A leading figure of Malaysian new wave cinema, U-Wei Bin HajiSaari is a published art writer, essayist and newspaper columnist and was the first Malaysian director to have a film selected for the Cannes Film Festival. A native of Pahang, Malaysia, he studied filmmaking at the New York School for Social Research in New York City. He is an active member of the Malaysian Film Director’s organisation.

His film Woman, Wife and Whore (1993), received five awards at the 11th Malaysian Film Festival, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay. In 1995, The Arsonist, was invited to Un Certain Regard in Cannes Film Festival as well as Berlin, Montreal, Nantes, Fribourg, New York and Busan and was awarded Grand Prix at the Brussels Film Festival. Nantes Film Festival held a retrospective of his work in 2001.

HajiSaari became a member of the Asia Pacific Screen Academy in 2013 when his film Hanyut (Almayer’s Folly), based on the novel by Joseph Conrad, saw him nominated for the APSA Best Screenplay award. Hanyut also received a Special Honour Award at the 2013 Asean International Film Festival.

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