(file pix) Syamsul Yusof is ecstatic over his first international win at the Asia Pacific Film Festival recently.

MUNAFIK, the 2016 spiritual and horror combo movie by filmmaker Syamsul Yusof has brought him a lot of luck.

Last Sunday, it gave the 33-year-old director his first international award — Best Director — at the 57th Asia Pacific Film Festival (APFF) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Syamsul, who could not attend the event, got the news from his father, producer Datuk Yusof Haslam, who was informed of it by the National Film Development Corporation (Finas).

Finas’ representatives received the award on behalf of Syamsul.

“I was unable to go to Phnom Penh due to work on the sequel of Munafik.

“I did not expect Munafik to be nominated for the awards in Cambodia. It was Finas’ decision to nominate Munafik as Malaysia’s representative there, and I can’t thank them enough for that,” he told the New Straits Times yesterday.

Describing the win as a major milestone in his 12-year filmmaking and acting career, Syamsul dedicated his win to his 3-month-old son, Syaikhul Islam.

“It is a blessing. I feel humbled by this victory.”

Syamsul’s win is the second for Malaysia. The late Yasmin Ahmad won Best Director award for Muallaf at the 54th APFF in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2010.

Malaysia also scored in the Best Actor and Best Actress categories. In 1957, Tan Sri P. Ramlee won Best Actor for Anakku Sazali in the fourth FFAP. In 2004, Maya Karin won Best Actress for Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam in the 49th FFAP while Puan Sri Tiara Jacquelina won Best Actress for Puteri Gunung Ledang in the 50th FFAP the following year.

“Winning in the FFAP is an incentive for me to work harder and produce better films.

“Any award that comes to me is a recognition for my perseverance and creativity, and a benchmark for the film industry,” said Syamsul, adding that he was honoured to be following P. Ramlee’s footsteps with this FFAP win.

Munafik is the highest grossing Malaysian film, with RM19 million in collections at the box office.

It won Best Film at last year’s Malaysian Film Festival, and earned Syamsul the Best Director award.

Its sequel, Munafik 2, will be released in March next year, and stars Syamsul, Maya Karin and Mawi.

Syamsul is busy filming the music video for Senorita, the theme song of his younger brother Syafiq Yusof’s new action comedy Abang Long Fadil 2. The film will be released on Aug 24.

Senorita is a catchy pop duet. I’m collaborating with actors Datuk AC Mizal and Shuib, and Zizan Razak, who plays the title character,” he said, adding that the music video is will be released on Aug 8.