Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bunohan nominated for the Oscars? Seriously? Wow!

I was quite shocked when I read this piece of news on and also other portals including mainstream news portals. Basically, the news is:
Bunohan Calon Awal Filem Asing Terbaik Oscar 2013!

KUALA LUMPUR, 9 OKT 2012: Filem Bunohan arahan Dain Iskandar Said atau Din Said tersenarai dalam kategori pencalonan awal kategori Filem Asing Terbaik dalam Anugerah Academy ke-85 yang bakal diadakan pada tahun hadapan.

Memetik laporan, Bunohan yang diterajui Faizal Hussein, Zahiril Adzim dan Nam Ron ini turut bersaing dengan 70 buah filem dari serata negara lain dalam kategori yang dipertandingkan di anugerah yang cukup berprestij.

Antara saingannya adalah filem Sang Penari (The Dancer) arahan Ifa Isfansyah dari Indonesia serta Barfi arahan Anurag Basu (India).

Okayyyy…now, I find Bunohan to be an excellent piece of cinema, though not mainstream commercial cinema. It is a heavy, deep and profound movie that showed what a director can do if he had the creative freedom to do so in the country. Not in any way a box office success in Malaysia, Bunohan has been quite popular overseas raking in some awards including the aforementioned NETPAC award at the Taipei Golden Horse Festival.

Now when a I read that Bunohan is a frontfunner and has been nominated for the Oscar Best Foreign Language awards, that took me by surprise. Why? Because I think, the press has got it all wrong. Either the press was wrong or the press releases were wrong.

Academy award nominations for all major categories have not been announced yet. And this includes the award for Best Foreign Language Film Festival. Yes, a country can submit one movie to the awards, but that is not considered automatic nomination, because there is a whole load of obstacles in the way.
Read the eligibility rules found in the Academy Awards website for Foreign Language Films.

A.             Each country shall be invited to submit its best motion picture to the Academy.  Selection of that picture shall be made by one organization, jury or committee that should include artists and/or craftspeople from the field of motion pictures.  A list of the selection committee members must be submitted to the Academy no later than August 1, 2012, except newly formed committees wishing to enter the competition for the first time, which must submit their paperwork to the Academy by April 1, 2012.
B.             Only one picture will be accepted from each country.
C.            The Academy will provide official entry forms to the proper committee in each country so that the producer of the selected picture can supply full information for that picture. 
D.            The official entry forms, together with a cast and credits list, a brief English-language synopsis of the film, a biography and photograph of the director, still photographs, a poster from the film’s original release, and an original newspaper or magazine clipping advertising the picture’s run, must be received in the Academy office not later than 5 p.m. PT on Monday, October 1, 2012.  Other fact sheets also may be sent to further document the submission.
E.             Prints or DCPs should be shipped prepaid for award consideration to arrive at the Academy no later than 5 p.m. PT on Monday, October 1, 2012.
F.             The print submitted for award consideration must be identical in form with the final version in general release in the country submitting the motion picture.
G.            Countries whose motion pictures are shortlisted will be required to provide a second English-language subtitled print or DCP of the film to facilitate voting screenings.  This second print or DCP is due at the Academy by 5 p.m. PT on Thursday, January 10, 2013.
H.            Prints submitted will be retained by the Academy throughout the voting process.
I.              "Every award shall be conditioned upon the delivery to the Academy of one print or one copy of every film nominated for final balloting for all Academy Awards.  Such print or copy shall be in a format and of a quality equivalent to the film’s theatrical release; if a film exists in more than one format, then the version deposited shall be the film print.  Such print or copy shall become the property of the Academy, with the proviso, however, that the Academy shall not use such print or copy for commercial gain.  Such print or copy shall be deposited with the Academy and, subject to matters not within its control, shall be screened by the Academy for the membership in advance of distribution of final ballots." (Academy Bylaws, Article VIII, Section 6.)  The Academy will retain for its archives one print of every motion picture receiving a nomination for the Foreign Language Film award.  Prints of those films receiving nominations will be returned to the sender at Academy expense.
I.                VOTING
 .              All submissions sent to the Academy will be screened by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Committee(s).  After the screenings, the committee(s) will vote by secret ballot to nominate five foreign language motion pictures for this award.
A.             Final voting for the Foreign Language Film award shall be restricted to active and life Academy members who have attended Academy screenings, or other theatrical exhibition, of all five motion pictures nominated for the award.

Now, all FINAS did was select Bunohan to represent Malaysia for the awards and hopefully they managed to fill in the correct forms and applications on that said deadline which is 1st October 2012. Failing which it would have been disqualified for consideration. Any country can select any one film produced in their country that fits the eligibility clause in the Academy Awards Rules 13, good or bad. And it is not Best Foreign Film Award, it is actually Best Foreign Language Film Award.
Once the paperwork is done, Bunohan is now representing Malaysia against all the other countries who have selected their ‘best’ films for the award. This may include Indonesia’s The Dancer and India’s Barfi.
What happens after this? A committee will view the movies and shortlist them and they will be informed and a second round of submission including new prints are required by January 1 2013.
This shortlisted group will then be screened for members again for the third round which is to select the best five foreign language films of the lot.
This top five will be announced at the main Oscar nomination event, after which a final round of voting will be held by members to select the Best Foreign Language film.
So, to blindly announce that Bunohan is the first foreign film to be nominated for the Academy awards is a little bit premature to say the list. The correct term would be Bunohan has been selected by Finas to represent Malaysia for the Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category. That is all. And when Bunohan gets to be one of the 5 movies NOMINATED for the awards, then we can celebrate its historical achievement.  I wish Dain well and hope that Bunohan will be selected for the five slots in the final nomination process, and who knows even be voted as the Best Foreign Language Film awards. That would be something.
But meanwhile, the Press shouldn't go overboard. Chill. It’s really really early days yet.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


We are Malays…maybe…I think so...not quite sure…
By Anwardi Jamil
In the constitution, the Malays are given a definition. Article 160 of the Federal Constitution defines the Malays as someone born to a Malaysian citizen who professes to be a Muslim, habitually speaks the Malay language, adheres to Malay customs and is domiciled in Malaysia.

As simplistic as it maybe, are the Malays of Malaysia today a mirror of what was defined in the constitution? One may argue that the true Malays are found in the kampungs, so where does that leave us the urban Malays. Are we comfortable being who we are? Are we confident of our heritage?  Do we even protect the Malayness that our forefathers took centuries to define?

Who controls and shapes the Malay image in the country - the kampung folks or the urban Malays in the corridors of power?

Ask any urban Malay – do they send their children to silat classes? Do they tell their children to take up Malay dance classes? Do they buy books about local Malay legends and folklore? Do they use peribahasa Melayu to describe events and explain them to their children?
I would be surprised if any of them say yes.

In my opinion, urban Malays, who I feel controls the future of the Malay-ness of the Malays, are far from being Malays as stated in the Constitution.

How so? Let’s just look at the situation the Malays are in today.

Check out the Malays in the civil service. They only wear batik shirts only on Thursdays, not because they want to, but because they are ordered to. Batik to many would be too formal and too ‘belia’ to be worn anywhere else or at any time.

Wearing the baju Melayu is a ‘maybe’ outfit for most Malay on Fridays and a must during festivities like Hari Raya and weddings. It used to be the daily wear of any Malay. How many Malays are brave or confident enough to wear the kain pelekat when visiting the Malls?

In the corporate world, the executive Malays are more comfortable conversing in English, not because they want to, but because they believe that the non-Malays do not speak Malay fluently to carry on a fluent conversation. Yet, when they give presentations to the government departments, they scurry to polish their Bahasa Malaysia speech and delivery.

As Muslims, the Malays are also guilty to let Arabian culture and traditions replace theirs. The jubbah and the serban, synonymous with Arabic identity are replacing the songkok and baju Melayu. The Arabic kaftan is also now a preferred outfit to by the Malay ladies who once used to look like a million dollars wearing the kebaya. So much so, that the kebaya may soon be associated more as the traditional outfit of the Nyonyas than that of the Malay women.

Whilst the Indians protect their Bharatanatyam with such jealousy from being tarnished or even diluted, our dances have gone the other way. Answer me this, where can one go, for example, to see the beautiful classic Asyik dance performance today? 

Recently in a Raya musical programme, whilst a singer was delivering a traditional Malay Raya song, she was accompanied by dancers who were wearing baju Melayu with sneakers and baseball caps fusing the joget with breakdancing. How low has the Malay culture gone down to?

Why are we so scared now to even use the keris as a symbol of Malay-ness? Is it wrong to be confident and proud of one’s own race, culture and traditions of which the keris is one of its most significant symbols? How many Malays today under the age of 30 even know the names of the various parts and aspects of the keris? Do they know what parts are referred to as the hulu, the bilah, the pendongkok, the cicak, the sampir, the lok and the mata? Therefore, who is to blame when others can easily criticise the Malays when they use the keris as part and parcel of one’s own culture, and no one comes forward to defend it? We are even timid when defending our culture against the Indonesians who keep claiming intellectual rights to Malay culture like the batik, the dances we have, the cuisine and even our language, accusing us as ‘malings’ (thieves) of their culture and traditions.

How many of us Malays even talk about pusaka these days? How many would find it difficult to ‘mematekkan diri’ when speaking to Royalty? I mean, do you think it is okay to use ‘aku’ and ‘saya’, or worse, you and I, when talking to Royalty?

It is really strange to me, why we as Malays are so willing to assimilate the traditions and cultures of others whilst diluting our own? Aren’t we proud of our traditions? Aren’t we worried that within two generations, the Malay heritage and traditions may be lost forever, only to be found in museums, books and documentaries?

Whilst there is a concerted effort to protect the sanctity of the Bahasa Malaysia language that has taken centuries to be perfected, I am disappointed not to see much effort to truly instil the love for Malay culture and traditions within the younger generation of the Malay society.  I understand that cultures need to move with the times and evolve, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t jealously protect our own cultures with the passion (that) the Balinese, the Japanese, the Indians, the Arabs and the Africans show for theirs.

The love for culture, especially our own should be instilled during the primary school days. Children (of all races) should be taught to love batik painting, tarian Melayu, lagu Melayu asli, perbalas pantun, main gasing, silat, wayang kulit, bangsawan and many other disappearing traditions. Only then could we protect it (Malay culture) with confidence.

If we fail, then the definition of the Malays as set out in the Federal Constitution becomes a grey area, because we will not fit into the Clause that says we are adhering and practicing Malay customs.


At last, the greenlight for my new magazine, my first attempt at publishing, Skrip2Skrin, has been received. InsyaAllah, the inaugural issue will appear at selected newsstands come this December.
Many are asking why go into publications? Adex figures are coming down. The magazine market is already flooded with thousands of magazines. So why do it?
Well, for one, I have always wondered why there isn't a full fledge local magazine in any language that covers the local film, television, broadcasting, visual media and content industry in a serious manner? Having been part of a filmmaking family all my life, I always feel that, even today, there are many who think that the industry is a peripheral industry, one that is not serious, where revenues are not consistent and that it does not merit any serious discussion or to be afforded much time.
Well, maybe the Malaysian feature film industry can be considered 'unimportant' and 'insignificant' about twenty thirty years ago. But today, it is part of a billlion Ringgit content industry that is burgeoning. At least 40 feature film titles are being produced annually. Thousands of hours of television content are being produced yearly for RTM, STMB and Astro. Billions are spent and made in content creation and advertising revenue yearly through these mediums. Yet, surprisingly no local magazine or journal has ever been published for the creative content industry.
Heck, even the advertising fraternity has one...Adoi! So why not the content industry? One that is published in Bahasa Malaysia and English so that everyone in the industry, and foreign observers of the local film industry, can read and update their knowledge about what is going on in the Malaysian creative content industry.
Having said that, the domestic entertainment magazine industry is flourishing. In BM there many titles of which URTV, Media, Hai! and Mangga lead the way. All are gossip rags and offer nothing much in terms of serious industry information. Skrip2Skrin hopes to fill that vacuum. It will touch upon issues, delve upon industry matters that local entertainment magazines deem fit to be left out. It will cover technology, personalities, career discussions, industry outlooks, current production statuses and many more. I hope to make Skrip2Skrin the de facto Malaysian film industry magazine, more so than Finas's Sinema Malaysia magazine, which has improved in content and design in the last few issues.
However, Skrip2Skrin will be an independent magazine - not the voice of any particular body.
Yes, Finas will have space in the magazine to promote and inform the public and the citizens of the film industry about its various projects, objectives and activities, but it does not control Skrip2Skrin's content. I do.
It will also be bi-lingual. No, that doesn't mean that each article in the magazine will be in English and Bahasa Malaysia. Articles in the magazine will be published in the language that the contributors submit in. Only certain articles that I feel needs to be published in both language will be 'translated' and published in English and Bahasa Malaysia. I hope that with this bi-lingual approach, the magazine will be read by Singaporeans, Thais, Filipinos, Japanese, Koreans, Americans and Europeans, and finally they will now be kept abreast of what is happening in Malaysia.
Nevertheless, at the end of the day, publishing a magazine is still a big risk. I still have to survive on advertisements and not on circulation. I hope that my marketing team will be able to sell space for this 'niche' magazine. I hope Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and Canon will place ads in this magazines. I hope equipment suppliers, post production outfits, film production companies, cinema chain operators will also support the magazine. The people who read the magazine are their clients, their end users and their partners in the industry, and therefore I hope they see the benefits of advertising in this magazine.
Finally, I hope my peers, my friends and colleagues will support this magazine by buying it and or reading it, and spreading the word around that Skrip2Skrin is the first bonafide local film industry magazine. And for those who are itching to find a proper platform to meluahkan perasaan, to question authority or any parties may it be TV stations or government agencies, this is it. Do send in queries, articles, write ups, even production update reports to Skrip2Skrin. Email queries and submissions to

Monday, September 10, 2012


Below is the list of films scheduled for screening under the Finas wajib tayang window:

Salam Cinta from MIG bows in this week. Followed by horror flick (so what's new right?) entitled Hantu Air. Comedy is still the choice of new producers and RR Empire is will be releasing Halim Munan contesting a local Cantonese flick called Kepong Gangster for box office coins.

Astro Shaw who has been quiet this year, releases Untuk Tiga Hari, followed by another MIG release with a cute title "Aji Noh Motor" (another rempit themed comedy?). Untuk Tiga Hari may be the only movie that may be raking better numbers - directed by Afdling Shauki, the trailer looks impressive.

This is then followed by a KRU Release Hantu Kapcai. Would this film be the best performing movie from the KRU brand?
The year ends with a strangely titles movie Sofazr The Movie Jiwa Kacau, from Nusan Bakti Corp.

What happened to Tanda Putera, the multimillion Ringgit Tun Razak bio pic from Shuhaimi Baba? Are the rumours that it is back to the editing room true? Pesona Pictures have been very quiet about their flick which was actually screened to VIPs some time back already.

Uwei's Hanyut may take some time before reaching our screens. Knowing Uwei, he might want to take the film onto the international film festival circuits first before releasing it over here. Maybe he is worried that Hanyut might go the way of Bunohan, appreciated and respected overseas but ignored locally.

And where is KL Gangster 2? It is not ready yet even after a year in post? What is Syamsul doing with the movie which according to reliable sources have passed way over the RM3 million mark in terms of costs already expanded.

I wonder what's FINAS's take is on all these.

There is a lot of talk amongst the feature film producers' and directors' circles that FINAS is now a domain that belongs to documentary film makers. Those in the feature film industry are just bystanders and are treated as second class citizens.

Is there truth in this? The total money that FINAS has spent on documentaries has not been officially released yet, but monies or grants for feature films have not reached many producers and filmmakers. Only a selected few has received millions in grants for feature films. But if I were to base ringgit value against per minute of screen time, FINAS actually recognises documentaries as being more valuable.

Understandably, the KP is a documentary filmmaker (is and not was) because his works are still making the festival rounds and also his short films, and one cannot blame him for putting Malaysian documentaries on the international film map. If that is the legacy he wants to leave behind when his contract ends in FINAS, that why knock it? If he feels that documentaries are the better medium in which to introduce Malaysian filmmakers to the world, it in within his right to do so.

If you are a feature film maker like me, that's just too bad. We have to approach producers like David Teo and other who believe in his 'box office formulas' with titles like CEO Rempit, or Bini Bini Hantu Gangster or Kapchai King to move forward in our careers as filmmakers.

Wonder if there's any more free money left for the so-called Filem Negarawan announced by FINAS sometime back. Was Tanda Putera a benificiary of the grant? Was Hanyut the other beneficiary? Did KRU also receive grants for 29th Februari? It would be nice if FINAS be open about who has received grants or loans from them. At least we can track where the money has gone too - whether it has gone to films that breaks the box office or break their bank accounts.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The hoopla celebrating last year's box office hits have long gone and mostly forgotten as producers bite their fingernails and shitting bricks and they look nervously at all the numbers that are being posted on the box office charts.

Since I last wrote, not many movies have broken the RM1 million B.O. mark.

Below are the numbers as posted on Finas's website.


As you can see, only three movies have broken the RM1m barrier and that was Skop's Jalan Kembali with nearly RM5 million, Excellent Picture's coemdy Mael Lambong at RM4.9 million and Metrowealth's action movie 8 Jam at RM2.3 million.

Namwee's Hantu Gangster is however tracking well in its first weekend taking in RM1.18m from 99 screens and is still being screened.

Two non-BM movies, Air Mata Ibu and Karma Reborn didn't even make it past half a million in takings. Karma has only recouped RM240,000.00 and Air Mata Ibu faring worse with only RM70,000 in box office takings.

Tayanga Unggul who has not been aggressive in the cinema circuits of recent fell flat with Aku, Kau dan Dia, a love-story which only garnered RM160,000.00.

Worst performing movie in the last two months was M.Jamil's Momok - Jangan Cari Pasal which sputtered with only RM130,000.00 in ticket sales.

Will movies like Sam, another Skop release and directed by Yusoff Haslam's other son Syafiq, be a hit? It opens this week. Another horror movie Seram Sejuk will definitely live up to its name for the producer as they await the viewers' verdict next week as it goes out against Malaysia's first 3D movie by KRU Films entitled 29 Februari. I really hope these people know what they are doing because I hardly see promotion being done for these titles.

Another big movie Tanda Putera by Shuhami Baba under her Pesona Films stable which is still awaiting release and is already courting controversy. However, controversy good or bad usually works well for a movie. Having said that, Dalam Botol also courted controversy and fell flat.

How long too can Metrowealth keep churning out flops? Can two B.O hits cover losses from ten flops? Or does David Teoh know something that others don't? Can they just survive on Adnan Sempit 2's RM6 million  B.O.? To date, their movies are averaging RM1 million in box office this year. If not for Sempit 2, their best performing movie would be Nongkrong and 8 jam whilst their worse performing release was Hanya Aku Cinta Kau Seorang which made less than RM200,000.00.

With this kind of numbers coming in, I hope Uwei and his producers are confident of recouping their investment for HANYUT in overseas markets because (and I hope I am wrong) I doubt local viewers will flock to see his biggest, his most ambitious and his most expensive movie yet. BUNOHAN at least was well received overseas.

Meanwhile, did anyone notice that Grand Brilliance did not release any titles so far this year?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


It's more than a month past the half way mark of 2012. I am still in Sabah half way through my Pangazou series - a tough, if not my toughest ever shoot for TV. Decades ago, I did a massive 26 episode epic for RTM entitled Melaka, even built a junk for the arrival scene of Hang Li Po in Port Dickson, but we were shooting in Peninsula Malaysia where logistics for local production (even then) was accessible. Here in Kota Kinabalu, things are different.
As much as I want the Sabahans to experience my kind of production, I too am being educated on how to shoot in Sabah.
Nevertheless, I hope to wrap in three weeks time. Insya'Allah.
Meanwhile, I am looking forward to my next production - the return of Gado Gado.
Gado Gado the comedy series is dear to me. It was my first successful television series - ran for five seasons on RTM. Apart from Othman Hafsham's one-off special entitled Bunga Bunga Berguguran (I think that was the title) it was local television's first sketch based comedy series (the first episode was shown about a month or two before the first episode of Jangan Ketawa on TV3).
When I started Double Vision way back in 1990, one of my wishes was to make a sketch based comedy series the likes of Monty Python and Not the Nine O'clock News. My early pitches to stations didn't work as they either didn't know what I was talking about or they weren't really sure if it would work. At that time, only sitcoms were being produced.
Nevertheless, we decided to do a special - called TV Gila (a slight hint to the TV station I once worked with).
In the special we spoofed the Hindi classic Bobby, TV commercials, highbrow literary folks and others. It starred Ebby Yus, Jalil Hamid, Ebby Saiful, Den Wahab, Sabree Yunus and Imuda. Harun Salim Bachik, Isma Aliff and Sheila Rusly came on board when the series was confirmed.
When we first screened it for a private TV station, it was rejected and I was completely disheartened.
I went back to my editing room, and re-edited it and re-titled it Gado-Gado - a rojak of things in half an hour.
The new version found its way to RTM and surprisingly it was accepted.
A full season of 13 episodes were ordered and we went straight into production.
The rest was history - Gado Gado became one of RTM's most popular and at the same time most controversial comedy series ever. It ran for five seasons. I directed the first four seasons whilst Harun Salim Bachik directed the final season.
RTM did not stop the series, we did. We found that we ran out of ideas and we were told not to make fun of other races, not make fun of politics, not make fun of P. Ramlee, not make fun of the news etc. So we decided to take a hiatus - a long one.
Since then I have always thought of bringing Gado Gado to the big screen, but I was just too plain scared.
Last year, I met up with a couple of top Astro executives who were surprisingly Gado Gado fans. They asked if I was willing to bring back Gado Gado to Astro.
I told them I would think about it. It has been some time since I did comedy. The last being a telemovie entitled Aku Nak Jadi Hero..Tapi Takut starring Harun Salim Bachik - a Gado-Gadoesque telemovie inspired by the movie the Adventures of Waldo Mitty.
Furthermore, I don't know if viewers want to see Gado Gado again because in Astro, there are a lot of sketch based comedies - featuring artistes like Mamat Khalid, Khir Rahman, Awie Wings, Achong and a whole load of other actors. Even the humour magazine Gila Gila has been turned into a sketch based comedy series.
Would Gado Gado be able to compete? Would it be different from the other sketch based comedy series?
We shall see.
By the way, I have accepted the offer to produce Gado Gado Version 2.0 for Astro. It will be telecast in January 2013. I will begin shooting the series after Raya Aidilfitri.
Keeping my fingers crossed.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


There's good new and there's bad news. The good news (for me) is that I have decided to continue with this blog. The bad news is (for me again) is that the reason I am continuing this blog is that my plans to publish a local Malaysian cinema industry magazine has been put on hold. Furthermore, knowing that my blog actually attracts more than 80,000 views and reads mean that quite a number of people actually want to know what I think about (the local film industry)...either to know more about the industry or to find fault with my writings and attack me. Whatever the reasons are, whether you find my new postings interesting, educational, nauseating, humorous, boring, irritating or even pointless; the good thing is that you actually read it. So, having said that. Currently, I am in Sabah in the midst of my own television production Pangazou, a 13-episode drama series based on Tan Sri Herman Luping's novel of the same name. However, due to various reasons, I cannot and will not write about the production in this blog. Maybe at a later time, maybe just before the series is telecast will I write about it.
For the past few months, ever since my last posting, many movies have been screened and the trend seems to bode fairly unhealthy news for producers....suddenly, cinemagoers are not going to the cinemas (to watch local movies). This seems true as shown by the numbers being posted in Finas's website. Box-office takings have not improved and have stagnated significantly. Since mid March this year, only two local movies has broken the RM2 million Ringgit mark. Most are struggling to even break the RM1 million mark. Currently, only Shamsul Yusof's Jalan Kembali (BOHSIA 2) is coining well with well over RM4million in B.O. numbers and is still being screened. The other movie that has taken more than RM2 million was Nongkrong. Dain Said's critically acclaimed Bunohan, one of the better movies produced this year,did not click with the local audience and only managed RM780,000.
Another 'serious' movie Chow Kit, only garnered RM450,000.00 whilst Mantera, the Transformer-wannabe movie, only managed RM350,000.00.
Two highly anticipated movies, Hoore! Hoore! and Jiwa Taiko, are also not tracking well. Still in the cinemas, the numbers that have been posted is a little disappointing for the producers.
Saw Teong Hin's Hoore! Hoore!, a brave musical based on the songs of the late Sudirman, has only taken RM350,000.00 whilst Osman Ali's Jiwa Taiko, starring Bronte Palarae, has so far only boxed in RM450,000.00 (note: Jiwa Taiko has only been screened for 6 days when this number was posted). The latest attempt to add Indonesian flavor into local movies by casting a top Indonesian actress (Olivia Jensen), a movie titled Gerimis Mengundang, directed and written by prolific director Ahmad Idham, has after 19 days on the screen only posted RM220,000.00.
What happened? Are moviegoers feeling jaded with the themes and subjects offered to them by producers? Are the movies so bad that they cannot get good word of mouth publicity? Since Bunohan's release, 20 titles have been screened to date, the total box office takings of the local releases is just over RM23 million. If I assume that every title produced costs RM1.5 million (totalling RM31,000,000), that means the industry has lost easily RM9 million. This would be worse if we consider 50 percent of the takings are taken by the cinemas. Which means that the nett takings of the 21 titles since Bunohan only took in Rm11.5 million ringgit. If I take this figure, the producers have lost a total of RM20 million. These are serious numbers that we are looking at, especially when for the past two years, investors were thrilled to see local movies taking in excellent grosses at the cinemas.
I did not write this post with much glee (as some would think) or ill will. In fact, it is written with much trepidation. As a producer myself, I would like to see my fellow producers rake profits with their products. A fairly boisterous and prosperous industry means a ready pool of eager investors for us to attract.
If the numbers remain stagnant and if more movies fail to make money this year, it may be a tough 2013 for a lot of film makers. No film maker would want that.