Short Documentary by Malaysian Duo Receives Oscars Nomination

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Upin & Ipin, Mahathir documentary fail to make the cut.

Multi-award-winning documentary St. Louis Superman, produced by two United States-based Malaysian women have made it to the Oscars’ final five for the Documentary Short Subject films category.

Malaysian film producers Cheyenne Tan (left) and Teng Poh Si (right) with American community activist Bruce Franks Jr.

The 25-minute film, produced by Washington DC-based Teng Poh Si and Los Angeles-based Cheyenne Tan, is about the story of Bruce Franks Jr, a Ferguson activist and battle rapper who was elected to the overwhelmingly white and Republican Missouri House of Representatives where he had to overcome both personal trauma and political obstacles to pass a bill critical for his community.

The nomination was announced via a “live” streaming by Korean American John Cho and actress Issa Rae on the Academy Awards’ official YouTube channel, which was scheduled at 9.18pm Malaysia time.

Directed by US-based filmmakers Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan, the short documentary has been making waves at top tier documentary festivals ever since it was released last year.

To date, the film has received numerous awards from international festivals including Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Indy Short Film Festival, Traverse City Film Festival and Rhode Island International Film Festival.

It was also acquired for US distribution by famed American television producer Sheila Nevins for MTV Documentary Films.

Last month, the short film made a milestone after it overtook 86 other short documentaries from around the world to make it to the top 10 shortlists.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian animated film Upin & Ipin: Keris Siamang Tunggal, did not receive a nomination in the Best Animated Feature category. It was among 32 animated films submitted for consideration.

M For Mahathir, which was Malaysia’s official submission for Best International Feature Film, also did not receive a nomination.

The 92nd Academy Awards will be held on February 9, 2020.