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Published by my.montage, 2019-12-12 03:31:33


Montage aims to give you exclusive insights on local cinematography, bringing you a different perspective from the cinemas to the ins and outs #beyondthescreen.


Keywords: magazine



with the YouTube sensation

that challenges authority
on One Two Jaga “Harga Naik, Gaji Maintain”


Chief Editor Creative Director Creative Content
Augustine Lau Buong Lee Adeline Gooi Su Ping
Muhammad Azri Syazwan
[email protected] [email protected] Abd Hamid

[email protected]


Chief Advertising Digital Content
Photographer Director Executive

Kishalinee Ramesh Ahmad Izzat Abdul Halim Thatchayanee
[email protected] [email protected]
[email protected]


Police politics as A director’s take Academic
told by renegade on a timeless lecturer walks
director classic the talk

8 18 28


Azmil Monster Replay Finale Studios
Films are Conversations redefines
more than just with the wedding
entertainment Monsters cinematography

36 42 60



Our first Montage iteration is finally here. It took quite a lot out of us
but we do hope you enjoy what we have put together. I suggest you
look forward to reading our exclusive interviews with famed directors
Namron and Al-Jafree. Their contributions to Malaysians films will

certainly prop them up as inspiration for the next generation of

Props to the Montage team for putting all their efforts into the basket.
We may have lacked in many aspects but heart was never one of
them. Many thanks to Ijat for always being the team optimist, to
6 Thatchayanee for building the website and Kisha for some fantastic
73 shots. Not forgetting of course Azri who wrote page after page of

content through consecutive bouts of sickness and of course to Adeline
whose meticulousness was key to finalising this magazine and also for
whipping the team into action whenever the spirit of the sloth chose to
possess us.

The seemingly tedious process we took to bring to you these stories
definitely brought us out of our comfort zone. Delegation of tasks
was vital yet coming together and supporting each other in major
undertakings were equally important. From days on end of being
cooped up with each other to passing on the flu amongst ourselves,
I’d say the team has come a long way. We even went as far as Kuala

Lumpur, twice!

Working on Montage’s debut issue was an enlightening experience.
Who knew filmmaking was more than picking up a camera and

shooting a story? It requires a certain grit, a certain passion bordering
on insanity to enter the business. Recording the muses, the motivations

of these people truly is an honour that we at Montage do not take for
granted. It is the people behind the scenes. It is the story of making a

story. It is all about what’s beyond the screen.






NMAoMnRtaOgNe ISSUE 12 19

▲ One of the scenes in One Two Jaga
starring Asmara Abigail (left) and Ario
Bayu. PHOTO Namron

10 Namron or his real name Shahili performances by my students
73 Abdan is a well-known director, and I. It is intended for them to
actor, and scriptwriter in Malaysia. assess the ability of students who
“Corruption Most recently, he directed a movie have the potential to be polished
in the called One Two Jaga detailing the gems in the field of art.” After
corruption scandal in Malaysian retiring as a lecturer at ASWARA,
police force police. Namron originally began he actively pursued his artistic
has been his early career in the field of the career, landing a performing part
arts when he joined the theater in theater entitled Tanda.
something group in Perlis, his hometown. He
I wanted later went on to study at Akademi How did you come up with
Seni Budaya dan Warisan the idea to produce One
to address Kebangsaan (ASWARA) when Two Jaga?
for a long it was still known as Akademi
Seni Kebangsaan (ASK), As a The idea to produce One Two
time.” lecturer there, Namron organized Jaga was not only based on a
numerous theatrical performances true story but also some hard
to provide exposure to his students work. The project began when
in preparation for them to face the the producer of One Two Jaga,
reality of an art student’s life after Bront Palarae wanted to create
graduation. He also got to know a project for his company, Pixel
a number of well-known local Play Entertainment, as the
artists which strengthen his social company’s first project. Namron
network. Ever the opportunist, he and Bront met and talked about
began to engage with the local offering Namron a project with his
entertainment industry during company. Namron agreed. Bront’s
that time. “Whenever we have a request was that he wanted
show, I definitely will invite other something fresh, something new
artist friends such as film directors that viewers in Malaysia have
and film producers to watch


▲ The scenes took around 3 weeks to
finish shooting in Malaysia. PHOTO

never seen before. obtained RM500 and handed it the police and shooting them.
to the police. The second source That is why in the film One Two
“Corruption in the police force came from Namron’s co-author, Jaga there’s a shooting scene
has been something I wanted Ayam Fared. “He told me that his between the police and the
to address for a long time. So I friend had contacted him asking victim. According to Namron, the
created a storyline and got the for help in resolving a case,” story from a third source is based
idea to produce this movie from the director said. His friend was on a newspaper article around 10
three different sources,” Namron arrested by police but this time in years ago. The newspaper said
explained. The first source was a drug case. His friend was caught there were four illegal immigrants’
from a Indonesian laundryman in possession of marijuana. The and two policemen arrested
who used to work in Namron’s same modus operandi was used them. As the two police detained
apartment complex. One day the in this second story as in the first. those illegal immigrants, they
Indonesian told Namron that he In addition to his role as a writer, fought and police had to shoot
had just come home from helping Ayam Fared also plays a huge role them. During the altercation, one
his friend out in a bind. His friend as a social activist. He explained of them died, another was injured
was detained by two policemen. that he contacted the police and and two others escaped. However,
His friend, being an illegal negotiations took place. The Namron think there may be other
immigrant was threatened to police demanded RM8000 but reasons why the immigrants
cough up RM500 for his release. the amount was too large for provoked the police.It is possible
However, his friend did not have Fared. Finally, after consulting the that they were being blackmailed
the money to pay the police. The police, they agreed to a ransom into giving up huge sums of
Indonesian laundry man, whom of RM5000 to release his friend. money. They felt oppressed and
we came to the scene and the Both sides met at a place and he therefore they went against the
police demanded money from handed the money to the police. police. So, based on the story
him instead. Unfortunately, he did However, the policeman did not from three different sources, then
not have the money and he told release his friend and demanded comes the movie One Two Jaga.
the police so that he would be an additional RM3000. At that
given time to find some money. point,Ayam Fared felt that it was Why does this film that
He then borrowed a small amount no longer a bribe but blackmail. you produced take the
of money from another friend and He felt like taking the gun from


approach of addressing the example of the Polis Evo 1 How did you rate and
film and the Polis Evo 2 which
corruption in the Malaysian earned high profit during the choose the right actor
police force? show and the producers are likely and actress to make the

Namron claims his intention to to produce the Polis Evo 3. It is character in this movie
produce One Two Jaga that important to understand that film successful?
highlights police corruption was industry is divided into two which
because he felt work was needed is as a business and another one On the issue of cast selection,
to have a voice in it. An artwork as a work of art. I will only make Namron said that it was very
also needs to have a strong a sequel for this film if we get a easy to work with major actors
statement, otherwise the artwork high profit during screening in the and actresses like Zahiril Adzim,
will be for entertainment alone. cinema,” Rosdeen Suboh, Amerul Affendi

12 Namron also said the artwork aims In addition to the and Vanidah Imran. This is because
73 to raise public voice on an issue. corruption issue in the he already knows them all from
“In the movie One Two Jaga, the many prior projects that have

statement that has been raised police force, you also been carried out between them.
was on the issue of corruption Namron said that Dr Rosdeen
among the police. In my other cover the issue of illegal Suboh who played the character
films like Gaduh, it deals with immigrants in Malaysia Hassan in One Two Jaga was

the people with different races in this movie. Why is this his best friend while studying at
element also featured in Akademi Seni Kebangsaan (ASK),
in Malaysia. In Lembu, I highlight this movie? while Zahiril and Amerul were his
the issue of the Malays and their favorite students when he was
political matters,” he said.
a lecturer there. “Meanwhile,
Do you intend to produce Namron said that the issue of actors such as Rio Bayu who play
a One Two Jaga sequel? illegal immigrants was highlighted the role of Sugiman and Asmara
in the film because they are easy Abigail who was cast as Suriati
Namron also stated that he did targets for the police to extorting are two Indonesian actors. Both
not intend on making a One Two money out of. This is because are favorite actors of Indonesia’s
Jaga movie sequel because he these immigrants comes to famous director Joko Anwar. “The
felt that film sequels was just for Malaysia illegally without valid producer of the film, Bront Palarae
business and profit alone. He also documentation and if they report knows the two of them very well
said that the producers would not to the authorities it is likely that and I have decided to work with
produce a sequel to a movie that they will be detained by the these two actors on this film.”
did not earn a high profit during authorities. So they had to comply
the movie screening in. “We take with the demands of the police What is the comparison
who were extorting money. between the response


Montage ISSUE 12 19

from the local and issues among police and illegal What is the role of
immigrants were also prevalent
overseas audiences? in Italy and regarded the issue as the three additional
something of a global nature.” characters in this movie
He also said that the response
(Rico, Marzuki, and Dato)
from the Malaysian community to
One Two Jaga was well received How long did the filming ?
despite some small budget take?
Namron also mentions that his
constraints to market the film.
This is because this is the first film Namron added that the shooting character acting as a Dato’, and
in Malaysia that touches on the of this film took about 22 days. two other characters which are
symptoms of corruption among The movie mostly takes place Rico and Marzuki required a two-
the police since no such movie during the day and the night day extra shooting time merely
14 has ever been produced by a scene only appear at the end of to increase the duration of and
73 filmmaker in Malaysia. He added the story. Namron explains this plot in the film. This is because,
that the international audience is because in order to shoot at he thinks that the film is too short
also greatly appreciated the film night, they need a lot of lighting so the decision to increase the
that he produced because they for one scene. He stressed that shooting time by two days was
were aware that Malaysia has not the selection of time, place and taken. The additional shooting
produced such a movie before. script writing is based on the day increased the duration by 20
They are also grateful that no budget provided. If shooting of minutes. Added with the calibre
other director in Malaysia dared this film requires a lot of lighting, of the director, the original
to make such a film that touches then more costs will be required. location for the three additional
on sensitive issues because of the Namron also stated that he and characters was supposed to be
policy in our country. “When the his crew received a sponsorship at the gambling shop but in the
film premiered at the Shanghai of cameras from Singapore for film they shot the characters at
International Film Festival, 20 days after finishing second a cyber cafe. Namron further
viewers acknowledged that in a film competition. “So the commented on the location
issues like illegal immigrants and challenge my crew and I faced saying that premises such as
corrupt police were a worldwide was to complete the shooting gambling shops were maintained
issue, not just in Malaysia. This in 20 days because we could and controlled by the police for
issue has been around for a long only use the camera within the a long time. The police were
time and continues to this day. given time,” the director said. usually paid a sum of money every
The same thing happened when He added that the film was more month to allow the premises to
the film was aired at the Udini of realism because of the camera carry out their illegal activities.
Far East Film Festival in Italy, and function used to capture the “I get a lot of information about
viewers acknowledged that after moment. the story police because my

watching the film, corruption second assistant director worked


as a police officer at Petaling improve in order to reach enhanced in terms of storytelling
Jaya Police Headquarters. This the same standard as so that locally produced films
situation can be attributed to international film? can meet international film
the character of Hassan being standards. “Malaysian producers
a greedy policeman when he Namron emphasized that the and filmmakers rely solely on film
extorted money from other quality of films in Malaysia has genres such as comedy, horror,
workers when the worker’s made significant technological love and horror comedy. They
employer had already paid advances in visual aspects don’t dare to step out of their
the protection money to high- through films such as Paskal, comfort zone and challenge
ranking police officers,” he Pusaka, and the Polis Evo, themselves to produce a film that
added. which he said has been in close go beyond their imagination.
contact with foreign countries So, the conclusion is that
In your opinion, what and able to match the quality these weaknesses need to be
qualities do you think a of films from regional countries. addressed in order for the local
local film need to have or However, in his opinion, films films to be better quality.”
in Malaysia need to be further


Al-Jafree Md Yusop one of His latest film Mencari Rahmat On the other hand, Malaysian films

Malaysia’s most prominent has won the Kuala Lumpur have never won such an award.

directors. His most recent work Film Critics Circle Award. He is This kind of thing happens not

is a black comedy genre film the founder of Komuniti Filem due to Malaysia lacking of great

titled Mencari Rahmat. He drew Titiwangsa, a collective of directors or talents but the main

inspiration for the film based on filmmakers & cinephiles aiming to problem is that the development

Oscar Wilde’s masterpiece The rally film discourse in Malaysia by of local films is not taken care

Importance of Being Earnest. organising local film screenings & of by the responsible parties. In

Before his success as a director, discussions as well as advocating Malaysia there is a council that is

he served as the former editor for the works of local filmmakers. responsible for the development

18 Malaysian Digest, Focus Malaysia, of the local film industry, which is
The Ant Daily and The Daily Seni. Is the quality of films in the Malaysian Film Development
He is a man with many hats but he Malaysia in line with other Corporation (FINAS). However,
is most probably known as a TV Asian films? this council does not play a
or feature film writer and director. proper role in terms of developing

He was a co-writer for movies Not only in terms of quality but the local films in Malaysia as
such as Paloh (2002) and Dukun in terms of film development, other ASEAN countries do.
(2002) and of course recently Malaysia is very much far behind For example in the Philippines,
wrote and directed the award in comparison with the countries Thailand and Indonesia, they have
winning film Mencari Rahmat in like the Philippines, Thailand, good archives as their references.
2018. His foray into TV includes Indonesia and Singapore. In This is because things such as
writing telemovies Sumbangsih terms of achievements, we can documentation and archives
(1999), Teman Malam (2002), take Thailand as an example. are vital references for new film
Senandong Malam (2008), Joe & One of Thai’s best films has been directors. Classic movies can be
Faridah (2009), Melus vs Rajawali crowned winner of the Palme d’Or a really good example for them.
(as writer and director, 2015) and award at the Khan Film Festival in For example, the classic film
Tulus Ikhlas (2016). As a director France. This prestigious award is Istana Berdarah directed by Husin
he has helmed Kembara Nak Dara the highest recognition in the field Hanif has been a phenomenon
(also as the writer, 2016), Ghanim of filmmaking. The achievement is once upon a time. To be frank,
Takut Nak Azan (2018) and Evolusi the highest recognition received there has been a lot of great film
Senibina (2018). by the Thai film industry. directors like him from Singapore
in the past. Next, in the western

world, a film produced in 1939



Montage ISSUE 12 19

still exists until today. The 1800s was a bit expensive, and not educational development of the

movie collections also are all everyone could afford to have Philippines’ film industry. FDCP

complete and well archived. So it. Nowadays, by using a DSLR works to build small cinemas

when it comes to movie students camera people can produce a known as community cinemas.

in their countries, archives that movie anytime and anywhere. It is not like Cineplex, just small

exist are easily available for them There is an expensive camera cinema like screen stores. The

to make a reference for study but it is used by professional film important films are shown at

purposes. producers. This can be seen as there. After the film screening,

positive developments. there will be discussions among

What improvements do the villagers in the rural area. So

20 local films need to make There are a few Malaysian films cinema literacy is happening all
73 to be as competitive & that have successfully penetrated over the Philippines. Malaysia
the overseas markets with great should follow this kind of example
advanced as Asian films in quality. But, it is not going to because this kind of movements
be good enough for Malaysia can help a lot in the development
other countries? if there is not enough support of film in Malaysia

In Malaysia, the efforts that have from certain councils to help the A good film should make the
been made are not the same as growth of the local film industry. If audience think and question.
those in the West. This can affect there is no proactive action taken It’s a shame in today’s society
the development of local films by the responsible party such as that a good movie doesn’t have
in Malaysia. Many things are FINAS, then the film development the necessary viewership. Good
supposed to be done in Malaysia, in Malaysia will slow down and movies should have an audience.
but unfortunately it is not. Talent will not be able to make a huge A good movie is unique because
is not enough. If the Malaysian progress. Support intended here its function is not only to entertain
film industry wants to achieve the is including archive reference. For the audience but also to develop
necessary development, proper example, in the Philippines, there is people’s mind. Viewers can judge
support is needed. Nowadays, a council called Film Development whether the movie is good or
people can literally shoot movies Council of the Philippines not. In Argentina in 2016, the
by using their phones. The cost (FDCP) which is the national film Argentine film development
of producing a movie is not as agency that responsible for film agency partnered with the
expensive as it used to be. There policies and programs to ensure Argentine Ministry of Education
used to be film cameras but it the economic, cultural and


to create a subject called Film Appreciation and it
has been taught since elementary school. This means
that since primary school, students have been taught
how to watch movies in the right way and are able to
appreciate the messages in the films. These kinds of
things can build people’s minds. Film is a reflection
of society. A country’s societal values, are mirrored
in the films produced in and by that country. Viewers
prefer to watch ‘shocking’ (Scary) movies compared
to most other genres. Movies are a combination of
all the branches of art. From literature, art, music,
and theater. All branches of art are in the movie. It’s
the ultimate form. So it’s no surprise that it is very

There is a film club organization in Malaysia. They
not only watch but discuss and criticise the literature,
the background music used in the film. There is an
independent fundraiser dedicated to the film scene in
our country and it should be bigger than it currently
is. These stages need support.

What are the weaknesses of the local film
industry today?

The weakness of the local film industry today is that
directors and audiences cannot be able to discuss a
movie as a literary together. When we study about
films, there are four things that need to be looked
into. Firstly, film analysis. Structural analysis is about
dramatic structure whether it is neat or not. It is like
the structure of a building, without a good solid


structure of the building, collapse today where a good movie exists

is inevitable. In Europe, this kind of science but there is no audience.

is taught. However, in Malaysia

Secondly, the semiotic analysis. there is none. In Malaysia, if one In Europe, the movie The

Semiotics is a symbol. For were to criticise a film it would be Godfather (1972) tells of

example, in the event of death, along the lines of, “I love watching organized crime. The movie is

there must be an ‘X’ sign in a this movie because it’s so scary.” Box Office No. 1 in the US and

film. The symbol has an implied Plot twist power gilerr .. Rating worldwide.

meaning but the object is actually 9/10. The ability of the level of

intentionally placed by the audience analysis in our country The producer’s challenge is also

22 director. to date is only at the surface level. about how to determine the taste
73 Third, constitutional Semiotic, structurally, nothing is of the audience.. Viewers love
analysis. criticized by Malaysian audiences. quality when watching.

Constitutional analysis is the

director himself. For example, When we look at a movie that Cultured art is a varied subject.

if the director is left-leaning, way, our thinking grows. The idea Cultured art is the people who

any subject is more likely to be of d​​ eveloping a film is not only to know music, theater, literature. It’s

left-leaning. It depends on the develop a director, but to develop very important.

director or era of the movie itself. a wholesome audience once

A film made in an era of economic again. Cinematography and
turmoil or a time of rebellion will
turn out differently depending on What are the challenges good technicals play a
the situation of the times. faced by the local film
industry today? role in making a movie
Lastly, mise en scène. It means
what is placed in the frame. In The challenge in the film industry interesting. What’s your
a movie, it can’t just be just the today is competition for funding.
plot. For example, placing a glass Movies are the most expensive comment?
on a table must have a reason. branchof art. The cost of producing
Each frame in the movie is money. a movie is the most burdensome. Cinematographer is the second
All of these boil down to how we Next, the challenges in terms of most important person after the
read the movie. audience. There are many cases director. It’s like the director’s
eyes. Movies are a form of visual
storytelling. In the end, what
makes the movie good or bad is


Montage ISSUE 12 19

through its storytelling. The story Mencari Rahmat is considered For example, in Europe, a writer

goes beyond everything. Technical black comedy because the aim is considered a god because he

aspect is just to compliment the of the film is to criticize the has a very high art skill. But in

story. When the story is good, the surrounding community, especially Malaysia, such a phenomenon

technicals only there to make the the elites. The black comedy is very difficult to occur because

film interesting. genre can also be likened to the of the tendency of the public to

famous Fisher King movie, as well understand the beauty of art is

How was the audience as the works produced by Monty very difficult to find. The artistic
Python, as it has controversial approach has important elements
24 acceptance for the movie elements that criticise and ridicule such as intellectual and spiritual
73 Mencari Rahmat? society. The film is based on the that need to be understood in
theatre work of The Importance depth. The more an individual
The film has not been released Of Being Earnest by Irish author understands art, the higher their

in theatres because the Film Oscar Wilde. So I adapted the play intellectual level and that is a
Refining Board of Malaysia (LPF) to Bahasa Malaysia and changed reflection of society’s thinking.
categorizes the film as 18 years the title to Mencari Rahmat.
or older. This is because the
film contains elements such as Why did it take a long time What inspired you to make
actors’ heavy usage of sarcasm. before the film could be this movie?
In addition, there are some sexual
elements and drug use featured. screened in cinemas?
During my high school time when

Nonetheless, the film is aired on I was in the library, I chanced upon

almost every community cinema in The movie took a long time to go a novel by Oscar Wilde entitled

Malaysia such as in Sungai Petani, to the cinema because we were The Pictures of Dorian Gray. I

Malacca and Terengganu. In facing financial and marketing was interested in the subject

Sabah, the film is being screened problems. This is because, the matter covered in this novel that

at the Kota Kinabalu Film Festival. Digital Cinema Package used to relates to narcissism. Then when

Furthermore, the film received promote and broadcast a movie in I read the book The Importance

a huge positive response from theatres costs a lot of money. This of Being Earnest, I was intrigued

viewers when it was screened at kind of issue happen because the by the phrase that no human

the Dewan Tuanku Syed Putra, audience scene is not developed in this world can be who they

Universiti Sains Malaysia. enough. Good movies are capable really are because humans often

of developing people’s thinking. feel sensitive to the way society


views them. Automatically, society is the worst
kind of prison for mankind. These words written
by Oscar Wilde inspired me to adapt this
masterpiece into Bahasa Malaysia so that I will
be able to share his view with a lot of people.
Logically, the movie Mencari Rahmat shows the
reflection that humans cannot be themselves
9. What are your hopes for the local film industry
in the future?
Anything that can make a movie interesting is
a director’s creativity and courage. Art thrives
on courage. If there is no element of courage,
then the art will become lifeless. For example,
a film that had no voice at one time later
revolutionized into a sound film because of the
individual’s courage to explore it. Then from
black-and-white film to colour-film. So, it takes
courage for a person to make a movie become
even better. A filmmaker cannot live in comfort
once they have achieved success. They need to
explore even further to improve their existing
works. Malaysian filmmakers need to be bolder
to ensure their art work can continue to grow
and develop more in terms of quality.



Whenever movies and film cinemas of Malaysia and Asia. we interviewed him to know his

are mentioned, Adrian Lee’s At the same time, he was doing opinions and suggestions on the

reputation will be acknowledged freelance commercial and non- production of local films.

internationally throughout commercial production, editing

Cambridge, Osaka, Singapore, and scriptwriting works. To Why quality of local
Malaysia and Indonesia for his improve on his academic and films are judged to
written papers focusing on the professional experience, he is be lower quality than
cinemas of Malaysia and Asia. seeking for opportunities to

“My passion for academics expand his research knowledge international films?
and lecturing skills.

30 began as a freelance personal He was a lecturer at Han “Budget is the first reason
73 tutor and English tutor before Chiang College from 2006 until where Hollywood movies can
lecturing full-time. I was doing 2008 when he left to pursue his produce with hundred million
freelance commercial and PHD in Cinema & Cultural Studies dollars as compared to Malaysian
non-commercial, production, at the University of Melbourne, films are only produced with a far
editing and scriptwriting work, Australia. He then returned to smaller budget. This effectively
I’m seeking to improve on my Malaysia in 2012 and subsequently, means local films are lacking in
academic and professional joined Universiti Sains Malaysia, funding which would have gone
experience, by expanding my School of Communication as a to the good access of filming
research knowledge and lecturing full-time lecturer and has been technology, staffing, payrolls,
skills.” working there for 7 years. He has getting the best script, the best
been the external examiner of actors and actresses and so on.”
As a mass communication

lecturer, Lee is now a full-time Han Chiang University College “Malaysian films are also
Senior Lecturer at Universiti Sains (HCUC) as well as a judge of lacking in terms of marketing.
Malaysia, Penang, free-time HCUC Golden Achievement This is due to local films not
filmmaker, leisure-time author Award (GAA) for broadcasting really being marketed beyond
and newspaper columnist. He has since 2012. Moreover, Lee’s has Malaysian shores, not even to
presented papers in Cambridge specialties and backgrounds Singapore or Indonesia. Basically,
(UK), Osaka, Singapore, Malaysia, on cinema, media, cultural Malaysian films are mostly
Indonesia, Australia and has studies, broadcasting and film produced for consumption within
written papers focusing on the production courses. Therefore, Malaysia. Let’s go back to the


Montage ISSUE 12 19

◀ ▼ ▲ While shooting, Adrian felt
heavy-hearted to see bed-ridden
children in the hospital at Kelantan.
To him, no one was supposed to
go through cancer and stay in
hospital all day long, from the
event he have a huge respect to
doctors that work long hours.


basic understanding of local films
which is always known as the
Malay film. Malay films are usually
produced for the Malays, directed
by Malay people in the Malay
language and it only produced
about the Malays," Lee said.

“In other words, it only correct, politically correct and feel to watch that kind of movie
target a certain, specific audience culturally sensitive. There are so because it was heavily censored.
namely towards the Malays and many restrictions about what People do not feel like watching
consumption by the Malays. What can and cannot be shown in the that kind of film because there
happened to the other ethnics films. By right, creativity should is nothing new that has been
group and why are they not being not be restricted as it needs to be brought to the table. In terms of
considered for consumption of allowed as a rule to be nurtured," content as well, Malaysian films
film as well? These questions he added. are basically recycling around
must be considered in the next the same storylines. “We have
film production by the local He also mentioned that local films such as ‘hantu’, ‘cinta’,
filmmakers. Secondly, I believe in restriction happens based on and ‘gangster’. Local filmmakers
terms of content. Sometimes, the what can be done, what can be usually mix all these themes
content is there but most of the said, what can be shown, and all together. When we see a love
times, there’s a lot of restrictions that causes people to not really film, it’s about love movie only
in terms of censorship. Censorship
are what is seen as religiously


students to
shoot in a
production in
with Universiti
Sains Malaysia
(USM) for
their 50th
It took two
months to
the whole

Montage ISSUE 12 19

▲ This year, Adrian was invited to be a speaker 24th BUSAN International Film Festival about women in cinema.

and there is nothing new which is ‘skim wajib tayang’, the schemes

being presented to the Malaysian are not fulfilling the purpose to “Besides that, we have

34 audience. And of course, they help Malaysian filmmakers. If local Razak Mohaideen who is usually
73 must remember that Malay people refuse to watch the film, makes film for the sake of making

people pay so much for that film then there’s no chance of seeing money. He produces a lot of

because it brought in a form of the returns. films such as Mami Jarum, Anak

entertainment.” Mami Kembali, and Anak Mami

“Going back to the points The Movie. These kind of movies

What are the steps a for the question above, other known as slapsticks comedies
filmmakers make films solely and aims at the audience who
local filmmaker must for film’s sake. For an instance, goes to the theatres to entertain
directors like Yasmin Ahmad themselves. These are two
take in producing a sees what Malaysian are and different kinds of filmmakers.
quality local film to what Malaysian are like, thus she So, the question here is, do you

attract audiences to makes the stories simple, down want to be someone who is
to earth. Her films all about love, going to have a film that ends
theatres? passion and have cosmopolitan up as a blockbuster and make

Lee said honestly that some values where they are able tonnes of money locally but with
local filmmakers don’t really care to be relatable the Malaysian questionable film quality, or, make
about the Malaysian rules and audiences. Malaysian understand a top notch film like Sepet, that
some do care about the rules. very much what she is trying to never really made it in the local
We need to understand that film tell in her story. But, her film does cinema but the film spread all
or cinema is a capitalist industry. not make much money. We also around the world to places such as
A filmmaker basically makes a have other filmmakers who come Singapore, Europe, Australia and
film because they want to make out with these so called ‘films’ even in Japan because the film
money. A filmmaker or producer which eventually become what was so huge. But when it comes
invests a lot of money because we known as ‘card pool’”. Other to Malaysia, it is a precarious line
they really want to make money. examples like the film Bunohan to walk because of the subject
In order to make money, they basically did not make a lot of matter,” says Lee.
must make sure that their film money but eventually it continues
is watched and shown in the to be discussed over and over What are the factors
cinema. Despites having all these again. They make film for film that make local films
sake,” says Lee.


less popular than Malaysians. Look at films like unity and so on bringing centre of
Lelaki Harapan Dunia, which is a attraction to the audience,” Lee
international films Malay film but was directed by explained.
Chinese. The film is about Malays
among societies? in a village. It showcases unity In order to make a short film
among Malays, in a refreshing stand out, Lee says understanding
Lee answered that local way and with an interesting cast the market in order to see what
Malaysians are very much exposed of characters. has been done before is the
to international films. This is way. So if you want to stand out,
because Hollywood producer can “To answer the question you should not do something
spend millions of dollars in terms what is the advantage of local films that everyone else has already
of marketing. For example, the have compared to international done. Filmmakers must do some
trailer of the film would be put films that can be exploited to research first and see what is not
everywhere online, newspaper get more viewers, I would dare yet there. After that, try to think
and television. But, the local film to say that most of the local films of ways to bring what isn’t there
marketing is not as aggressive. which exploit this sense of unity, yet. When he came out with his
And even if they put it in online basically makes it quite well. Not short films, basically he exploited
and they do marketing, does it only in the box office, but these the sense of absence in presence
really pick audience interest? kinds of film travel well around and sense of presence in absence.
Does the audience feel interested the world. Like the film by Yasmin What is there will not be there
to go and watch that film? Hence, Ahmad, it is not so well accepted anymore and what isn’t there
the local marketing should be in local cinemas but when her might be there.
more aggressive and needs to be film go overseas many people
able to better reach out to the watch her film and it wins awards. “With that, I shot a couple
Malaysian audience. Besides that, Liew Seng Tat’s films of short documentaries and short
also talk about unity and politics. films as well. Films usually allow
What content should be When shown in Malaysia, the film people to start thinking and
inserted in a film in order is not so well received but when sometimes they will start enjoying
to make it interesting it goes to overseas it wins awards to watch this kind of films. By the
to watch? here, there and everywhere. So, end of the film, you can actually
the sense of being Malaysian and discuss it. The reason why I started
Lee said that film like Ola the unity of being Malaysian is making films is not to put my name
Bola make Malaysians start seeing quite warmly welcomed by the out there as a filmmaker, basically
themselves on the screen where international crowd. Malaysian it is so that I can be in touch with
there is unity between Malays, films are all about love, hope, the industry, to equip myself with
Chinese, Indians and other and unity. For an example films the know-how of filmmaking and
communities as well. Basically, about mother’s love for the son, to bring that experience into the
those types of film are warmly the father’s love for the child, the classroom,” says Lee.
accepted and welcomed by many sense of belonging for the county,

▲ Adrian and his students working on a site for USM Blockbuster’s video entitled Eco-crete.

Montage ISSUE 12 19



Dr Azmil Tayeb is a senior lecturer like these will be associated was produced, the public would
who teaches in the School of with other mass media such as be more aware and sensitive to
Social Sciences at Universiti Sains newspapers, magazines, and issues surrounding society and
Malaysia, Penang. He has done television because they have a at the same time criticise the
extensive research especially social responsibility to educate authorities, the elite as a way to
on the social movements and the public. In addition, the social balance the social system of a
Islamic politics primarily in responsibility is to criticise or speak country and society. “Otherwise,
Indonesia and Malaysia. He about a truth that exists in society. the ruling elite will continue to
graduated in 2016 from the He added that if a filmmaker wants rule without any resistance from
Australian National University and to directly criticise a society, they society. So, that is where the
received his PhD on a thesis that could produce a documentary. responsibility of films like this is
compared the management of “They can bring forth many issues to criticise a country’s social and
of Islamic education in Malaysia in society if the documentary is political system,” Dr Azmil said.
and Indonesia, which has been produced,” said the academician. How well does Dr Azmil evaluate
published in 2018 by Routledge. films like Ali Baba Bujang Lapok
What are your views on local In contrast, a film can be where there are scenes in the
films that feature or criticise the made to criticize the public movie that say that opium and
country’s social systems such as in indirectly. He added that the film, marijuana can be sold publicly
the films Pendekar Bujang Lapok produced by the great artist Tan while belacan is sold on the black
and Tiga Abdul? Sri P Ramlee, delicately criticised market? Explain and relate the
the social, political, economic scenes in the film and relate it to
He feels that movies like conditions of the time, the gap today’s situation in Malaysia.
these are important because they between the poor and the rich
are not solely for entertainment. but in a funny and indirect way. According to Dr Azmil, this
While the film is intended to But when a viewer watches his is a situation that depends on the
entertain viewers, it also has an movies, the viewer receives a social and political context of a
element of responsibility. Films message from the movie. He place or country. This is because,
added that when such a film



something prohibited in one criticised government policies on felt that such a documentary
place may not be prohibited in the use of opium and marijuana. would be the best platform to
another. For example, marijuana With regard to the Malaysian expose the people of Malaysia
is allowed in many places context, there has been a motion to issues outside of the world.
especially for medical purposes. in Parliament to legalise the He emphasized that such an
“There is no negative stigma cultivation of opium in Malaysia opportunity had to be taken
in the matter, for example and and why this is so justified. This so that the people of Malaysia
possibly other prohibited items is because there is a severe will not be living like a frog in a
such as durians abroad but these penalty for misuse of marijuana well especially when Malaysia
are not prohibited in Malaysia”, in Malaysia. “People are overly experiencing the same issue.
he said. He also added that there concerned about something, “The people of our country are
was no universal situation in the for example when they think facing the same issues such as
38 matter. There may be values​​ something is wrong, but it is education problems, the ability
73 such as truth, justice and equality not always the same for others of some individuals to pursue
which are universal values ​b​ut because everyone has different a tertiary education, and loans
their understanding of the issue perspectives by place. So I think for education,” he said. For
varies from place to place. In the this is a very relevant criticism to example, Azmil also explained
movie Ali Baba Bujang Lapok this day regarding this issue. I also that the opportunity to further
where opium and marijuana feel that the content in this film one’s education is shrinking for
are actually banned elsewhere is a criticism of the society that the underprivileged and for those
for the usage of it because it is condemns and labels others who who are able to afford instead
considered dangerous, same as is have different opinions than they get more opportunities to further
the case in Malaysia today where do,” Dr Azmil explained. study in university.
both substances are banned by
the government. “For me this was In the documentary Everything He also explained that one of
one of the criticisms of the film. If Must Fall, it highlights the the ways for countries to address
opium and marijuana are harmful, freedom of speech, especially for this issue is to look at how other
why not all places prohibit their marginalized groups such as the countries are solving the same
use. Why is there a difference in black community in South Africa issues in South Africa. “Whether
this? If opium and marijuana are where they demand that they be a country or society in Malaysia
really dangerous, why is there no given the right to free education. wants to replicate the same tactics
universal prohibition on their use In your opinion, should a similar to solve the problem depends on
worldwide”, he added. documentary be produced in the social and political context
Malaysia? of the country. This is because in
Dr Azmil also added that South Africa they have a history of
this was also one of the few Dr Azmil emphasised revolution against the rule of the
hidden criticisms of the film. He that such documentary should Apartheid regime and a history
also noted that scenes in the film be produced in Malaysia as he of radicalism. When it comes to


Montage ISSUE 12 19

movements like Everything Must occurred among Malaysian police.
Fall, it’s not something unique What is your view of this situation?
because it’s already part of the
history of the people there,” he According to Azmil, he
said. felt that films like One Two Jaga
He also pointed out that needed to be screened more
in Malaysia we do not have such in Malaysia. This is because,
a history so the movements he argues, if a movie is just a
in Malaysia will be different. glorification of an institutional
However, he felt that it was authority, it is an unreasonable
necessary to encourage such a thing to happen because in such
documentary to be produced an institution there are cases that
40 more and more in Malaysia so occur such as embezzlement and
73 that the public could learn about abuse of power. “As viewers, we
the same issues that happen need to look at the good and bad
globally. He also points out that sides of the authority so that we
this kind of documentary can can see the balance between the
expose the reality that occurs in two things and so that we do not
our society. He gave examples of see the institution as perfect. If a
how students in Malaysia are able movie only reflects the good side
to address issues such as these of this institution, then it cannot
by using examples of incidents reflect reality because we cannot
that occur abroad. He also cited see the things that oppress the
the example of a contract system victims from the actions of the
that is practiced in Malaysia and authorities,” Dr Azmil said.
also practiced in other countries
where the working class finds it Azmil also mentioned that
difficult for them, for example, to there are scenes in One Two
get a pay raise and the same thing Jaga that show how foreign
happens in Malaysia. workers are exploited, where in
reality they are among the most
Previous films produced such sidelined by society. “The voices
as Gerak Khas show a lot of the of governments, the elite and the
good side of the police. However, powerful have often been heard
Namron came up with the idea and displayed in media such as
to produce the movie One Two television, newspapers, radio and
Jaga, a movie that criticized the so on. So, why do the exposure of
corruption scandals that have these groups need to be display


more in the film whereas the
voices of the oppressed which
should also need to be raised in
the mainstream media are not?”
he questioned. He also believes
that films like these are effective
and able to raise the awareness of
society to the oppressed as stated
and can change people’s negative
perception of them.
Films in Indonesia, Thailand, and
Vietnam have grown in Southeast
Asia and have the ability to
become hits in the international
market. In your opinion, what
does a local film need to do in
order to at least match the quality
of the other movies in Southeast

He points out that good
content and storytelling are the
key qualities that a film needs
to have in order to make movies
interesting. In addition, he noted
that cinematography and high
aesthetic values also play an
important role in improving the
quality of a film. “For example,
the lighting is beautiful and
appropriate to the circumstances
of the place, the movement of the
camera and the attractive shots
make it a great movie. Among
the interesting aesthetic values is
how the production team’s ability
to capture beautiful scenery and
adjust the color of a scene so that
the film is interesting to watch,”
he said.

“YouTube is a joke,

but it is not.”

Montage ISSUE 12 19

Films have greatly diversified in their distribution.
Where once exclusive to the big screens of a theatre,
they can now be found in the screens of your phones.
Where films had to be planned meticulously, with
scores of people behind the production, now you
have but a handful of them with mobile phones
and handheld cameras to shoot a skit. With the
advent of the internet came an alternative avenue
for films, especially shorts and skits to be featured
online without having to go through the formalities
of thorough planning. Even better still, these skits
are produced at a far lower budget and much
faster compared to conventional filmmaking.

Monster Replay is one such example of a success
story, utilising the digital avenues available to them
to create a sizeable presence on their YouTube and
Facebook channels. Founded by the trio, Cheah
Ping Khoe, Mayfield Tan Ming Jing and Man Jin
Chiew in 2017, Monster Replay specialises in chinese
424 skits based on the Malaysian interests such as their
17030 basketball series or the Malaysian experience as
shown in their secondary school skit series. Before
the founders of Monster Replay were what they are
today, each had their own day job which kept their
roofs over their heads. Jin Chew worked as a clerk
in a bank, Ping Khoe was a planner in a factory while
Mayfield worked as an industrial boiler. But they
were not contented with their regular, everyman
lives. Now with the emergence of Monster Replay
as a local hit, they’ve seemingly come a long way.


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Introspectively, the type of entertainment industry (namely Of course there is the question of
content that Monster Replay online content creation) has how does a YouTuber generate
produces is similar to the evolved to meet that demand. their income. Generally it comes
comedic skits done in the past But the nature of the job is more from the views and ads in the
on television. Shows like The vague than before. It is hard to YouTube video. If the channel has
Nanny or Puah Chu Kang Pte understand the type of content a large following and is able to
Ltd served to entertain viewers that a creator wants to go for. get a sizeable amount of hits, the
instead of bogging them The audience is a vast entity and revenue increases proportionally
down with the hard news and an even more varied consumer. to that. Sponsors also play a
facts after a long day of work. Just about anything and role, or direct advertising such
Viewers who wish to just unwind everything will spark someone’s as wearing a certain brand on
and have a good laugh turn to interest. From the cute, children' screen or setting aside a few
these kinds of shows. With the toy reviewer Ryan’s World to the precious seconds in the video
decline in television viewership disturbing, disgusting content of to give a shout out to the
in favour of alternative devices TVFilthyFrank who both boast advertiser. For Monster Replay,
such as the mobile phone, the viewerships in the millions,


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it took them about four videos viewers are the only reason why
deep before they realised they are still doing the skits
that the revenue coming from in the first place. Initially they
YouTube became significant wanted to provide more serious
enough for them to pursue it skits but they were met with a
more seriously. Which is about chilly response from the public.
as serious as they’ll ever get for Once they turned their skits to
all the nonsense they claim to something a lot sillier such as
produce for their subscribers. their comedic 1990’s Basketball
They currently have about 58k versus 2020’s Basketball, then
subscribers and the channel is they found out that this was
ever growing. Mayfield expects what the people wanted. Not
it to reach 75k followers by the the serious noted productions
end of this year and double that that they could find in a major
by the end of 2020. Monster film but the silly, the absurd
Replay credits their success and the exaggerated was
to the viewers, because the what drew attention to them.

Montage ISSUE 12 19



Navina Ananalam

Venpa is easily one of the best Malaysian Tamil movies that have

been made in recent times. Venpa is effectively extraordinary

compared to other Malaysian Tamil films that has been made as of

late. I can most likely say that we have been envisioning for such

a film for a very long time. Ideal execution of story, screenplay and heading by Kavi Nanthan

and team. Venpa was initially a short film by Vadai Productions that was released on Youtube

in 2017 and after that made into a feature film from that point following its ongoing release in

2019.Every one of the characters acted so well conveying every one of their roles flawlessly.

The cinematography was similarly amazing for each shot and there was a decent shutting

for each scene. There was an ideal blend of love, comedy and sentiments mixed. Varmman

50 Elangovan is one extremely capable and talented music director. He has such a large amount of
73 aspirations and an incredible music sense that he has placed in for this motion picture from the
soundtracks to the background scores nailed to perfection. It was a decent movie with a great

message at the end.


Shalini Nagappan

‘Pulanaivu’ is a romantic crime thriller and done well with a gripping
story and good performances by all the lead characters. The movie
is predominantly driven by female characters and the casting here
is absolutely terrific. Bhairavi (Datin Seri Shaila V) delivers her best
performance as the top-notch and upright police officer who steals
the limelight in every scene with her nuanced performance. The action
scenes and impressive dialogue delivery throughout the investigation plot really held
the audience’s attention and kept them on the edge of their seats. Every frame was
carefully directed with clear substance and expressions. Each and every character in
the movie was well picked by the director to the extend the voice modulation was apt
for each character on its own. BGM and music score by Jey Raggaveindra was mind-
blowing from the beginning of the movie and the sounds of a contemporary symphony
orchestra in two of its song tracks and background score is a definite mention in the
movie. Pulanaivu will raise the bars for murder mystery thrillers in Malaysian Tamil
Cinema. The 115 minutes long film engages us throughout and keep throwing surprises
till the end. Director and screenwriter have succeeded in presenting a complete film!


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