The Awards FAQ

As we go crazy dealing with the DBKL, the VVIP, and the scariest of them all, the RSVPs, while preparing for a glitzy, controversial and memorable 4th Annual BOH Cameronian Arts Awards 2005, we take time out to answer some Frequently Asked Questions.

What are the new awards this year?

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Best Choreographer in a Mixed Bill

Best Choreographer in a Feature Length

Best Artistic Director (Dance)

Best Theatre Production

Best Dance Production

Best Music Production.

Best Community Art or Art Education Project

Special Mention – Best Interdisciplinary Production

This brings the total of awards up to 39, up 19 from the first awards of 2002.

Does the size of the arts scene in Malaysia justify the increase in the amount of awards?

At Kakiseni, we’re not hung up on size. It’s the fit that matters most, and most of the new awards were created to better reflect the shape of the practice. For example, splitting the Best Performer in Theatre award into awards for actors in Leading and Supporting roles is to recognise the different roles played by both. We also differentiate between choreography for short length and feature length works and recognise the key role of the Artistic Director in dance productions, given the predominance of mixed bill dance productions in KL.

As for the Best Production Awards — since we began the awards, artists and judges have suggested that we offer an award which recognises the best overall production in the three genres of music, dance and theatre.

People have commented that the nominees list consist of a lot of new names. Is this a reflection of the judging process being less “crony” or is there something else to it?

What? There are people who are not our cronies yet?

Here are some other comments and questions from the feedback to the Nominees list. Could you please respond to some of them?

“Kenapa produksi di bawah institusi pendidikan dicalonkan sedangkan ianya untuk tujuan pembelajaran seperti Bangsawan dan Road to Mecca, jika begitu banyak lagi produksi yang tidak diambilkira untuk diadili seperti dari UM, ASK, UKM dsbgnya.” – posted by EEMMMM

Road to Mecca was not staged as part of a course requirement for students. The actors were professional actors, and it was in fact a fully commercial production, staged for the public. ASK productions such as JAMU regularly get nominated and even win — again, the criteria is that these productions, while staged by learning institutions, are not staged as part of the student course requirement or for examination purposes.

“I would have thought that either Adeline or Kakiseni should have been courageous enough to make a decision to either (1) allow Adeline to remain as a judge but to disqualify her from being nominated or (2) disqualifying her as a judge and allowing her to be nominated.” – posted by Vox

Every year we get asked the same question. Here is an excerpt from our judging process, which is open to the public: “Judges who are involved in ANY capacity in a production cannot judge that show. It is the responsibility of the judge(s) to inform Kakiseni of any such involvement.” Furthermore, during the meeting to decide on the nominee list: “If a judge is involved in any of the potential nominees, they have to leave the room while the award category is discussed. They cannot vote in the entire category.” And at the final judges meeting during which the judges vote (in a secret ballot) the nominees they feel are most deserving of the award: “Judges who are involved in any way in a nominated show cannot vote for the entire award category, which they are also nominated for.”

“pada pendapat saya, memangnya perlu ada juga kategory yang bezakan yang contemporary dan yang tradisional. sangat susah untuk kita melihat aspek dari nilai dan estetika tradisional/klasik dengan yang modern/contemporary” – posted by pexstret

The impulse to differentiate between traditional and contemporary, or between comedy and drama, or between Mandarin and English or BM, is one we discuss with the judges every year.

Good art is good art is good art, and these distinctions really should not matter — presuming we even believe that such absolutes as ‘traditional’ or ‘contemporary’ exist at all. Having said that, our judges do realise the need to be knowledgeable about the different conventions which exist in ‘traditional’ and ‘contemporary’ works, and there is always a healthy debate among them come nomination time.

“hey, how about a catergory or two for the visual arts next year?” – posted by Simon

Sorry, no can do. We created these awards specifically for the performing arts since none existed. There are already several credible visual arts awards in existence.

Looking back at the last four years of the awards, have some of your original vision/mission changed or evolved?

The basic objectives remain the same — to promote the arts to a wider public, to acknowledge local artists.

What has the awards achieved so far?

It’s too early to tell. It’s still evolving, and to be honest we sometimes wonder what this ‘thing’ we’ve created is. A lot of soul searching goes into the whole politics of ‘awarding’ creativity, but for now, it does seem to bring some very tangible benefits — the total value of prize money each year which goes directly to the artists increases (this year, the awards amount to the RM84,000, bringing the total sum of four awards to RM264,000), the media coverage of the artists and the awards continues to grow (valued to more than RM13,600,000 — yes, it’s hard to believe), and the very fact that the awards is establishing itself as part of the KL art scene — love it or hate it, is noteworthy.

How does one promote arts in a country that is constantly worried about the evil of arts? Can bad arts destroy a culture?

Bad judgment destroys a culture. Bad art disappears. We should not get stifled under the weight of our imagined martyrdom. Other nations have been much more oppressive of artists and art, and yet have yielded tremendous work.

What can we expect in terms of performances at the awards?

It will be pretty low key compared to previous years. Its a long night and we’re trying to keep it as short as possible, so we can get to the free food and drinks after!

Why is the theme called “Your Malaysia?”

We’re constantly being told what is Malaysian and what is not, so the theme really reflects our curiosity about how the arts community views Malaysia. Our Malaysia changes every day — both as we remember it and as we experience it.

First Published: 03.05.2006 on Kakiseni

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