Malaysian film ‘Stone Turtle’ selected for Locarno Film Festival’s Golden Leopard competition

The first ever Malay-language film to compete at the Swiss film festival in its main category

Stone Turtle, an upcoming film by Malaysian director Woo Ming Jin, has been selected for the Main Competition at this year’s Locarno International Film Festival and is in contention for the coveted Golden Leopard award.

The Golden Leopard is the highest honour attainable at the Locarno International Film Festival. This year’s Locarno programming was announced yesterday (July 6) via the film festival’s official website.

Stone Turtle is a Malaysian-Indonesian time-travelling thriller about a woman living on Malaysia’s east coast, and her deceptive entanglements with a man. Stone Turtle will also boast animation from a former Studio Ghibli animator.

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It stars Indonesian actress Asmara Abigail and Malaysian actor Bront Palarae. Other names in the film’s cast include Amerul Affendi, Maisyarah Mazlan, Samara Kenzo and Alison Khor.

“We made this film with some of the great talents from different countries, and to preserve some of the memories of our long-forgotten local folklore,” Woo commented about the film in a press statement.

“I’m very proud that the hard effort of our entire team has resulted in a film that we’re very satisfied with, and that a top-tier film festival like Locarno has selected this film for its Main Competition section. This is our world premiere, so it is the beginning of our film’s journey. We are looking forward to present our film alongside other great filmmakers in the world at the festival.”

Stone Turtle’s selection marks the first Malay-language film ever picked for the Swiss festival’s main categories. Woo is also nominated for Best Director at the festival, while its leading actors – Palarae and Abigail – are also in the running for the festival’s Best Actor and Best Actress awards respectively.

Woo’s previous filmography includes the 2021 apocalyptic horror film Zombitopia, which also casted Palarae, and the 2014 drama The Second Life Of Thieves, which premiered at the Busan International Film Festival.

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This year’s Locarno International Film Festival will be taking place from August 3 to August 13. Last year’s winner of Locarno’s Golden Leopard – its top prize – was Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash, the latest effort by acclaimed independent Indonesian filmmaker Edwin.

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