Monday, August 1, 2011


Being a filmmaker isn't much fun. Especially when it's so difficult to get your ideas, your thoughts, your dreams onto the screen.
Malaysian movies (not cinema) are going great guns. Formulaic, noisy, brash movies are minting loads of money, making the new generation of filmmakers smile proud and their producers swooning in amazement.
With KL Gangster breaking all box office records for a Malay movie, producers today would not be happy if their movies now break the RM6 million mark. If KL Gangster can recoup more than RM12 million at the box office, why can't other filmmakers do the same.
So expect a slow of slick action movies ala KL Gangster to hit the screens forthwith. No story, no character development, just fast paced mindless action.
At least, this genre is a welcomed break from the numbing horror movies that filled the local cinema slate last year. Of course, we have that crappy epic called Merong Mahawangsa which will most probably sweep most of the awards at the coming Malaysian Film Festival.
That would be a travesty as the movie could not even meet the festival's language ruling.
Meanwhile, we await the latest offerings from Adflin Shauki who has just completed his Papadom 2 and Mamat Khalid who surprisingly is doing a sequel to his unappreciated Rock. The sequel which recently wrapped principal shooting in Taiping and Ipoh is simply called Rock 2. Having made one of the biggest box office hits of his career last year with his Hantu Mak Limah Pulang Ke Rumah, I guess he is entitled to chase his dreams.
Other filmmakers like the prolific Ahmad Idham and Prof Madya Razak Maidin seemed to have reached their plateaus. Most of Ahmad Idham's movies are forgettable mush whilst Razak who has now taken over UITM's Faculty of Arts and Creative Technology (FACT) as its Dean, will be taking a sabbatical from filmmaking whilst creating little Razak-clones for the Malaysian film industry.
Whilst all these are happening, nothing much is happening in FINAS as the industry is kept wondering who would fill the vacant post of Director-General. The former DG, the now Dato' Mahyuddin Mustakim, left at the end of June. Since then the two Deputy KPs have been holding fort for FINAS. Previously, there was so much hype about who is going to replace Mahyuddin but surprisingly this time round, the Malay press have been keeping mum about the choices available for the hot seat.
Personally, I hope the government would choose internally. I believe having a professional administrator is much better having someone with experience or connections to the film industry (for the time being). FINAS needs to be stabilised after Mahyuddin's stint, not that he left FINAS in a mess, but it really needs someone who will not be conflicted and distracted by stuff that is not beneficial to FINAs and the film industry itself.
Having a civil servant, who is efficient and who is supported by a punch of Director (Pengarahs) who are already in the groove, would be ideal. FINAS then could look into the possibility of actually reshuffling their Board, again dropping all those with connections to the local film industry (to avoid claims of conflicts of interest) and appoint professionals from NGOs, banks, staturoy bodies and other agencies including academicians.
Meanwhile, if FINAS still needs the advice and intelligent musings of practitioners like Mustafa Maarof and David Teoh, they can always create a Film Industry Advisory Panel.
I doubt all this will happen, but one can always hope.

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