Datuk Hans Isaac (NSTP/MUSTAFFA KAMAL)
Sangkar stars (from left) Zul Ariffin, Mira Filzah and Remy Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's first mixed martial arts film Sangkar and Bikers Kental 2, an action-packed road trip, are among the hopefuls at the 31st Malaysian Film Festival's (FFM31) in April.

Sangkar, directed by Kabir Bhatia with Zul Ariffin and Remy Ishak as its main stars, collected RM9.58 million at the box office, and was one of the best selling local films last year.

Likewise, Bikers Kental 2 which is directed by Helmi Yusof. Starring comedians Zizan Razak, Datuk Awie and Datuk Afdlin Shauki who went on a hilarious road trip to Thailand, it raked in RM7.67 million.

The National Film Development Corporation (Finas) yesterday announced that 67 films would be competing for 32 award categories at the FFM31.

The annual awards, organised by Finas, will be held at the Encore Melaka theatre on April 18. It will be broadcast live on Astro.

It is the second time the awards will be held in Melaka. FFM7 was held at Hotel Ramada Renaissance, Melaka in 1987.

Finas chairman Datuk Hans Isaac said that the awards, with the theme Inspirasi Sinemaku: Tanpa Sempadan (My Cinema Inspiration: Without Borders) would feature 35 Malay films, such as Sangkar, Bikers Kental 2, Misteri Delaila, Warkah, Anak Perjanjian Syaitan and Pusaka.

In addition, 15 Mandarin and Cantonese films, 12 Tamil films and four animated films have also been nominated for awards.

Hans also said that some awards will be presented during the official opening ceremony of FFM31, at Istana Budaya, Jalan Tun Razak on April 9. This will be the first time FFM is held concurrently in two states, Melaka and Kuala Lumpur.

“Four award categories namely Best Documentary, Best Short Film, Best Animated Feature Film and Best Digital Film have been reintroduced in FFM31. And we're also presenting a new category, Best Makeup, in the awards," said Hans.

In deciding the winners, he said that Finas would be inviting two foreign filmmakers or actors to join their local counterparts as judges. However, he declined to reveal them.

“We want to do something different at this year’s FFM. After all, it's to honour Malaysian cinema in 2019 where a lot of box office successes happened, and some of our films were nominated for Oscars."

“We hope everyone in the creative industry gives FFM31 their fullest support. It is our job to take Malaysian films to the world and honour the best of Malaysian talents," said Hans.