The One Academy’s very own graduate Soon King Yaw is making waves across the global creative scene for his animated documentary ‘All I Did Was Smile And Say Hello’ which was chosen as the opening film for the KQED Homemade Film Festival. The short flick sheds light on the increased discrimination faced by Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tawau-native’s powerful tale was selected out of 500 submissions and bagged the Top 5 finalists spot with guest judge and former president of the San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle, Randy Myers praising the film as “soulful and poignant” with “first-rate animation.”
The story is told from the perspective of Michelle Man, an Asian-American pharmacist, who relays a shocking racist encounter during the pandemic. Moved by her response to the discrimination, Soon King said that he “wanted to make an art piece with that spirit too, to document her story. This film is not a jab against racism and the fear of this virus, but rather, a gentle reminder that we’re all human, and it’s okay to be scared but we can still be good to one another.”
Soon’s creative journey started in 2011 when he emerged as champion in The One Academy’s annual Malaysia Top 10 Young Artists Awards where he received a full scholarship to study art. No stranger to award-winning recognition, Soon’s first short documentary, ‘Something Carved and Real’ won the National Best Picture at Campus MovieFest and represented them at the Cannes Court Metrage 2017. Following that, his first narrative short film ‘My Mother, Myself & I’ starring Johor-born actress Liow Yin Yin premiered at the Oscar-qualifying film festival, Cinequest 2019 and was later screened at Caamfest, the largest film festival showcase in the US for new Asian American and Asian films.
Currently working on a new project, ‘When I See The Wind’, a collaboration with an internationally-acclaimed Chilean cinematographer Andrés Gallegos, Soon is ever-ready to keep churning out amazing pieces inspired by deep and personal stories. His dream is to write and direct a feature film in Malaysia but the 28-year-old definitely would not turn down the opportunity to make a music video for Yuna. “That would be an ultimate dream come true”, he said,
The One Academy congratulates Soon King Yaw for his amazing creative journey thus far and wish him all the best for the future!