ACF Asian Cinema Fund

Script Development Fund

2022 Script Development Fund

LIST Life I Stole
Category AFA Project
Project Life I Stole
Director SUGUA Putri Purnama
Country Malaysia
Director's Profile Sugua Putri Purnama (29) is a vivacious filmmaker from Sandakan, east of Sabah, Malaysia, known for her passionate interest in the issue of stateless children. Putri is a Malaysian Next New Wave Young Filmmaker, an ASEAN-ROK Film Leaders Incubator (FLY) alumna, as well as an Asian Film Academy (AFA) alumna. In total she has directed and produced seven short films; five fiction and two documentaries, and has received multiple awards internationally, including Silver Awards at Roshd International Film Festival, Iran; the Most Outstanding Film Grant Recipient Award and Jury Special Mention for Best Short Documentary at Freedom Film Festival, Malaysia; and was selected as a Top 12 finalist for the HFPA Snow Leopard Award at Asian World Film Festival, USA.
Currently she is in the early script development stages for her debut narrative feature, Life I Stole. Growing up in an underprivileged area made her the filmmaker she is today. She hopes to be a voice for the marginalized and powerless through her films.
Born into an undocumented family, living unseen lives on the maritime border, an inquisitive and innocent boy with nothing is forced to steal what he needs, including the identities of others.

Life I Stole is set in a slum area hidden in the mangroves near Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia. The close proximity of the maritime border between the Southern Philippines and Indonesia makes this place a hotbed of international conflict and historical border disputes. Living here, Nudin (11, Male), grows up with nothing, trapped by his undocumented status.
The film follows Nudin as he strives to obtain a birth certificate and achieve his dreams. As an undocumented child, he can only attend an alternative school built by grassroots activists. The arrival of a new teacher motivates him to secure a birth certificate and head to the capital city.
His loving father, Bakir (33), once provided for his family when they were young but is now a changed man due to the pressures of life. His mom Aminah (31) tries to acquire a birth certificate for him in her own way, without Nudin’s knowledge. His brother, Jalie (17), suggests a way to earn some fast money to get his birth certificate by becoming a drug mule. His sister, Salma (15), is set to be married off; clearing the family’s debt while also guaranteeing her own future.
Nudin sees how his own actions and desires are destroying his family. Trapped within the endless cycle of his family’s fate, Nudin finds himself at a crossroads; choose a future for himself and give up on his family, or keep on running, living as an undocumented criminal.
Director's Note
Life I Stole is my attempt to explore issues regarding the lives of stateless children; born into communities deprived of education and exposed to myriad challenges that will eventually shape them into individuals demonized and feared by the privileged groups of society. Having no power to determine their own futures, most live carbon copies of their parents’ lives, or those of others in the communities around them. That′s my Nudin; a child with potential who is trapped in the dark world of his father, brother and community. For stateless children like Nudin, the word ‘choice’ does not exist. Options are a luxury only available to children born with legal documentation. There are so many Nudins around the world.

The project is still in the developmental stages, having benefitted through multiple script and development labs around the region over the past two years. Capitalizing on this enriching process and the networks built, we are embarking on a search for potential co-production partners across South-East Asia and beyond.
Born into an undocumented family, hiding in a slum, Nudin has nothing and is forced to steal the things he needs, including the identities of others. Nudin’s story is just one among many that show us the humanity of such communities.
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