SINGAPORE: Homegrown filmmaker Boo Junfeng bagged the Best New Director award for his critically acclaimed prison drama, Apprentice, at the inaugural Malaysia Golden Global Awards (MGGA) on Sunday evening (Mar 5).
Speaking to Channel NewsAsia from Tokyo after his win, Boo said he was "very happy".
“It's great that the film has been so well-received in Malaysia. We've been getting a lot of good word-of-mouth," he said, adding that the movie was still showing in Kuala Lumpur more than three months since its release.
“Hopefully this helps to build more buzz surrounding Singapore film in the region."
Apprentice’s lead actress Mastura Ahmad accepted the award at Resorts World Genting’s Arena of Stars on behalf of Boo.
The MGGA was established in 2016 with the view of celebrating both international and local films and to promote Malaysian arts and cultures to audiences worldwide. This year’s panel included South Korea’s Kim Dong-ho, Germany’s Andreas Dresen, Indonesia’s Garin Nugroho, China’s Professor Xie Fei, Malaysian actress Yeo Yann Yann and Taiwanese film producer Yeh Jufeng.
Apprentice is only Boo’s second film, following his successful debut Sandcastle which premiered at the International Critics' Week at Cannes 2010. The film has been flying the Singapore flag proudly around the world, kickstarted by a world premiere in the progressive Un Certain Regard section of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival last year, where it received positive feedback from international film critics and a standing ovation.
Boo has since scooped up the Rising Director award at the Busan International Film Festival, Best Film, Asian New Wave at QCinema International Film Festival, Best Narrative Film, Interfaith Competition at the St Louis International Film Festival and a Special Mention (Acting Ensemble) for the cast at the Hawaii International Film Festival.
The movie also won the coveted NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) award for Best Film at the prestigious Taipei Golden Horse Film Awards in November last year.