A graduate from The One Academy has received global recognition for his animated documentary titled “All I Did Was Smile and Say Hello” which was chosen as the opening film for KQED Homemade Film Festival.
KQED is an American media company that launched its first Annual Homemade Film Festival which aired on their YouTube channel from 11-15 May. From over 500+ entries, six short films were selected for the festival and a film created by our very own fellow Malaysian was one of them!
Soon King Yaw, who comes from Tawau but now residing in San Francisco, California, made a film called “All I Did Was Smile and Say Hello”, which sheds light on the swelling discrimination that Asian-Americans have faced during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
In a press release by The One Academy that was shared to WORLD OF BUZZ, former president of the San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle, Randy Myers and guest judges complimented Soon’s film, calling it “soulful and poignant” with “first-rate animation”.
The film takes the perspective of Michelle Man, an Asian-American pharmacist who encountered racism during the pandemic. Moved by her response to the discrimination, Soon King said that he “wanted to make an art piece with that spirit too, to document her story.”
“This film is not a jab against racism and the fear of this virus, but rather, a gentle reminder that we’re all human, and it’s okay to be scared but we can still be good to one another,” he said.
During the five-minute short film, Michelle shares her encounter with a woman and her child at the airport and their reactions toward her when all she did was smile and say “hello”.
“Their looks of shock quickly turned into dismay and then disgust, the mother took hold of her daughter’s hands and quickly ran away from me,” Michelle said.
“I wonder what happened. All I did was smile and say hello.”
“Deep down, I knew why. I was saddened, I was hurt.”
Find out what happened in the film:
Currently, Soon is working on a new project, a collaboration with internationally-acclaimed Chilean cinematographer Andrés Gallegos called “When I See The Wind”. Inspired by deep and personal stories, Soon is always ready to churn out masterpieces as well as to write and direct a feature film in Malaysia.
His ultimate dream is to have an opportunity to make a music video for Malaysia-based artist, Yuna.
In the year 2011, Soon became the champion of The One Academy’s annual Malaysia Top 10 Young Artists Awards. Ever since, he has received a full scholarship to study art and has begun his journey as an amazing artist.
“Something Carved and Real”, the first short documentary that Soon produced, won the National Best Picture at Campus MovieFest and represented them at the Cannes Court Metrage in the year 2017.
Later, his first narrative short film “My Mother, Myself & I” starring Johor-born actress Liow Yin Yin premiered at the Oscar-qualifying film festival, Cinequest 2019 and was screened at CAAMFest, the largest film festival showcase in the US for new Asian American and Asian films.
Congratulations to Soon, and may this be a motivation and inspiration for many other local artists!
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