13 LITTLE PICTURES

Monte Carlo

Directed by: Yasmin Ahmad
Writing Credits: Yasmin Ahmad
Producer: Bee Thiam Tan
Format: 35mm
Estimated Running Time: 70 min
Status: Development
Looking for: Pre-sales, Funds
Budget: SGD$600,000
Estimated release date: 2010

Introduction

It all happens in one night. 21-year old Hussein, a university graduate from Bangladesh, is in Singapore, hoping to make enough money to marry his childhood sweetheart at home. He works at a construction site as a menial labourer. His dreams, however, come abruptly to an end one evening, when a phone call home at a public phone booth reveals that his sweetheart is about to be married off to the son of a rich family. Utterly shattered by this piece of news, he commits something which is regarded as unthinkable and unconscionable by Bangladeshi workers abroad: He has a beer and a cigarette, and both for the very first time in his life. This act of utter defiance of course leads him to puke all over a sofa in Monte Carlo, a run down karaoke bar full of fat Chinese businessman singing old Hokkien songs.The bouncers come close to beating Hussein to a pulp when, suddenly and by a stroke of luck, he is rescued by Zubeida, a pretty but foul-mouthed young Malay waitress there. Zubeida offers to walk Hussein home. The story now follows them on their journey. It is a journey that happily unfolds into the blossoming of a new romance. MONTE CARLO examines the indomitable human capacity for survival, love and compassion, despite extreme social and financial pressures faced by people on the fringe of Singapore society.

Director’s biography

A graduate in Psychology at a British University, Yasmin is currently in advertising, an industry she has been in for the last 25 years. During those years, she started writing scripts and directing television commercials, which won her prizes both at home and abroad, including Malaysia’s first and only Cannes Gold Lion for TV advertising, Malaysia’s first and only Best of TV at the Media Spikes, and Malaysia’s first and only Silver Nomination for TV advertising at the British D&AD. Yasmin is also the first and only Malaysian to have been inducted into the Campaign Brief Asia Hall of Fame. Later, Yasmin used her newfound skills to make feature films. She has made six feature films and one documentary since, and her filmography and awards list is as follows:

RABUN (2002)
– In Competition, Turin International Film Festival, 2003
– Best ASEAN Film, 8th Malaysian Video Awards, 2003

SEPET (2004)
– Best Asian Film, 18th Tokyo International Film Festival
– Grand Jury Prize, 27th Creteil International Festival of Women’s Films

GUBRA (2005)
– In Competition, 49th San Francisco International Film Festival
– Best Film, Malaysian Film Festival, 2006

MUKSHIN (2006)
– Grand Prize of the International Jury, Generation section, 57th Berlin International Film Festival
– Special Mention, Crystal Bear, 57th Berlin International Film Festival
– Silver Hanoman, 2nd Prize, 2007 NETPAC Asian Film Festival, Jogjakarta
– Best ASEAN Feature Film, CINEMANILA International Film Festival, 2007
– Special Mention, Castellinaria International Youth Film Festival

MUALLAF (2007)
– Best Asian-Middle Eastern Film Special Mention, 22nd Tokyo International Film Festival, 2008
– Official Selection, 61st Locarno International Film Festival, 2008
– Official Selection, Pusan International Film Festival, 2008

TALENTIME (2008)
– In competition (Signis Award), Hong Kong International Film Festival, 2008

WASURENAGUSA  (English title “Forget-Me-Not”, 2008)
– Winner, 1st Prize Pusan Award, PPP, Pusan International Film Festival

Member of the Jury
– Fajr International Film Festival, Iran 2006
– Thessaloniki International Film Festival, Greece 2007
– 58th Berlin International Film Festival (Generation section), 2008

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