Malaysian wins US film fest prize

PETALING JAYA - Filmmaker Indrani Kopal has gone from her humble beginnings as a computer lab technician to winning the Best Short Documentary for a film festival in the United States.

She was all smiles when her film, on a prison rehabilitation programme involving modern dance entitled The Game Changer, was announced as one of the winning films at the Harlem International Film Festival.

"What made me happier was when the men featured in my documentary performed at the film festival and the full house audience gave them a standing ovation!" said Indrani, 35, a student of Hofstra University in New York.

The film, which was part of her thesis submission for a Master's in documentary studies and production, received nominations at eight film festivals, a record-breaking success for a filmmaking student.

"I've never thought that I would go so far," she said in a Skype interview recently.

She worked as a lab technician for five years in the early 2000s before becoming a TV producer and getting a degree in multimedia communications three years ago.