A team of five composers from the Faculty of Music, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Malaysia, provided the soundtrack for the 2D animated film, Batik Girl which won the ‘best animation award’ at the Festival de Largos y Cortos de Santiago in Chile in November 2019. This film bagged a Regional Gold Medal at the 20th Digicon6 Asia, Japan in 2018.
The film, produced by Malaysian studios, The R & D in collaboration with Tudidut Studio and Faculty of Music, received support from the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) for the grant of the Intellectual Property Creator’s Challenge (IPCC).
The nine and a half minute film presents the cycle of emotions dealing with death: grief, denial, anger, and acceptance. These feelings were portrayed through the emotional journey of Mas, a young girl, after the tragic loss of her parents. She was taken care of by an elderly lady, Tok Ma, in a rural village in Terengganu in the Malaysian East Coast. She then discovered a batik workshop and immersed herself in a wonderful magical journey of healing. Musically, Mas and Tok Mas have their distinctive leitmotifs, with development in textures and harmonies becoming complex as the story unravels in symmetry with the magical world.
The magical world is an array of flora and fauna illustrated by the designs of batik, a wax painting technique on fabric. The vibrant colors provide a sense of amazement with the combination of music arrangement that nuanced the village feel, with the use of Malay dance rhythm pattern, the inang, and traditional melodic motifs.
Professor Richard William Allen, a jury at the 20th Digicon6, described Batik Girl as a profound meditation on the very idea of animation. It is “a whimsical, truly beautiful film that celebrates a life-transforming nature of the creative imagination through the glorious forms and colors of animation.”
The inspiration of the batik world symbolizes a combination of many of the modern and traditional art from the Nusantara or the Malay archipelago. It is stimulating that such flair through animation can move a global audience.
The film was released to the public in November 2019, after participation in 26 film festivals around the globe. Catch the documentary interview with the composers here and the full animated flick here.