The Malaysian short film “Please Hold The Line” in competition at the Venice Film Festival

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It will be a great gift for Malaysia’s National Day when the 79th Venice Film Festival kicks off on August 31st. Indeed, Malaysia will be represented this year in the prestigious event.

Short film by Malaysian director Tan Ce Ding Please hold the line was selected to compete in the Best Short Film category at the upcoming Venice Film Festival.

Tan said he was in shock when he found out his short film made it one of the final 12 titles to compete for the prize.

“It blew my mind when I heard the news. It took me a while to settle in, to digest the information because there was no way I thought my movie would be part of one of the biggest film festivals in the world,” an elated Tan said. Told StarLifestyle today (July 26).

“Most (filmmakers) around the world would send their shorts to film festivals like the Venice Film Festival, so the competition is tough. And the festival only selects 12 (titles). For us to qualify for the final (round) it’s just amazing,” he said.

Tan, who also wrote the screenplay, said the film was inspired by the rise in phone scam cases in the country.

He added that Malaysia records more than 90 million fraudulent calls a year, making it one of the highest in the world.

“As a Malaysian, I have been the victim of scam calls. I can’t help but be curious – how is it on the other end of the call?

“Beneath the exterior of a heartless, manipulative voice, is actually another human being, like you and me,” Tan explained. Please hold the line.

Director Tan Ce Ding also penned the script for “Please Hold The Line.” Picture: handout

In the 18.5-minute short, actress Kenda Sow plays a phone scammer who finds herself in a moral dilemma as she cheats on her family in order to get money for her abortion.

The film, with dialogue mostly in Cantonese, also stars Puie Heng, Ruby Faye and Billy Ng.

Tan, 31, funded the project with money he received from Hollywood studio Miramax who bought his 2017 short The masseuse be turned into a feature film.

Producer Edward Lim said his team plans to develop Please hold the line in a feature film.

“Selected in Venice has given a boost to this project. We hope it could help attract more attention from laboratories, markets and investors,” Lim said.

The Venice Film Festival will be held from August 31 to September 10 with American actress Julianne Moore as president of the jury this year.

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