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Letters from Death Row – A film project inspired by Yong Vui Kong

Letters from Death Row
Concept art from the pre-production stages of the film.

“The death penalty subject was not something I went looking for, in fact I didn’t know much about the death penalty or [mandatory death penalty]. Then it found me.”
– Kit Lim, Malaysian filmmaker

It’s 2013, and Yong Vui Kong is still on death row in Changi Prison. The campaign to save his life is ongoing, and small changes to the law are giving us a little more hope. In the meantime, his story continues to reach people, challenging them to reflect upon their own views on the death penalty and its place in society. Malaysian filmmaker Kit Lim is just one such person.

“I came across Yong Vui Kong’s case somewhere in 2011. I was working a nine-to-five job then to finance my Master’s studies when I came home one day and read one of his letters online,” Lim writes in an email to Second Chances. “It was the seventh letter where he made amends with his father but by then he was on death row. That one really pulled at my heartstrings and all these images came floating into my mind.”

Inspired by Vui Kong’s “dignity and remorse”, Lim decided to make a film about the death penalty. Entitled ‘Letters from Death Row‘, the film’s goal is to encourage society to re-examine this archaic form of punishment.

“I hope to produce a cinematic experience with a captivating storyline, compelling characters and gripping emotions that will not lull audience into passivity but encourage discussions on the mandatory death penalty and pave the way for change.”

But it’s not easy to make a film, and Lim has had trouble securing sufficient funding. Undeterred, he is planning to launch an online crowd-funding campaign towards the end of March.

Updates on the film can be found on its Facebook page.