Director Quek Shio Chuan’s debut feature film, Guang, about autism has been shortlisted for four awards – best film, best director, best actor and best actress – at the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival, which starts on June 16.
The drama, which is adapted from his acclaimed short film of the same name, is also in competition for the audience award at Japan’s Fukuoka International Film Festival 2018.
If Guang wins best film at the Shanghai festival, it will follow in the footsteps of another Malaysian film Shuttle Life, which won best film, best cinematographer and best actor at the event last year.
Guang was the first short film directed by Quek after he had graduated from university in 2011.
The story was adapted from the director’s real-life experiences with his autistic brother.
The short film went on to win many film awards including the grand prize at the BMW Shorties 2011 in Malaysia, plus best film awards at the 7th Leiden International Short Film Experience, a film festival held in the Netherlands, and the 6th Festival Alto Vicentino in Italy.
Quek made a name for himself directing commercials in Malaysia and has made adverts for major corporations such as Nissan, Samsung and Petronas.
Guang got the green light to be made into a feature film in 2016.
“It’s been a very long journey and sometimes making this film almost felt impossible,” Quek said.
“I’m very humbled and honoured to be recognised for all our hard work on the film.”
The film’s main message was to show that autistic people are not mentally retarded – they are people with rich inner worlds, who must be nurtured with love and care.
Guang is set for a cinema release in Malaysia in December.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.