The crowd, like migratory birds during winter, had flocked to the open space, spreading sheets of blanket over the sun-beaten grass of the Esplanade while waiting for the sun to set. Yet, it’s not winter in Penang, it was the beginning of the summer of 2014.

Two giant screens were hoisted in the middle of the field telling everyone on what is going to happen next. The cheer from the crowd, the flashing of lights, the sound, the excitement and then the big thing happened. Held for the first time outside Australia, the Tropfest South East Asia 2014 Film Festival took the center stage, leaving thousands of audience, all hungry for a bowl of rice depicted in a seven-minute short film.

More than just telling a story, short films allow the filmmakers’ stories to be told in unique and powerful ways. This time its by drawing inspiration from rice. Steamy, Smokey and Sticky – RICE. It was the theme of the evening. Yes – rice, served virtually Asian style.

I have a list of my favorites and hope you’ll have one too. Surely, if the talented film artist in you would like to start filming, I’ll be very happy if you include me in your casting!

Here is a re-run of the 12 short films for you to see. Enjoy watching! 

Directed by: Sean Kook / Malaysia
Graduated with a Diploma in Graphic Design at Dasein Academy of Art. He is now working as a professional wedding photographer & videographer. His interest in film is to express his ideas and imagination, and he aspires to bring honor to his country someday. Sean also loves acting.


Directed by: Emmanuel Escalona Jr. / Philippines
By day, Emannuel Escalona Jr. is a humble news video editor, taking accounts on cutting, splicing, shredding and researching news feeds. By night, he takes the cape of a filmmaker—his true love, his joy and his passion.



Directed by: Bradley Liew / Malaysia and co-producer Bianca Balbuena

Bradley Liew is a 2012 alumnus of the Asian Film Academy of the Busan International Film Festival and the 2013 NAFF Fantastic Film School of the Pucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. His short film ‘Sunrise’ was accepted into the Short Film Corner – Cannes Court Métrage at Festival du Cannes 2013.



Directed by: Supawit Buaket / Thailand and producer Dr. Paisan Boonprakob

Supawit Buaket started to make short films since he was 16. He received four short film awards in national class. He loves watching different kinds of films and plans to study filmmaking at university next year.



Directed by: Tan Chee Meng & Charlotte Lam / Malaysia

Tan Chee Meng and Charlotte Lam have worked together on several TVC’s and viral video projects. One of which has won two awards at the Kancil Awards – Malaysia’s most prestigious advertising awards competition. Charlotte is an advertising copywriter who grew up watching the late Yasmin Ahmad’s commercials and have since been inspired to make films. Tan Chee Meng has shot music videos for several notable Malaysian artistes such as Faizal Tahir and DJ Fuzz. He has also won a music award for his song in Tamil.



Directed by: Yihwen Chen and producer Lee Su May / Malaysia

Wen’s harrowing short documentary about the baby dumping crimes in Malaysia made her the first and only female filmmaker to win the most prestigious local short film competition, BMW Shorties in 2010. Her films have won several local and international awards and have been screened in Hollywood, Singapore, Korea, California and Switzerland. Recently, Wen has edited documentaries for The History Channel, The Crime and Investigation Channel and Mediacorp Singapore.



Directed by: Polen Ly and producers Polen Ly & Jimmy Henderson / Cambodia

Polen’ first short film ‘Day 360’ came out in 2012 with a public showing in Phnom Penh. In the same year, he continued to make his second short film ‘Iva’ making him the first filmmaker to make a silent film in the cinematic history of Cambodia. There followed an intensive journey of filmmaking with 4 short films and 3 short documentaries that won several awards and selection at film festivals in South East Asia, Europe, and America.



Directed by: Ezequiel Paolinelli / Malaysia

Since primary school, Ezequiel has been passionate about writing and creating stories. At the age of 19, he began writing his first novel which, due to his interest in film, became a feature film screenplay. At 22, two of his short stories were published after participating in a writing course for a year. Ezequiel’s love for film has always been prevalent, but he never had the opportunity to pursue this passion. Tropfest is his first attempt directing a short film.



Directed: Sothea Ines / Cambodia

Inspired by the experience of making her first film, Ines wants to explore her creativity and passion by making different kinds of films. Sothea Ines never thought she would direct a film so early in her career. Born in 1989, she just graduated this year with a Bachelors Degree in media management from the Department of Media and Communications of the Royal University of Phnom Penh. She dreams of working as a press/communication officer at one of the numerous INGOs in Cambodia.


MOTH IN TWILIGHT (Gamu-gamo sa Takipsilim)

Directed by: J.E. Tiglao and producer Carlos Rempillo Jr. / Philippines

J.E. Tiglao is one of the youngest filmmakers in the Philippines. He won the Best Director award at the Cinemalaya Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the Philippines. His short film Onang was privileged to have its world premiere at the Rhode Island International Film Festival in 2013.


LAEK (ល័ក្ខ)
Directed by: Mony Kann Darung / Cambodia

Majoring in Creative Multimedia, Darung hopes of enhancing his skills in visual arts and filmmaking. He is now part of the team behind a popular educational youth TV program in Cambodia



Directed by: Chan Kean Wah (黑猫) and producer CJ Lee Cheng Jen / Malaysia

”Black Cat” has loved movies since he was a kid. That triggered his passion and dreams to film his own movies, despite knowing it will be a long journey. He has taken part in all sorts of filming activities and jobs to expose himself in learning more and believes that one day he can cut his very own movie.


Thinking of participating? Head’s up for the next year’s theme – it’s WHEEL.

wheel – /(h)wēl/ (noun)

  • a circular object that revolves on an axle and is fixed below a vehicle or other object to enable it to move easily over the ground.
  • used in reference to the cycle of a specified condition or set of events.

Like you, I’m also a fan too! And if you can’t get enough? Check the International Tropfest links below: