Absent Without Leave



*Filmmaker in Attendance


The tracing of personal anecdotes becomes an act of mining collective history in Lau Kek-Huat’s debut feature documentary in which he attempts to reconnect with his absent father. What follows is the gradual unraveling of his grandfather’s forgotten story: an absent father to the filmmaker’s own absent father, but also a guerrilla Communist soldier, a protector, a martyr of Malaya during WWII.  

Intensely heartfelt without being overly sentimental, Absent Without Leave navigates the murky waters of Malayan history that appears far removed from the present. It reminds us not only of Malaya’s tragic past, but also our collective amnesia, of how quickly and seamlessly these narratives are thrown into physical and psychological exile. In this journey into forgotten consciousness, we are offered a glimpse of reconciliation and a possible redemption for those who have been absent.


  • web-52-absentwithoutleave-director Lau Kek-Huat, born in Malaysia, worked as a primary school teacher in Singapore for four years. He enrolled at the National Taiwan University in 2006. He was awarded the Best Short Film Award twice (2009 and 2013) as well as the Best Director Award (2009) by the Taiwan Golden Harvest Festival. He has directed a few short films and is currently developing his first feature film.
  • Stefano Centini
  • Lau Kek-Huat
  • Lau Soon-Chin, Hoo Mook-Keow, Laiu Mee Ling
  • Hummingbird Production Co Ltd (Stefano Centini) - stefano.cn267@gmail.com

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