The 14th installment of this arts award show, organized by BOH Plantations & Kakiseni, will be coming soon on the 7th of May. In the meantime, the judges have deliberated and as per the new format of the Cammies (the more affectionate term for the awards), the Best Of List has now been released.
What change of format, you ask? Well this year the Cammies have gotten rid of suffocating categorical barriers in order to raise the bar of artistic excellence. The shows on the “Best of 2016” list were selected by the panel of Award judges from across all performing arts categories. They came together to deliberate and make the final selection as democratically as possible. To further encourage some sort of improvement, Kakiseni has also launched the #gamechangers social media campaign to run simultaneously with this year’s Awards, where Malaysian talents who have made their mark internationally would be highlighted. This includes the likes of Rani Moorthy, a UK-based theatre producer and filmmaker; Rendra Zawawi, a chart-topping music producer based in Los Angeles; and Kun Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Dance Association, the 11-time titleholder of the Genting World Lion Dance Championship.
As to the reasons for change, Caroline Russell, the CEO of BOH Plantations said at the press conference, “The intention is to look at continuing to see the arts award evolve. Nothing can stay the same over 14 years. The industry has matured to a point where we need to make some adjustments”.
This change, although controversial to many, is more focused towards providing more tangible benefits to the community. “Often, in our efforts to encourage more strategic partnerships between corporates and creatives, we find that many business entities don’t realise that they are entitled to receive tax benefits by supporting and investing in the arts”, afirms Low Ngai Yuen, the President of Kakiseni. “Starting this year, the Awards will be reinvented as a platform for producers to meet potential sponsors keen to financially back local performing art companies.”
The process of deliberation is adjudicated by a new panel of Executive Judges. Besides merely overseeing the 2016 judging process and appraising the subcategories for inclusion in the Awards, the Executive Judges are responsible for attending shows flagged for their exceptional quality for their consideration for next year’s “Best Of” List. Although what constitutes a show that is of “exceptional quality” was never really clarified, words like “woah” and “raising the bar” were predominantly thrown around.
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