Thursday, March 25, 2010


As a producer who has just passed the half century mark, my energy to direct TV productions and series is on the wane. That is something I cannot fight against and have accepted.
However, I do enjoy and savor creating new series and projects and seeing it to fruition.
In my new TV series Detik 12 Malam, I am allowing new blood to show their talent.
My son Aidyl Abadi returns to directing after nearly a year long break due to lack of projects.
Along with him I have decided to let a young guy by the name of Alfred Lai to direct a couple of episodes based on stories he himself developed.
Another young filmmaker, who has made a name for himself directing and producing his own short films, is Rozinor Ramli, the founder of Filmuda movement.
Though not new to the scene (having directed a few telefilems for Ogy), I find his short films quite accomplished. He will be directing the episode entitled Wayang which I wrote.
A few other young filmmakers are on board lke Zakizamani who had just shot his first science fiction telemovie that he directed, produced and wrote. Such courage should be lauded and he is assisting Abadi in Detik 12 Malam. Maybe I should also let him direct one episode.
I am also interested in finding new acting talents and through Detik 12 Malam, we have discovered some raw talents whom we believe can go far.
Amongst the most interesting is this Indian actor named Babu, who impressed me after his audition and I gave him the lead in the episode entitled Jaket. Director Ken Yap was also impressed by Babu.
For the main storyline, we are casting a new face Eva Evanynna.
We hope RTM welcomes and embraces such a move as our industry needs new faces who are talented, dteremined and disciplined. They are so many artistes out there who are talentless and egoistic, expensive and totally not disciplined. So we have to look for fresh attitudes and fresh faces. Detik 12 Malam, with its anthological structure allows me to do so.
With more projects on the horizon, I need support from young filmmakers, crew members, management personnel and artistes. I feel happy and fulfilled seeing young filmmakers blossom and work in a proper and professional environment.
I hope they appreciate all the opportunities that they receive.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What a great birthday gift Manjafilms got!!

On the 17th of March 2010, Manjafilms Sdn Bhd turned 5 years old.
So far this year, Manjafilms has been lucky. After more than a year of not being able to do any dramas, except for documentaries that we did for Awani and the Securities Commission, Manjafilms is now in production of its latest TV series for RTM entitled Detik 12 Malam. Thank you RTM.
But two days after Manjafilms turned 5 years old, Astro Citra called me for a meeting and at that meeting, thank Allah swt, our proposal for an 8 episode drama based on the Selangor Civil War of 1870 was approved and greenlighted. Yesssss!!!
After months of waiting and biting fingernails, my dream project for TV will be a reality.
If all goes well, this mini-epic will begin principal photography in early June and will be telecasted in 2011.
Now that is has been greenlighted, I can tell you that the working title is 1870 but will change once production is completed. Right now, my suggestion for the title is "1870: Setahil Timah Segumpal Darah" (1870: A tahil of tin, a clump of blood).
The story uses the 8 year Selangor Civil War as a background. For those history buffs, the civil war began in 1864 when Raja Mahadi decided to make Klang his domain by attacking it and conquering it from Raja Abdullah.
The war dragged on and brought into the picture one of our nation's most colorful but yet misunderstood characters - Tengku Kudin, the Kedah prince who was at one time the Viceroy of Selangor.
The incident, brought into play many famous names - Kapitan Yap Ah Loy, Sultan Abdul Samad, Tengku Kudin, Raja Mahadi, Syed Masyhur, Dato Dagang and many others.
The civil war culminated in the battle of Rawang when Yap Ah Loy along with fighters imported from Pahang resoundingly beat the already exhausted fighters under the leadership of Syed Masyhur and Raja Mahadi.
That final battle had a fascinating footnote - it was possibly the first instance of rocket warfare on Malaysian soil. It was reported that Yap Ah Loy, who was desperate to end the hostilities as it was costing his a fortune, imported fire arrows from China to bombard Raja Mahadi's front line.
During the eight year civil war, they were many interesting episodes - including the massacre of Kanching villagers on the order of Kapitan Yap, the sham trials of Malays suspected of piracy by the British in order to allow them to intervene in Selangor affairs and also the love triangle between Raja Mahadi, Tengku Kudin and Raja Arfah, the daughter of Sultan Abdul Samad.
Other famous battles included the battle for Kota Klang in which Raja Ismail attacked Raja Mahadi's fort without waiting for Tengku Kudin's reinforcements from Kedah. Raja Ismail sacked Raja Mahadi who went into hiding but managed to regroup and instead attack Kuala Lumpur and conquered it.
He ruled Kuala Lumpur for a few years before Yap Ah Loy decided to put his lot with Tengku Kudin and fought Raja Mahadi.
The story has lots of intrigue and an unbelievable love story. Like someone once said, fact can be stranger than fiction.
This mini-epic will be Manjafilms' greatest challenge so far. We have to follow great acts - Rosly Dhoby, Sybil Kartighesu, Korban 66 and Tangkal Besi. So, let the games begin.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Detik 12 Malam has been going smoothly for the past week. Three episodes in the can and two already offlined. Hope the crowd, especially the fans of Bilik No. 13, will love this new series.
First episode is entitled Kunci and was shot in Klang for three nights. Thank you Hotel Goldcourse for letting us shoot on your premises.
This was followed by the second episode entitled Joran about a man's desire for a haunted fishing rod. Starred old chums Mubarak Majid and Khairil Annuar whom I haven't seen for years.
Shot in Langat and Kemenshah - a difficult shoot due to the locations.
Rain too hampered progress and the final scene couldn't be shot on schedule. Needed to wrap so as not to lose momentum.
The episode entitled Telefon followed, inspired by an episode that appeared on the original balck and white Twilight Zone series. Shot totally in Keramat. Shoot was smooth eventhough I had do a massive rewrite whilst shooting the episode.
On the second night, we had to schedule and shoot the pick up scenes for Joran so that our editors can complete the offline.
Today, Telefon wrapped and tomorrow the episode entitled Jaket begins.
I am taking a break from the director's chair. My partner Ken S Yap will be filling in my shoes for this episode.
On Sunday, my son Abadi, will be directing his episode entitled Batang Kayu.
I will be busy preparing for other projects that need to be managed so that once D12M completes, there will be a smooth transition into the next projects.
And oh yes, Manjafilms Sdn Bhd turned 5 years old yesterday. Happy birthday Manjafilms.
We hope to see her celebrate her ten year anniversary in five years time and with a CV full of quality and memorable productions.
To those who have been part of this tumultuous journey, thank you. Without most of your support Manjafilms wouldn't have survived this far.
I would like to thank Tan Sri Kadir Sheikh Fadzir for being the person who gave us the opportunity to kick start the company's production slate five years ago. Thanks too to my parents, Dato Jamil Sulong and Datin Rosnani, who are part of Manjafilm's soul from day one.
To my family, especially to my wife Puteh Jerineh Ramli, who endured my struggle to make Manjafilms what it is today, thank you and sorry for the time spent away from all of you.
To my siblings, Captain Arjunaidi and Asnadi, thank you for all your support.
Some names that I need to mention and to offer them thanks for their constant support - Ken S Yap, David Oh, Dato Simon Foong, Tengku Annuar Mussadad, Sabrina Baharuddin, PA, Dato Salim Cassim, Shukor Karim and Haji Radzi Md Din. Thank you all.
To RTM, ASTRO and AWANI - a very big thank you to all of you. I hope to be producing more programmes for you in the near future.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Today is the fourth day of shooting Detik 12 Malam, my latest horror series or TV. First episode entitled Kad Kunci wrapped last night late after midnight.
It was an interesting shoot overall so far. The crew I am having has been very disciplined and professional. Then again, its early days but nevertheless keeping my fingers crossed.
Luckily we were shooting in a hotel in Klang for the last three the comfort of an airconditioned hotel suite. Today however we begin our second episode entitled Joran in Hulu Langat, and we will be in the hot sun the whole day and if it doesn't rain, a very humid evening too.
Will write and post more soon. My brudder Ken Yap is also blogging about the soon and has posted some pics I have taken. Check out his blog at

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Ever since RTM announced the results of the productions that 'won' the pitching sessions and gave the successful companies the 'surat niat', artistes have been licking their lips in anticipation.
Now, as I finalise my pre-production and casting sessions for my latest series Detik 12 Malam for RTM, I knew some of the artistes who will be the favourites of producers will take the opportunity to demand high salaries.
Of course they have the right to demand high salaries - everything has gone up so they have inflated their fees to something that even the most steely hearted producers cringe.
For example, I need a child actor for one of the episodes entitled Telefon. Good child actors are difficult to cast locally. So I was surprised when the mother demanded RM100 per scene for the child! And there was 20 over scenes! In a two day shoot this little girl will make more than RM2000!
I have never ever paid any actors by the number of scenes in my script. I have paid them by day and or by episodes, never by scenes. Where will this nonsense stop? Will the artistes soon ask payment on the number of words they speak? or the number of shots we take?
Hmmmm..maybe I should pay them for the number of realistic emotions they show on camera - thus not paying them a sen.
Things are made worse when RTM has yet to issue to producers a surat tawaran that states how much they will offer the producers for the production. Not only does this issue hurt the producers' chances of factoring their contracts, it also causes heartburn for producers who are now forced to play the guessing game using last year's rates to budget their productions. We just cross our fingers and hope that RTM will not reduce their payments for the production, citing lack of budgets.
Detik 12 Malam faces a tough time casting their episodes with popular artistes. Not being a serial TV programme (meaning a series that has a continuing story through the episodes), the cost for producing the show is higher. Every episode in D12M is different, offering different stories, artistes, locations and props. This increases the cost of production considerably since we cannot amortise the cost over the 13 episodes.
What is more difficult is that artistes, or rather well known artistes, tend to look down upon this kind of production as they prefer to lock on to longer serials where they can earn more. They hear me saying that it's a four day shoot and they say "Sorry lah Bang takder masa....tapi kalau abang bayar RM4000 boleh kot I fit into my schedule."
On the bright side, I get to now cast new faces. Especially to those who showed potential during the recent audition I had. I only hope RTM understands my predicament. Even the artistes they told me to cast have rejected or ignored our offers - and these are NEW artistes who participated in their reality programme Pilih Kasih.
So, to my actor and actress friends out there who have agreed readily to be part of D12M, thank you. To the new actors and actresses who have also agreed, welcome to this whacky world. To those who rejected, it's really your loss.