section of the Venice International Film Festival, exclusively dedicated to first-time directors’ full-length films.
Bradley’s directorial debut will be going against six other films from across the globe; Akher Wahed Fina (Tunisia-Qatar-UAE-Lebanon), Drum (France-Iran), Jours de France (France), Los nadie (Colombia), Prank (Canada) and Le ultime cose (Italy-Switzerland-France). The films are competing for three coveted awards; Audience Award – Circolo del cinema di Verona, Mario Serandrei-Hotel Saturnia Award, and the main award of the night; Lion of the Future – “Luigi De Laurentiis” Award, which offers a US$100,000 prize.
The film, which took Bradley and the producer, Bianca Balbuena three and a half years to complete tells the story of Pepe (Pepe Smith), a 68-year-old impersonator of a Filipino rock legend who lives alone on the borders of reality, imagination and mysticism. One day, he is finally given the chance to open for the rock legend’s concert but he must do something neither one of them has ever done before – write a love song.
"I’m incredibly honoured to represent Malaysia at this year’s Venice International Film Critics’ Week, and I believe the film will create positive buzz and invoke discourse. This is Malaysia's first feature film in competition in the 'Big 3 Festivals' (Venice, Cannes, Berlin) after a 6 year absence, and I hope that Malaysian distributors would take into consideration to distribute the film locally," said Bradley who won the Lumos Award for Outstanding Performance at the 2012 Asian Film Academy in Busan, South Korea.
Produced under Epicmedia Productions in the Philippines, Singing in Graveyards was the recipient of Vision Sud Est Production Support Fund from Switzerland in 2015 and the Most Promising Project Award at the inaugural Southeast Asian Film Lab of the Singapore International Film Festival in 2014.
From left to right: Bradley Liew and Pepe Smith