New Straits Times 19 November 2008

December 3, 2008

Match-making business


(From left) Dr Abu Hassan,  Ab Rauf, Mohd Mahyidin, Wafa, Ahmad Ibrahim and Zahrim Arif.
(From left) Dr Abu Hassan, Ab Rauf, Mohd Mahyidin, Wafa, Ahmad Ibrahim and Zahrim Arif.

Local filmmakers now have an avenue to showcase and promote their productions overseas. HIZREEN KAMAL writes.

EVERY filmmaker, producer and even scriptwriter would want his work to be internationally-recognised. With this in mind, the three-day Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival (KLIFF 2008), beginning Nov 26, will introduce a new “Business Matching” component. This component aims to bring together local industry players with their overseas counterparts.

KLIFF 2008 festival director Wafa Abdul Kadir said Business Matching is also a platform to expose and promote Malaysian products to the world.

“We are bringing in some 20 international distributors and buyers to meet our filmmakers and scriptwriters,” said Wafa at a Press conference.

Also present were Dr Abu Hassan Hasbullah from Universiti Malaya, KLIFF chairman Datuk Ab Rauf Yusoh, Malaysian National Film Development Corporation (Finas) director Mohd Mahyidin Mustakim, Film Directors’ Association of Malaysia president Ahmad Ibrahim and KLIFF’s vice-president of finance Zahrim Arif.

Participants of Business Matching will have direct access to the who’s who of the global film industry. It is hoped that there will be a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two parties.

“This could mean selling our scripts or even making Malaysia a filming location for their productions. Participants can speak to the foreign delegates and find out how Malaysian films can penetrate the global market.

“More Western filmmakers are filming their movies within the Asia Pacific Rim. Malaysia should cash in on this,” she said. The Business Matching programme will be held concurrently with the Symposium on Asian Cinema Heritage and Culture. Both the events will be held on Nov 27 and 28, from 9am to 6pm.

On the symposium, Wafa said many industry experts from the Asian region and the West will be coming over to share their ideas, knowledge and experiences. There will be panel discussions, workshops and talks. One of the highlights of the programme is a discussion on Asia’s ancient art of shadow play or wayang kulit, which marks the beginning of filmmaking.

The speakers include Nick Deocampo who is the Philippines’ Centre of New Cinema director and the Asian Public Intellectual Fellow of the Nippon Foundation, Indonesia Animation Film Association chairman Gotot Prakosa, founder of Osian’s-Cinefan Festival of Asian Cinema (New Delhi) and Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema president Dr Aruna Vasudev, Pusan International Film Festival programme coordinator Mina Oak and Singapore International Film Festival founder and board of director Philip Cheah.

Founder of Screenwriting Expo and mentor of award-winning directors Jim Pasternak, director/producer/screenwriter Jeff Bollow, Venice Film Festival Asian programmer Paolo Bertolin, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s principal research fellow of the Institute of Malay World and Civilisation Professor Dr Wan Zawawi Ibrahim. Bollow will talk about making movies outside Hollywood.

“Since Asia has been attracting a string of films that are made outside Hollywood, Bollow will discuss how the deals are made, the problems that one faces and how attractive the prospects are in shooting outside Hollywood,” she said.

Another interesting talk is by Dr Aruna, on the resurgence of Asian films.

Also on the cards is a film appreciation workshop entitled “Malay Film Classic: Bujang Lapok (The Raggedy Bachelor Warriors) by the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee”.

Wafa said this would be an interesting session on discovering the classics of the Malaysian cinema. “Far from just walking down memory lane, history will be made to come alive in discussing the social and political forces that shaped the emergence of Malaysian cinema.”

KLIFF 2008 is an annual event jointly organised by the Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival Sdn Bhd and Finas.

The festival, which has been accredited as one of the 300 festivals recognised by the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, is on par with the Toronto International Film Festival and Venice International Film Festival. KLIFF is also in the Asia Pacific Screen Awards’s festival calendar.

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