APU Wins Best Cultural Diversity Film Award at the 2023 Human Environment Care Film Festival

Uncover how APU’s Mohamed Khairi Ibrahim won Best Cultural Diversity Award at an international environmental film festival.

Published 22 Mar 2024


An exciting win shook the world of animation as Mohamed Khairi Ibrahim, an esteemed animation lecturer at Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU), earned the prestigious ‘Best Cultural Diversity Film Award’ at the 2023 Human Environment Care Film Festival (HECFF) in Toronto, Canada. His animated masterpiece, ’The Pillar of Strength’, captivated audiences with its compelling narrative advocating for endangered generations and shedding light on the rich culture of the Borneo archipelago.

Running for four consecutive years since 2020, the HECFF aims to provide a platform for filmmakers to showcase their work and gain industry exposure, supporting the sustainability of their craft. Mohamed Khairi’s short film bested four other contenders from Belgium, Brazil, Malaysia and the United States. 


Mohamed Khairi Ibrahim, fondly known as Aie Ibrahim, poured his heart and soul into every aspect of the production, from writing and directing to animation and visualisation. With support from grants by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Malaysian Ministry of Finance, the film was brought to life in 2021, culminating in this well-deserved recognition.

"The Pillar of Strength" is more than just a film; it's a tribute to the resilience of indigenous communities in Borneo. Aie Ibrahim's motivation behind the project was to amplify their voices and raise awareness of their cultural heritage on a global scale, "to empower culture through animation”. To ensure authenticity, Aie Ibrahim even immersed himself in the culture of indigenous tribes in Sarawak, spending nearly three weeks exploring their way of life. 


But Aie Ibrahim's success isn't just confined to this award-winning film. With 25 accolades under his belt from prestigious festivals around the world, including Spain, France, and Korea, he has proven himself to be a master storyteller with a profound commitment to his craft.

Beyond his personal achievements, Aie Ibrahim is dedicated to passing on his knowledge and experience to the next generation of animators. As an animation lecturer at APU, he emphasises the importance of practical insights and real-world experience in animation education, stating, "Cultivating creativity and staying attuned to industry trends is essential in animation education." By immersing students in the latest techniques and trends, he aims to empower them to innovate and excel in this dynamic field.

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    Saw Jin Hua

    Saw Jin Hua

    Navigating new roads and hoping to emerge unscathed as I prepare for graduation