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Machismo plays starring role in Malaysian film world

With 'The Boys Club,' director lifts veil on sexual harassment in local moviemaking

A poster for "The Boys Club," Yihwen Chen's award-winning short documentary about the sexual harassment, bullying and misogyny she faced while making her first feature documentary for a Malaysian media organization. (Courtesy of Yihwen Chen)

KUALA LUMPUR -- Dropping like a powerless dead weight into water, a woman plunges into a liquid abyss. This is how Malaysian film director Yihwen Chen says she felt about making her first feature documentary for a Malaysian media organization. Throughout four years of filming, Chen says, she faced sexual harassment, bullying and misogyny on her own set. 

Instead of keeping quiet to protect her relationships with industry connections, Chen decided to tell all in a 22-minute documentary called "The Boys Club" (2022), which premiered in May at South Korea's Busan International Short Film Festival, winning the NETPAC Award, created to encourage talent and highlight exceptional Asian films.

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