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Local Malay Director Receives Recognition Internationally For Cantonese Film

Local Malay Director Receives Recognition Internationally For Cantonese Film

Director Tunku Mona Riza Tunku Khalid’s film Rain Town has been recognised at several international award shows.

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Local Director Tunku Mona Riza Tunku Khalid is receiving rave reviews for her first-ever Cantonese-language film, Rain Town. For the past few weeks, the director has been making waves, winning numerous awards internationally for Rain Town.

Rain Town, for instance, recently won the Most Anticipated Language Film at the 36th China Golden Rooster Awards held in conjunction with the Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival last month. 


“Our film was amongst other amazing films from various parts of the world. What a wonderful feeling!! Able to be here with my amazing casts made today even more meaningful,” wrote the filmmaker on Instagram. 

The movie also represented Malaysia at the 10th Silk Road International Film Festival in China, the Vancouver Asian Film Festival, the 54th International Film Festival of India, and the Medan Film Festival in November.

But what has struck a chord among Malaysians about the movie is Tunku Mona Riza’s openness to direct the project despite her inability to converse in Cantonese. 

“I enjoy new challenges and I am not neglecting the Malay language, but it is good to use other languages to develop our film industry. 


“I do not just work using different languages but go through the fascinating process from different perspectives through interaction and learning. Although there is a sense of fear and apprehension, I am satisfied with the results,” said the New York Film Academy graduate. 

This is not the first time Tunku Mona Riza has dabbled in other languages. Throughout her career, she has directed projects in Mandarin, Khmer, Vietnamese, Uri (Iban), and Parit Jawa (Javanese).

That said, Tunku Mona Riza has also made films in the Malay language. In fact, she was the mastermind behind 2016’s masterpiece Redha (Beautiful Pain). 


The film, which was inspired by true events, revolved around a local family who discovers that their son is autistic. Their world crumbles as they learn about the discovery since they know nothing about the condition. 

But as the film progresses, the parents learn to embrace and navigate the complexities of the condition as a family. The film was selected as Malaysia’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards but was unfortunately not nominated. 

What is Rain Town about?

Tunku Mona Riza’s latest project Rain Town, this time around, tells the story of a local father who is domineering and controlling of his three children. The character, Choo, continuously interferes with his children’s personal lives. 

So much so that they are forced to forsake their dreams and happiness. But things take an interesting turn when Choo’s wife is faced with a tragedy, causing heart-wrenching conflicts among the family members. 

Current Pictures

Tunku Mona Riza is confident that audiences, especially Malaysian ones, can resonate with the film’s message.

“It is a common family issue faced by some communities. Although some may make light of the matter, it still can cause cracks in the relationship between family members, resulting in a loss of respect and understanding. 

“From the feedback we get, many have shared that the issues presented in the film are relatable as they are facing the same problem,” she added. 

Rain Town will make its Malaysian debut on 8 February next year. Catch the trailer here! 

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