ECHOES FROM TOMORROW: Three Cambodian short films by next new wave

Written by: Davy Chou

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As you may know I’ve been involved for the last few years in Cambodian film industry, and namely with the company I co-founded here, Anti-Archive, which has been producing several films in Cambodia since 2014, and whose goal is to stimulate the emergence of a new generation of Cambodian independent and art-house filmmakers, who would have the courage to embrace Cambodia contemporary reality and to develop their unique perspective on it.

Last August, I was in Malaysia to mentor a film workshop, and impressed by the fantastic collaborative vibe of the young team there, I asked filmmaker and workshop director Tan Chui Mui how she could create and keep such vibe. She simply answered that her idea was to always offer to each of her intern the possibility to direct their own short film, even for a very small amount of money.

That discussion brought back to me this very simple and old idea: everything always starts by a first short film. But there is often no money out there to produce those short films by first-time directors, and especially not in Cambodia. And most importantly, when you are not given the chance, you sometime can’t even think and believe that you can actually make one.

This is the starting point of the new project I’m launching today and for which I’m inviting you to consider being part of: ECHOES FROM TOMORROW, Three short films by first-time Cambodian directors - Meas Sreylin, San Danech and Tith Kanitha.

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There were three women who were involved on nearly each film we have produced with Anti-Archive, but they were never given that chance to write and direct their own film. That’s what we would like to change by producing the first short film of each of them, and by providing them a space to feel fully free to express their visions.

I’ve been working closely with each of them, and owe them so much: Meas Sreylin was the assistant director on my short Cambodian 2099, and the acting coach of Diamond Island, and God knows the performance my actors eventually delivered was largely due to her extraordinary sensitivity. San Danech was my casting assistant on Diamond Island, and we endlessly drove together on the streets of Phnom Penh for 4 months, looking to all faces and speaking to frightened teenagers to find our cast. Danech is now working on all Anti-Archive projects as production coordinator. Artist Tith Kanitha is of course very close to me, and has been instrumental and inspiring in every artistic project I’ve been involved in for the last years; recently, her work as artistic director on Diamond Island allowed me to fully bring my vision on screen.

It’s time for giving back. We are launching today an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, aiming to raise $15,000 for the three shorts before 20 December, which is in… 15 days only!

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I’m not asking for support for any project. I do it only when I consider it’s really needed. This is the case. I would like to ask for your support in contributing to this campaign and help make this project come true. Even a small amount would mean a lot for us, because that's how we will be able to reach our target. Cambodian cinema is at a very exciting moment and I strongly believe that Lin, Danech and Kanitha could play a part in it in the future. But they need this chance to make their first film to prove it.

Kanitha Tith describes her biography, her film INTERSECTION, and her inspiration.

Sreylin Meas describes her biography, her film GARDER, and her inspiration.

Dance San describes her biography, her film EUNG, and her inspiration.

Here is the link to the project with detail info on each director and each film: 

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/echoes-from-tomorrow-three-cambodian-short-films-cinema--2.

You are of course very welcome to share it around.

I hope you will join us in this new journey, I thank you in advance for this, and I hope we’ll make together three beautiful and unique films!

 

Yours truly,

Davy Chou

Ariff's Journey from Malaysia to Yogyakarta by next new wave

Written by: Ariff Syafzan

Hi! I’m Ariff Syafzan. First of all I would like to thank Finas and Next New Wave for giving me a lifetime opportunity to represent Malaysia for attending the FLY 2017 that was held in Yogyakarta.

My main role appointed the editor in group B for FLY 2017. For the first 8 weeks there were a pre-production that required us to communicate through the Facebook Messenger to discuss about the task given and that is include enchancing storytelling skills, character development, script and sharing ideas and thoughts among my groupmates. 8 task was given upfront before fyling to Yogyakarta. 

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After completing the pre-producting, i am so eager to meet my groupmates personally! When we met at Yogyakarta, we start to communicate and share ideas about films among us and from there we continue discussing about films through out the fourteen nights. This is the repeated moment when i was attending YFW3 back in Kuala Lumpur. The vibes in making films has made me excited. Eventhough, we have communication barrier however it doesn't stop me to understand about films and ideology they were talking about. 

During the orientation we have to introduce ourselves. I was lucky to have Mr Song Ilgon for our directing mentor and Ms Cho Eunsoo for our cinematographer mentor. Both of them from Korea.

The workshop started with lectures for directing and cinematography. I am very thankful to get this opportunity as they were teaching us an advance knowledge for filmmaking including film language and blocking. We attended a class conducted by Steve Choi, he was an editor for the 'Snowpiercer' film that was directed by Boon Joon Ho. Through the lecture i gained knowledge on how importance the  sound impact in filmmaking. 

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Roughly our first idea for the shortfilm are targetting the dark genre but few discussions we were agreed and decided to change it to a comedy genre shortfilm. The first day shooting, we have a professional crew who assist us at the shooting set. The location was at the beach. My task is to do the offline editing on the spot while discussing with the director and seeking advice. 

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I gained knowledge on how to be an editor on set. Our mentor observing and guide our team of during the shooting the film and what we are lacking about. I admit our team is not well organized during the pre-production, production and post-production due to arguing and disagreement because we have 4 directors and every director have their own vision. Despite the argument it is a fun way to finally complete the shortfilm. 

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The first rough cut, everything seems went well but after few debating and argument on the aspect of directing and visioning for the film. We have made a major changes on many things. I didn't get much sleep and rest almost three days trying to figure out on how to produce meaningfull film. Yet, i do dicsuss with director Song on how emotions play important part in a film. I also learned that we need to being positive and listen to other opinions in order to create a better teamwork in producing a good film.  

Both Song and Cho Eunsoo, really guide us from beginning until the last of the day. I feel amazed to have them as my mentor during the workshop. Ms Cho Eunsoo is very passion in getting a perfect outcome in Editing especially coloring part until she fall asleep on the chair. 

At the end, all the efforts paid off! Our film was screening at the Jogja Asian Netpac Film Festival. It was my first time attended the Jogja Netpac Asian Film Festival, the vibes the filmmaker community were very strong I envied because i don't feel this moment while in Kuala Lumpur. I feel grateful to meet one of my favourite director, Garin Nugroho. I used to watch his films during my study years lectured by Dr Norman Yusoff. 

FLY 2017 is a platform for me to experienced this golden opportunity in making films. Meeting filmmakers from several countries. I realized communication is the bigger aspect in making films because we need to deal with so many people from differrent views and vision. I wish i could have a chance to meet my teammates in future if given the opportunity.  

I would like to express my thankful to Finas for giving me this opportunity in representing Malaysia. It was an unforgetable moment for me to experienced at early stage for me to become a filmmaker. Also I wish to thank to Tan Chui Mui from Next New Wave, the Mentors of YFW3 and last but not least to Finas and BFC team.

MALAYSIA to INDONESIA, YFW to FLY by next new wave

Written by: Benedict Lazaroo

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Hello! I’m Benedict Lazaroo, and I was part of the 3rd Young Filmmakers Workshop organised by Next New Wave. I remember the night Mr Choi, the Director of Busan Film Commission announcing my name during the graduation ceremony. I was honestly stunned; did I hear my name correctly or was I dreaming?

After the shock wore off, I was really happy. What made it better was when someone whom I had worked with was there to see me, my lifetime mentor and father, We Jun, a filmmaker. I had worked hard when I was in YFW, not just because it was a workshop but it’s always been lifelong passion to make films. It’s such an honour to be able to represent Malaysia in FLY, but I realised that I had been given a huge responsibility, and that was to make my country proud. 

In preparation for FLY, we had an 8 week pre-production period where my team and I were constantly communicating through Skype or Facebook Message to deal with the distance and time difference. Throughout those 8 weeks, we were given assignments that gave us time and a chance to work together as a team to build a rapport before finally meeting with each other face-to-face in Yogjakarta, Indonesia. Even though we were all from different backgrounds and spoke different languages, I found it beautiful that we could share our ideas and thoughts and build relationships with each other through our one common language; film. 

Finally, after 8 long weeks of prep, it was time to FLY over to Indonesia for the real deal. I won’t lie, I was excited to finally be able to meet the team that I would be working with , as the only relationships we had were virtual, through the screen of a phone or computer. Upon reaching Yogjakarta, my team and I finally met and had icebreakers playing boardgames to really bond with one another. After a night of fun and games and a well-earned sleep, we had our orientation the next morning and from then on, it was go time. 

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The two weeks passed by in quite a blur as we were constantly focusing on making the film happen given the limited amount of time. Production on the first day was intense, it was fortunate my team and i manage  to adapt quickly to the environment on set, even though it was our first time working together with professional from another country. Inspite of the limited time and monsoon season, my team and i managed to  get all we needed to craft a beautiful short film. 

The thing I would have to say is the most memorable however, would be to see how hard each of us worked individually to fulfil the requirements of the roles given to us. The amount of discipline, effort and dedication shown by everyone really left a mark on me. 

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The mentors we had were a director( Lucky Kuswandi) and a cinematographer ( Bayu Prihantoro). Despite their niche fields, they provided help and guidance in every aspect of production, from pre-production right up to post-production. Their experience was evident in the advice that they gave us and helped us avoid unnecessary problems, steering us back on the track whenever we would stray or lose focus. 

Personally for me, being mentored wasn’t only helpful in terms of improving my skill set in film but also helped me making decisions for my future. It was really something to take home. They gave us perspectives on their own countries’ cinema, their cultures and political systems, and how they put their voices out there in the midst of all of that. 

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I was happy and satisfied from what i learned my mentors and my team, Being in FLY made me feel like i had a second family and no doubt a great platform for filmmakers to network. I'm thankful to Tan Chui Mui , The Staff of Next New Wave ,representatives of Finas and the mentors who development me individually back in malaysia. If it wasn't for them i weren’t for them, i would not have be here in the first place.

An Extravagant Dream Or Nothing–The 3rd Next New Wave Young Filmmakers Workshop (Part 1) by next new wave

The four mentors from neighbouring countries Carlo Francisco Manatad (The Philippines), Sidi Saleh (Indonesia), Davy Chou (Cambodia), and Anocha Suwichakornpong (Thailand) together with FINAS and Next New Wave, embraced the same mission to nurture young talents arisen from Malaysian film industry.

It All Began With A Collaborative Process

With the support of FINAS, The 3rd Young Filmmakers Workshop that took place from August 19 to 26 2017 in Hotel Sentral, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur had been called a success. This collaboration between the four renowned filmmakers across Southeast Asia and Tan Chui Mui–the founder of Next New Wave Young Filmmakers Workshop–drew a closer relationship between the neighbouring countries in discovering the emerging voices of talented young filmmakers in Malaysia. 12 participants with their specialisations in directing, producing, cinematography, and editing were selected to attend this workshop.

Elise Shick–the workshop's content writer–conducted an internal interview with Davy Chou (directing mentor), Anocha Suwichakornpong (producing mentor), Sidi Saleh (cinematography mentor), and Carlo Francisco Manatad (editing mentor) to talk about their experiences in filmmaking and their views on this year's Young Filmmaker Workshop.

EXPERIENCE IN FILMMAKING

Elise: Let's trace your memory back to how you first got involved in the film industry that led you to your first filmmaking experience. When was it and why this route?

Davy: I was born and grew up in France, my parents moved to France in the 70s. I cannot say that I was a cinephile, it was too much to say that. So I was a film-lover, a very lonely film-lover since the age of 12. It was not like I was watching Tarkovsky and stuffs but I was already developing a passion for film and I never had the idea to make films because it's difficult to be an artist if you don't think you can. Anyway, I was in that high school in Lyon, my hometown, I was in a small organisation where there was a teacher who would explain film analysis. They had a very small camera at that time, it was like a really cheap DV camera, which you would use to make short films in a group. I didn't want to go there because I was shy maybe, even though I love films. Then, one guy in my class whom I didn't even really know came to me and said, 'Are you the guy who really knows everything about cinema?' and I said 'Ya, it's me'. He said, 'Do you want to come with me, to that club, to make films? Because I don't know, I want to make films'. I was very reluctant but he really pushed me and I went there. First, the film analysis teacher really changed my way of seeing things. It looked like the film The Matrix. Have you seen the film The Matrix? It was like you used to see the world like this and suddenly there was a tool to make you see it differently, or maybe to see how it is made. Same for the films. I watch films, I was a film-lover but I still didn't understand how the films were made: the language, the grammar, the camera movements, the shots. So then I watched Hitchcock's films and De Palma's films, and that suddenly changed my mind. Then, I was making this first film, which was a very bad amateur parody of comedian TV show thing. It just changed all my perspective and right after making that first film, I was sure that that was what I wanted to do.

Carlo: I was in film school but before that I was actually in business school and then I went to engineering. So basically I had this few moments in my life where I really didn't even know what I should do but in the my back of my mind I really wanted to do something connected to arts. When I was in film school, everyone wanted to be a director and me too, I also wanted to be a director. And when all your batch mates wanted to be directors, there was a lot of competitions. But in the back of my mind, living in the Philippines was hard to just jump in and have work. So I was thinking which part of the process of filmmaking that I really enjoy and it was basically telling stories and editing, which I have been doing for the longest time even since I was in high school. So I was thinking like maybe I could expand my horizon of knowledge in editing. So I started editing like way way way way way back and I had my first feature when I was still in college. Somebody hired me, they thought I was good but I thought I wasn't because I was still a student but I thought that opportunity was the best way for me to just jump in and get to work as an editor.

Sidi: When I was 15, if you said filmmaking, I was not sure if it was a film or not but it was my first film doing wedding video documentation because my father was doing that kind of stuff when I was a kid. Basically I hate cameras before and don't really like it. When I graduated from high school, all my cousins said that why didn't I just continue doing that kind of camera things and then I thought about it. Then, I shot Dayang Sumbi, one of Edwin's films for the first time. I was sitting in a canteen in my school and then Edwin came to me. He was quite in a mess at that time, he was just finishing one of his assignments in films. So we started talking about things. He asked, 'Do you do black and whites?', then I said 'Ya, I can. Why?' He said, 'If we shoot in 16mm that day using low light, is it possible to do it?' So I answered 'No, we cannot because there is no processing for black and white at that time' and also until now. Then, I did the processing by myself.

Anocha: I went to a film school but actually when I was a teenager, I used to watching movies and the turning point, I guess, was during one time when I was watching a film and I thought that I wanted to be a filmmaker rather than an audience. But actually I saw that film in a film studies class that I took as an optional course in my university. At that point, I was still indecisive whether I should study film studies or film practice, you know, like film production because they are completely different. I was studying my undergraduate studies in England at that time. Actually at one point I almost dropped out from the college to study film but in the UK the undergraduate was three years. I was halfway to my second year. So I thought like just one more year to go to graduate. After that, I went back to Thailand and did other jobs for few years. In Bangkok, when you graduated from university, at that time you would be already working for three to four years. People started to have some sorts of security–the things that people usually want in life like steady job, a house, and etc. I have always loved watching films. It took me quite some time to really find a good film school because I really didn't know anyone who was related to film and I pushed [the desire] back of my mind and didn't think about it. By the time I decided to go to film school, it was five years later. I just went to film school not just because I wanted to know how to make films but also to meet people. I wanted to make films with these people. I started directing in New York. It was like 15 years ago.

ES: The passion for films didn't come from nowhere. Where do you think your passion came from or who had influenced you?

Anocha: My friends and family weren't interested in films but I just grew up watching films. Now looking back, I didn't realise at that time but I felt quite alone. But by watching movies I could get into a world where I wouldn't be with other people but I could still connect with the characters in the films. So I got interested in cinema.

Carlo: My interest in filmmaking came from my father. My father used to be a cinephile. I'm trying to put him back to be a cinephile like that again right now. He was actually the one who influenced me to watch films. I would watch films that I wouldn't understand when I was a kid. It was a bonding moment for our family where he would play films that nobody would understand. For the whole duration of one hour, every 10 minutes one person would just walk out and I would stay up till the end regardless if I understood the film or not. I was very interested but I wouldn't understand anything at all. So as I grew up, I started to understand and became more and more interested. So back at home, my family is actually business-related, I'm the only one who is doing arts.

Davy: So I had an uncle who was the big action cinema lover. In the early 90s he would bring me to watch big films made in the 80s. When I was 12, everyone was talking about Seven by David Fincher being that very shocking film. So I went to see that. But I was an Asian living in Europe so I looked very very young, when the ticket seller asked for my ID and I didn't bring it so he didn't allow me to get in because I was 12. Then I saw a movie poster of a film that I didn't know about, it looked like a gangster, action film and my uncle was a action film-lover so he said 'Ok, let's give it a try'. That film changed my life in two hours and fifteen minutes because right after the screening I felt that something had happened very strongly and I felt that I just needed to follow that instinct.

Elise: So it was this kind of cinematic experience so powerful that it left a strong impact on you. Let's say if you watched it at home, you would probably feel something totally different. 

Davy: I think so. I think it would be totally different. I didn't remember totally about that screening, I didn't even really knew what had happened. It was just something so strong that as a kid, it was the first time feeling so strong that you were just following and I'm sure that it was coming from the movie theatre. That's why while living in Cambodia and working in Cambodia, my first film was dealing with the lost movies during Khmer Rouge regime in the 60s. When I first lived there in 2009. I meta group of people around my age and some younger, they actually never watched any films before in the theatre. It was very sad to see that.

Elise: Anocha, could you access to all the films easily when you were in Thailand?

Anocha: Actually, no. You have to remember that it was 15 or 16 years ago. Back then, the Internet was still not very advanced. Of course there were some places where you could rent but it was like very few and you couldn't get many films.

Elise: Davy, when you first made films, did you have a specific idea of which part of filmmaking you want to be involved in, for example like directing?

Davy: No, I was not ambitious enough to believe that. When I was 17 right after high school when I really needed to decide what I wanted to do so I had a feeling telling me that 'Ok, I love it so much, I want to work in film' but I would never dare to say 'I want to be a filmmaker' because maybe I thought I couldn't do that, it was too much for me. But being on set, even like making coffee, or if I could be a camera operator and building something together with the crew, that was what I really wanted to do.

Elise: Anocha, you said you weren't trained as a producer in the beginning. You first started with directing. What was this transition that led you to this direction of filmmaking: producing?

Anocha: I think it came to me gradually. Not that I was aware of. I just started [with directing] because I wanted to make my own film. I went back to Thailand after I finished my studies in New York.  There were not many films producers at that time in Thailand or right now in independent circle. Even though I got to meet a producer who helped me to produce my first and second feature films, I was always trying to find fundings by myself as well. I produced my own films in that sense. But even after I produced my first feature along with these other guys. After I made my film   Mundane History, I started to have people approaching me to be a producer. And Lee, my editor for Mundane History, he actually told me that he wanted to make his own film–his first feature–and asked me if I would be interested in helping him to produce. That was kind of like 'Ah. I started to produce films for other people!' From that point on, it was quite like going on and on.

Elise: How did you get Lee Chatametikool to edit you first film?

Anocha: Actually he also edited my thesis film. I met him at a wrap party. My friend introduced me to him.

Elise: It was a coincidence then, it became a chance.

Anocha: Yeah. So we've been working together for over 10 years now.

Elise: Do you think that financial wise, you've made a big decision to change your job to filmmaking?

Anocha: Yes, it was a really big risk to do something that I actually didn't know I could make it out of living. My friends they already have very steady jobs. They've settled down, some are already getting married yet I was leaving the country to be in another country where I didn't really have lived before. 

Elise: I think the same thing happens in Malaysia too or in any other country around the world. The reality and dream are constant struggles and then you have to really compensate and to sacrifice something in order to pursue your dream. What do you have to sacrifice in order to follow this path of filmmaking?

Anocha: I think what I've actually sacrificed is the friendship with the people who are not filmmakers, the friends I have before I even started making films. I don't really see them much nowadays because now my life is so busy and I'm always travelling. Even in Bangkok, I spend a lot of time with other filmmakers. So I get to see the non-filmmakers much less often. That's what I have to give up, I guess.

Elise: Carlo, you have edited more than 59 films throughout your life. Do you work from day to night? What kind of drive do you have that pushes you to have this editing stamina?

Carlo: When I started editing, the feeling of finishing my first feature, it was very rewarding even without thinking how much money would I receive. I didn't even ask actually. It was more like me experiencing a thing that I really want and the opportunity is there, why not grab it? So after that, I realised that I really wanted to make films. As editor, I really wanted to tell stories. Sometimes through directing it is really hard, I mean I'm also a director but you put too much effort and you actually have much more time to spruce up a film in general. With editing, I like to tell stories. One of the few great things in filmmaking is that editing creates different stories regardless how it started, how it was written, how it was directed. It could basically make another story out of the materials you have and that's the best thing about that because I control and also I collaborate. It's a collaborative process but at the same time I take control of it to a certain level because you are basically an important part of the whole production. Learning these crafts actually helps me in directing.

Elise: Sidi, the participants here are using Panasonic GH5 to shoot but for most of them, this is their first time handling this camera. Based on your experience, what are the key aspects they have to grasp in order to make themselves familiar with the camera in a very short time?

Sidi: I think it's very classic, just exercise more. Even though you have a very tacky, very high tech equipment, it doesn't make anything faster. You can start from the skill. You can start from your knowledge. But in order to understand that, you have to try it by yourself. 

Elise: Davy, if you can describe filmmaking in one sentence, what would it be?

Davy: It is a strange tension between something extremely selfish and something extremely collective.

I speak from the director's point of view. So when I said selfish, it of course mean that in the end of the day and the beginning of the day, it is really about having a vision, which is very personal, and then trying to bring a lot of peopleto help me and to find to make them feel the same desire to make this vision projected on the screen. So it is very contradictory feeling between something very personal, intimate, selfish, and then becomes collective but in the end, it's for the film. 

(To Be Continued)

如果说一辈子只做一件事情,然后做到死去,对天秤座是好事,因为不用做决定。 by next new wave

第一章

我真的很怕那天我突然死去了,但是我却还没有让我喜欢的人知道我有多喜欢她。好像知道你有气喘病,就一直不停的拿水给你喝,因为听说喝多多水,可以治疗气喘病,虽然好像很傻,但是我真的没有办法了。这样做只有一个目的,我这么sayang你,你哪里可以这么快死!?
— Jacky
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去泰国的目的有两个,第一就是参加泰国一年一度的短片电影节(Thai Short Film & Video Festival),第二就是去找爱情故事,但是这很快就被某位导演推翻了,但是我依然再推翻回他。下飞机的第一件事情就是和汉龙(同事)拍短片。不知道为什么,最近我很爱乱拍东西,就专门拍那些很烂很烂的东西。我记得这场戏是说这个角色飞到泰国,因为他的女朋友说不要再见到他,所以他就去泰国了。然后我们在演的时候,就有人一直看过来,我很alert这些事情,因为觉得有些害羞,影响我的发挥,所以我很佩服演员们。大概在500m左右,有个女孩看着我,然后对我比yeah,我很想笑,但是我不应该笑,就要要笑不笑的,很尴尬。拍完后,我忘记了她的模样。

第21届泰国短片电影节在一个叫Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (bacc)的地方举办,这里类似一个艺术作品的聚集地,里面大概共有5楼,都是在做着油画啊,售卖乐器啊,展览装置艺术啊,图书馆啊,自画像啊,咖啡馆啊等等等等的。这让我想起我们马来西亚近期开发的一个艺术building,它是在Kampung Attap,名字叫The Zhongshan Building,之前是已经废弃了。但是进过翻新后,就变成了艺术家的聚集地。而我们也在那里租了一个小空间放映电影。

今天的第一场放映会是在5pm开始,大概在酒店整理好后,就出发去bacc。在电影节3天里,也认识了其他东南亚的人如Bani Nasution (Indonesia,导演),Swam Yaung Ni (Myanmar,记录片导演),Sanchai (Thailand,策展人),Chalida (Thailand,电影节主席),Anocha (Thailand,评委&导演),Shefong (Taiwan, 国立政治大学传播学院副教授)和她的学生Ling Hwa Huang (Taiwan, 纪录片导演)。

放映会有两个厅,一个是在Auditorium,类似音乐表演的地方,有舞台,座位大概可以容量220人。而另外一间就是称呼为Room 501,类似大学上课的课室还是电脑室的摆设。我们这次来泰国参加他们的电影节是因为我们马来西亚的片子会在S-Express 单元放映,而这个单元是在明天晚上5pm才放映,所以接下来会说更多关于那个单元的事情。大概先说说一些状况,我进到了Auditorium,知道自己的短片明天会在这里放映,我又跑了出去找Sanchai(负责人)和他说谢谢,因为我没看过自己的电影在这么大的荧幕放映,不知道会不会对这部影片有新的想法。

I dont believe love story by Bani Nasution

I dont believe love story by Bani Nasution

看完片子后,我们就和Bani 一起去吃晚餐。聊着聊着,我就告诉他我们现在在做着一部电影,是集合10个导演完成的故事,然后是关于爱情的,title叫 I Just Want You to Love Me。非常明显,就是一部说爱的电影。他就马上告诉,其实他不相信爱情故事,我不知道在哪里听过这句话,就是觉得很熟悉。过后在之后的谈话,他就告诉我说他和他女朋友的相处方式就是侮辱对方,把对方糟蹋到很过分,这些就是他们的相处方式。我告诉他这很可爱,如果我把它拍成电影,那你还相信吗?我想,没有什么是不可信的,就好像童话故事,这明明就是假的,为什么小孩子还是会相信呢?但当我们长大了,知道一些东西了,就开始拒绝很多很多东西,让自己活得现实些,那多不快乐啊。其实我也许是错的,因为Bani还是很快乐的在印尼拍他的短片,听说明年1月,他要开拍自己的第一部电影了。我依然相信爱,我依然相信Bani会把他的长片电影完成。

回房间后,就突然觉得很情绪化,也许是聊了爱,就一直在想东西。时间是12pm,但是泰国时间是11pm,我特地不把手机的时间换去泰国时间,因为这样我就有25个小时了一天。我想起了张雪晶,因为前一晚和她聊了很多,好像更了解她了,但是我答应她不会把我们的对话拍成电影,因为我不想她又高血压一次(但是我会很聪明的去写,一定不回被别人发现了)。不会忘记这个感觉的。


第二章

我开始把我每一天吃素的照片发给你,你回来的时候,既然在我面前吃肉。但是我依然sayang你。
— Jacky
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今天的放映会是在11点开始,应该是时差的问题,依然7点就起床了(就是泰国时间6点)。由于时间还早,我就一个人在街道上游荡,开始思考,思考我在思考这件事情,是很高难度的,没什么目的,就是挑战自己能不能清楚知道自己在做什么。找了个早餐店,开始把昨天发生的事情写在簿子里,因为我怕自己忘记了什么事情。然后再去bacc逛,而我呆最久的地方就是在底楼的图书馆。我喜欢这里是因为没有什么人,这里蛮大的,然后还有一个空间是给我们用电脑看电影的。翻开他们的电影列表,还发现了几部中国独立电影。类似法轮功,六四事件,等等的纪录片,其他的就是泰国老旧的电影了。我决定明天去观看,因为这样乱逛,也快11点了。

想到自己的戏等下会在Auditorium这个大荧幕放映,就觉得很高兴。说实在的,我看自己的戏也快看到闷了,也许我自己也是剪接师,观看这部短片的次数太多次了,应该会越看越累。对了,我记得我的一个朋友Sidney对我说过:jacky,i watch too much time of your film,i realize it become faster and faster。听到这句话太高兴了,因为我是有设计的,hehe。这是我第一次透过这么大的荧幕看自己的戏,不知道会不会有新的观感。这两个厅是同时放映影片的,所以就需要做出选择。身为专业的天秤座,做决定是非常危险的。但是这次我翼然的做了决定,我选择呆在Room 501:

Auditorium放映的片子:Internation Competition 3 / Laos Short Film / Internation Competition 4 / S-Express Malaysia / S-Express Indonesia / S-Express Vietnam

Room 501 放映的片子:Youth Competition / Student Film Competition 1 / Student Film Competition 2 / Student Film Competition 3 / Student Film Competition 4

放映时间表。我们过去的时间只能看到9号和10号的戏。而今天是9号。

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Rating

无话可说

我很想看看泰国现在的年轻人都在拍什么东西,没有什么特别的,只是对年轻有希望。第一场Youth Competition大概看了3部,我就离开了。出去透透气,原来看不好的片子,真的会让人生气。但是其实片子好不好,又关你什么事呢?你看,都是自作自受。拍电影是自己的,生气也是自己的。所以一定要学会爱自己,一辈子只要爱一个人就好,那就是自己(来自陈小姐)。

我依然相信年轻人,透完气后(其实是吃饱后),我又回到了放映会现场,观看Student Film Competition 1 和Student Film Competition 2。我心情又好了,因为片子太好了!我回头想想,也许Youth Competiton是18岁以下的年轻人,而Student Film应该就是大学生,所以我刚才是生气错了吗?因为学生作品对我来说依然存在可能性,毕竟我也是在学生时代就不错了...(要做个骄傲的人)。我有个最近突然很要好的朋友,她叫Chloe (叶敏如),她今年22岁,年尾才毕业典礼。在这个影展里,我和她的片子会在S-Express这个单元放映。

右边是叶敏如

右边是叶敏如

在S-Express单元里,来自东南亚的选片人就会在自己的国家筛选几部短片,但是短片加起来的长度不能超过60。更多关于S-Express的故事,可以到这里看看。2017年,叶敏如(Chloe)和叶瑞良(Jacky)的短片都会在这个单元放映,没想到我们都姓叶。Chloe的片子我一开始就很喜欢,一直都存在着Chloe片子的影子。不是为了影子而存在,而是Chloe把这个影子带了出来。这次她因为工作的关系,无法出席。要不我觉得她一定会很开心当发现自己的片子会在大荧幕放映时那种震撼,和那种被尊重的感觉有多好。由于我们公司Next New Wave一直都有在做放映电影的事情,今年5月我们还举办了东南亚短片电影节(SEAShort Film Festival 2017),当时我负责Technical的部分,那个时候还不懂所谓的意义,就当做是一份任务在完成。现在我想,不是这样的,应该是这个人要用什么方式对待影片,而导演是可以感受到了。

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先说回Student Film Competition的片子,每一部我看过的短片我都会在旁边做个小记号,因为这些是我想认识的人,也想把他们的片子带到马来西亚放映。看完Part 1后,我马上问了 Chalida (Festival Director)他们这些年轻人大概是在几岁的年龄,她说是18-22岁的学生。我感到很惊讶,因为他们的片子完全就是一部很专业的片子,不只是故事,连摄影,剪接,画面设计都很有水准,某个程度上,还好过我,因为要好过我是不简单的事情,我想他们才是真真有资格骄傲的人吧。这9部(part 1 & part 2)学生作品里,其实他们都拍得很聪明,也拍得很好看。我印象最深刻的是其中一部短片的一场戏是这样的:(拍得很梦幻)

Title: fff / Director: Nonthachan Prakobsup / Synopsis: Accident leaves scars to Pao and Aeung.

Title: fff / Director: Nonthachan Prakobsup / Synopsis: Accident leaves scars to Pao and Aeung.

男主角骑着摩托载着女主角,这是他们发生小意外前的事情。女主角从后方看了男主角一眼,然后问他

女主角:你知道在什么时候告白成功率最大吗?

男主角:不知道哦。

女主角:我大学老师说,是下午4点。

男主角:为什么?

女主角:因为他说那段时间是人类最昏昏沉沉的时刻,在最累的时候,什么都ok。

男主角:是吗?那你试过了吗?

女主角:没有。男主角:那你要试一试。

就这样的一场戏,我就记得了很久很久...Jacky

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晚上5点,S-Expresss Malaysia开始了,第一部放映的是Chloe的片子STRNG PLCE。说真的,这次是我真的在认真的看她的片子,也对片子有新的感觉,也对Chloe好像又了解了一些。听说电影有这种能力,透过电影,可以知道你的一些事情,但是对我来说,这只对诚实的导演有效。这里的设备会提供一种你只能注视影像和聆听的作用,别无选择,在这样的condition里,你才可以真的在看影片。过后就放映我的短片了,其实我没有很认真看,因为我的脑袋一直很紧张,不知道等下的Q&A会不会乱讲话,还是不知道要讲什么。但是当放映我的短片时候,我心里很感动,突然感觉自己以后我别用电脑看电影了!我记得在我还没有去泰国前,我和一位很要好的朋友Keenen Yong在一个空间观看蔡明亮的电影青少年哪吒,虽然我已经看过了,但是我还是再看了一次。我发现了影片有很多detail我之前是没有发现到的,只有在大荧幕放映的时候,才会发现的点。这很重要,因为这些点都是一种情绪感受,而且有些电影本来就是做来为大荧幕而存在的。

放映完后,就开始了普通的Q&A,也不太记得自己说了什么,因为这篇文字是在我会来马来西亚后写的,但是我清楚记得我说过:第一场戏的女主角,是我喜欢的人。

晚上,我们开始了拍摄计划。这对小情侣是来自越南,他们的短片也是在S-Expresss单元放映。Vũ Đức Vượng和他的女朋友Linh。我们大概和他说起了我们长片电影的计划(I Just Want You to Love Me)。然后晚上得空的时候,就出去拍个小短片,当然是关于爱情的,以便在未来可以用来做宣传。感觉自己很坏,但是同时我又觉得这才是友谊。Linh还为了让自己在影片看起来更美丽一些,她换上了礼服。那个晚上,我们就这样在曼谷街头拍摄起来了。


第三章

我觉得我是一个不能谈恋爱的人
— Jacky
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今天是最后一天的放映会和颁奖典礼了。由于时间还早,所有我就去了底楼的图书馆看电影。选了一部短片,陳鈺杰的作品,小偷,很好看,一天事件,发生在夜市。本来还想看鍾孟宏的作品第四张画。但是我才知道,一个人只能借用一次,我很懊恼。原来影片和人也要讲究缘分。

大会把很多很多的奖项颁发了给各位得奖者。

彷彿是一種隱喻:在泰國短片節2017 by next new wave

文/林漢龍

9月的泰國,炎熱。無雨。空氣中很多塵埃。口舌乾燥。

在那種要生病的季節裡,我跟一位同事(自稱天才)到了泰國參加4天的泰國短片節。

彷彿是一種隱喻。

9月的曼谷。燥熱。無風。

9月的曼谷。燥熱。無風。

這趟赴泰國的行程非常簡單:就是看片子,收片子,還有認識很多很多的人。對我來說最難的事情就是認識很多很多的人。在那種人潮很多的短片節裡面,首先要學會適應如何跟來自不同國家的導演、選片人或者影展策劃人打交道。我跟同事都是屬於比較慢熱的人,也很容易慢慢在站在角落旁被淡化掉,所以要在這種熱鬧喧嘩的大場面跟陌生人說話實非易事。

第一位認識到的是來自緬甸的紀錄片導演。從天才尷尬的神情來看,應該不難發現認識新朋友原來不是一件容易的事。

第一位認識到的是來自緬甸的紀錄片導演。從天才尷尬的神情來看,應該不難發現認識新朋友原來不是一件容易的事。

這位是來自印尼的老朋友Bani,他的新作《Sepanjang Jalan Satu Arah》是印尼單元的其中一部片子。相見歡。

這位是來自印尼的老朋友Bani,他的新作《Sepanjang Jalan Satu Arah》是印尼單元的其中一部片子。相見歡。

泰國短片節2017是在曼谷的市中心舉辦,英文名字叫BANGKOK ART AND CULTURE CENTRE (BACC)。會場聚集很多藝術家還有很多不同類別的展覽。短片節就辦在這座大樓的展映廳和會議室,在13天裡面放映超過100部片子。 展映廳很大,投影設備和音響系統都很好,我曾經花超過10個小時待在展映廳裡面看片子,感覺很爽。對我來說,好的短片節最最重要就是要做到有很好的投影跟音響系統,這樣的話觀眾就比較不容易收到外界的干擾。特別要提到的就是他們最貼心的舉動就是每播完一部短片就會有十五秒鐘的時間讓遲到的觀眾進場,而那些趕時間要離場的觀眾也可以趁這個時間移步。這樣除了可以不要讓短片播放的期間遇到很多來來往往的黑影以外,觀眾也可以在每看完一部片子過後的,利用小小的時間來緩衝自己的情緒。很棒!

BACC的展覽。

BACC的展覽。

泰國短片節2017主要的展映廳。

泰國短片節2017主要的展映廳。

泰國短片節2017副展映廳其實是一個會議室。

泰國短片節2017副展映廳其實是一個會議室。

說實話,在短片節的4天裡面,除了瘋狂的看片子以外,當然也應該走走看看這個城市。我幾年前來過一次曼谷,那時候對我來說,曼谷人潮很多,車子很少。這次從機場到酒店的路程裡面,我多了一種不一樣的感受,卻又似曾相似。短短的幾年間,這裡的車子變多了,行人變少了。我跟天才卡在車龍裡面,司機大哥將空調開至最大,我卻依然感覺窒息。

我又想起吉隆坡生活的日子吧。人多車多。困在車龍裡面,污濁的空氣,還有塵埃。

不斷的口舌乾燥。

直到轉進酒店前的巷弄裡,我試圖找到一些往日的歸屬感。婦人推著水果車,在烈日下前行。她們頂著草帽,一拐一拐,似乎車子太重。她要去哪裡呢?我照了一張照片,寫了一些文字:來摘選名叫新鮮的水果吧/不然我會繼續推著車子/在巷弄裡穿行/直到下一個路人把我喊停

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路旁還有販賣湯麵的人家,不過記憶裡面成群坐在桌子旁的路人已經不知蹤影。

9月的曼谷,像個烤爐。

口舌乾燥,口舌乾燥。

嘴巴開始破皮。

這似乎又是一種隱喻。

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我喜歡獨自走在曼谷的大街,看看身邊的人,感受流動的時光。

嘟嘟車司機在吃麵,男子推著車子到別的地方擺攤,還有阿姨在路旁烤蝦子。

一個人走走停停,一個人想事情。

無人打擾。真好。

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泰國短片節的選片人Sanchai是個非常溫柔親切的人,每次碰見我們都會問我們有沒有吃飽,然後我們會亮出袋子裡面滿滿的便利商店裡的零嘴,他才會放心的笑笑點頭。那晚短片節在曼谷的一家餐廳,跟不同國家的導演、選片人、演員和主辦方一起共聚晚餐。

從鄰國印尼的導演一直認識到法國選片人,整個晚餐看起來像一個輕鬆的長桌會議:關於電影的,關於短片的,關於那些藏在片子裡面的笑話與秘密。

Sanchai忙碌的招呼大家,讓大家吃了好多好地道的泰國美食。坐在我跟天才面前的是一對越南的情侶,交往5年,還在熱戀。我跟天才最近在忙著一個叫《I JUST WANT YOU TO LOVE ME》(中譯:我只想要你愛我)。靈機一動,立刻邀請這對情侶幫我們錄一小段預告。

拍東西的熱血是應該想要拍就要馬上拍的!

那個晚上,我們幾個人在曼谷的大街,提著相機,說走就走!

泰國的短片節其實已經辦了21年,在東南亞算是個非常成功的短片節。很多東南亞,尤其泰國的導演都是從這裡開始慢慢一部一腳印地走到國際平台。這裡的學生短片單元非常優秀,個人最喜歡《Bangkok Dystopia》,講述一位男大學生與一位妓女在泰國宵禁的晚上走回家的路程。片子簡單而有力,藉由宵禁的晚上,讓兩個被趕下巴士的乘客--妓女與學生不得不走路回家。鏡頭運動非常好,而且男大學生的角色演得非常好,尤其他偶爾會摸摸自己的後腦勺,還有被訓導老師剪得不整齊的發尾。這部片子也奪得短片節的The White Elephant Award,算是學生短片競賽單元的最高殊榮。

《Bangkok Dystopia》導演是Patipol Teekayuwat,並在短片節奪得The White Elephant Award。

《Bangkok Dystopia》導演是Patipol Teekayuwat,並在短片節奪得The White Elephant Award。

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泰國短片節的得獎者很多,像是一個非常鼓勵電影人或短片創作者的平台。

我記得閉幕儀式過後問了問天才,你覺得一個短片節應該多設立一些獎項來鼓勵創作者嗎?是助力還是阻力?

天才跟我無從得到解答,不過卻非常認真的思考這件事情。

泰國短片節的確藉由很多獎項來鼓勵年輕的導演或學生繼續創作,再藉此肯定他們的作品,讓他們走向更大的舞台。這是承辦了21年來我們可以看見的成效。

而我們馬來西亞的短片節呢?由應該以怎樣的方式茁壯成長呢?

這是一個很好的功課。

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這趟泰國短片節之旅在不急不緩的情況下結束了,身為觀眾的我看了很多很優秀的短片當然是非常爽跟非常收到鼓勵的。我們需要更多這樣的平台讓大家展示更多更不一樣的作品。

就當作這是一種隱喻吧:9月的曼谷,無風。無雨。口舌乾燥。

而我曾經在這裡認識了很多不一樣的人,也看了很多不一樣的作品。

 

Sherwynn Victor from #YFW to #Haction! by next new wave

Sherwynn Victor is one of the Sound Designer participant of 1st Young Filmmakers Workshop.

Sherwynn Victor is one of the Sound Designer participant of 1st Young Filmmakers Workshop.

Interview by Elise Shick

Hi Sherwynn, nice to see you again! You are one of the alumni from The 1st Next New Wave Young Filmmakers Workshop in 2015. Please share with us the reason why you joined the workshop and what did you bring back with you after the workshop?

Hello everyone! I'm Sherwynn. The reason I wanted to join the workshop is to enhance, improve and to explore more in the aspect of filmmaking.  What I brought back was truly amazing, it was knowledge. Knowledgewasn’t the only thing, but family as well. Friends who had become family within the workshop and till now I’m still in contact with them, working with them as well.

So, what was the most remarkable says the most interesting moment you can recall from the workshop?

Hmmm, I remember applying editing as my discipline but was put in the sound design category. I was first shock as I didn’t have much knowledge in sound but luckily I met Warren Santiago, my sound mentor. He taught me what was important in the fundamentals of sound mixing and designing. How it can bring a new dimension towards the audience and viewers.  It was indeed remarkable.

Have you encountered any challenges or hardships over in course of the workshop? Tell us how you resolved them.

For me, the main challenge I’ve encountered was actually time. Post-production in both visuals and audio is a time consuming process. I remember me and my editor didn’t have enough time to complete due to technical difficulties and creative processes. But we manage to resolve them but encouraging each other as a team. After all, filmmaking is a team game.

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Wow, good to hear that you've gone through all this! You had your comrades working side by side with you during the workshop. You were also invited as one of the speakers during The 3rd NNW YFW. What do you think about the participants in your batch compared to this year’s participants?

For me, my batch was slightly more on the genre, commercial thinking in the filmmaking aspect and I think that this year’s batch was truly exceptional as I sat in and watch their entry films. They have many great mind thoughts as not just a filmmaker but a storyteller as well.

Do you think that the workshop help you to highlight your individual strength(s) in this field or does it help you more in learning how to give and take some of your strengths while working with other people?

It helps in both ways, it helps to highlight an individual strength and use it in communicating with other filmmakers or teammates.  As communication is one of the core directions towards making an artistic product.

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And you're selected as one of the filmmakers for the Panasonic #HACTION! Competition. Can you tell us your experience in participating in HACTION! Shot on LUMIX GH5. HACTION! short film competition?

The great thing about filmmaking is that is not like a 9am-5pm job. Every production tend to has its wonderful experience to not leave behind. For me, the experience that could highlight the most throughout the production , we were actually trying to finish the whole short film in such limited time. We only had 8 hours to shoot the entire short film.  45 minutes to hike up the jungle and 5 hours to shoot under the rain while another 45 minutes to hike back down.

Please share with us the process of making ‘Aku Masih Ingat’ for this competition.

We usually follow the process of filmmaking which includes Pre-Production, Production and Post- Production.

For Pre-Production, Story is very important. I was thinking of an idea , I jotted down my idea and make it intoa story.  As I didn’t have much time to prep or think of a more structure story, I just thought why not give it a try. I type my script and met up with my college junior, Nazrin who becomes my production designer.  I give him my ‘mood & tone’ and colour palate that I was going for and how I want it to look, what elements that could help the cinematographer-example- smoke, water, reflections.

Next, it is the communication with the cinematographer, Shaurin. To be well-verse with the Panasonic GH5, we discuss every shot and how we could finish the whole shoot in one day. We decided to shoot the whole thing in 4K and to frame it properly so that we can manipulate the frame size in post.

For the location recce, I wasn’t able to join for recce due to work, so I sent Nazrin, and Shaun(line producer) to look for suitable location. To find a location that has it’s story and art sense. I was overseeing everything through Whatsapp and decided to go on the location we filmed when I first saw it. There were 4 locations but due to budget and logistic issues we proceed to go with the location at Kemensah Height.

Coming up, we will have our rehearsal session. I met with every cast and crew a day before, we began to discussed on the characteristic and the acting process, due to the limitation of time. Me and my Cinematographer shot a ‘video-board’, its something like a storyboard only its much more better for the limitation of time. We emphasize on what we should do and what we should not.

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During the prodution stage, we face various challenges during the shoot, we had nature issues which appears to be the main thread towards the shoot. Luckily for PANASONIC GH5, it was weather proof and we manage to shoot everything in time.  There were some changes in story-telling during on set, we have to think creatively on the post-production process due to unforeseen circumstances. But nevertheless, do not be worried to compromise a little bit of the creative process.

Finally, for the Post-Production, the process was quite a rush, I only had 1 week to complete everything from offline, giving my VFX guy to add effects and adding sound effect, giving the sound composer to make his music to enhance it and handing it to a sound mixer to finalize its overall online process.  The story change a bit , but we still manage to keep the premise intact.

It is a big challenge for every filmmaker who has already got used to shoot with their own cameras. How much time it took you to get used to the camera Lumix GH5 and to learn about its functions?

To me it is a big challenge as every single moment technology is improving. We can even shoot a film with a phone at the era. It took me at least 1 day to get use to the LUMIX GH5 and to learn it’s functions as I was quite excited holding it.

Is there any particular thing that you would like to pinpoint while using Lumix GH5? How did the camera help you in achieving the effects and voice you wanted to portray in your film ‘Aku Masih Ingat’?

The camera helps me in achieving the style I wanted which is to tell stories visualize in emphasizing a selected moments.  Cause of it’s internal 5-axis stabilizer and it’s 4K 50-60p function, I manage to get the effect I wanted and how I wanted to portray it’s visuals in my short film.

Thank you Sherwynn for your sharing your experiences. Wish you all the best in your filmmaking journey!

Thank you!

 

Graduation: All Should End Well Did End Well by next new wave

Author: Elise Shick

I don't want to write. To write means to mark an end to this vivid dream of bittersweet incidents taken place in Hotel Sentral throughout these past seven days. Maybe nobody cares anymore. Maybe they've moved on and set themselves off to begin a new adventure. Maybe some still cast their minds back to the first day of the workshop. Maybe some can't remember at all what had happened. Maybe someone like me still lingers on and doesn't want to forget about the graduation day. So I have no choice but to archive this day in writing form. Next year when we look back at this piece of writing, we will find a melancholically beautiful child sitting there, gazing at an older us. 

The Second Final Breakfast

As days went by, it became harder for me to spot any comrade in Level 5 whom I could have breakfast with. Ah, how sweet it was in the few first mornings when we sat together at a round table questioning Jasmi why he doesn't eat rice, porridge, and noodles. Seriously man, you should make a film out of this. You can probably be famous very quickly. 

To expect any participant to have breakfast with me on this day was mission impossible. They were all still in the editing hall. No one especially the editors wanted to let go of the iMacs up till the last moment. Let them do it. They could hug or kiss or dance with the iMacs as long as they had their final outputs handed to Stephen by 10am. 

I was still editing my crappy film done hours ago with my eyes half opened like a dead fish. I saw Pey Sien passed by. She wore a contented smile on her serene face. I've never seen her like this before. She must be very happy with her own work. If anyone happened to take a picture of this scene, you would see a graceful goddess walking pass a condemned peasant. This was not the end. I still had an interview with Mr. Sidi at 8:50 am. I survived the interview. It was short and sweet and lasted only for 10 minutes because Sidi had to rush into room 1502 (if I remembered it correctly) where a very very important meeting with the other mentors was taking place. 

After the submission, I spotted few participants finally took out their room cards without hesitation to go back to their rooms and take a shower. They must have soaked themselves in weird body odours for two days. It's ok, no one will know about that and no one will eventually care about that as long as their films are outstanding. For some people happen to read my blog after watching their films, they will understand that the road to success necessitates weird body odours, it's unavoidable. 

Pre-Screeening: How Are You Going To Defend Your Work?

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We were behind the schedule, as usual of course. We had Amir Muhammad, Carlo, and Sidi written in the guest lists to attend this session but when I peeped through a hole from Sentral 2, I saw Davy and Anocha appeared in the hall too. The participants entered the hall group by group. From their light footsteps, I heard a thousand pounds of trepidation. Davy started to throw different questions at them, followed by other mentors. I couldn't hear the contents properly but it seemed to me that the participants were fighting hard for their moment of glory. 

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I checked the hallway out, different kinds of expression flashed across the participants' faces. Everyone except Boon. Of course he looked as calm as usual, I doubted if he actually understood the art of panicking or adrenaline crush. Gogu saw me spying on them so he uttered to me in his low voice, 'Did you actually sleep? You look very tired'. Yes, I was very exhausted but I thought you too, just that you had your Buddha face and no one could spot your fatigue. By the way, someone was telling me last night that you couldn't explode on set even though you wished to. This was something that you must work on. Or just licked their faces if your production team members pissed you off. 

Panel Discussion 1.0: 'Let's Talk About Your First Filmmaking Experience'

The panel discussions were moderated by Amir Muhammad. This explained why the atmosphere was unshakeable. I attended several panel discussions moderated by Amir, several opening ceremonies hosted by him too, and I sensed that he could handle the whole situation with just a wave of his hand, or a smile that squeezed out two deep dimples. 

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Yah, so Amir the god of panel discussions was sitting upright emitting a suave aura while Carlo was talking relentlessly about his first experience in filmmaking. I wasn't sure if Carlo was super excited, but he always sounded interested when people asked him questions, especially with the camera on. He could finish three long sentences in five seconds. That was a talent. 

If you’re really working in film, it’s always a collaborative effort.
— Carlo Francisco Manatad

We had definitely been hearing these two words 'collaborative effort' for uncountable times since day one of the workshop. As an ending, we definitely needed to hear them once more. Thank you Carlo, you gave us such a good closing. Sidi was contemplating something while Carlo was talking. Amir must have realised that so he passed the question to Sidi.

If you love something, even though it’s a mistake, you’ll keep going and going.
— Sidi Saleh

He was probably speaking from his love experience. I remembered I gave him an interview question asking what is his relationship between he himself, his camera, and his subjects. He said, 'Love at the first sight'. Great, in order to make films, you must first know how to love. Shanjhey was enjoying himself at the side listening to Carlo's endless story. 

We found out that we had the same vibration that was why we worked together with the stranger we met.
— Shanjhey Kumar Perumal

Amir was asking Shanjhey how did he choose whom to work with. What Shanjhey said made total sense to many of us who was in this workshop. The vibration he meant, to me was a kind of wave form in the air that transmitted from one person to another and brought everyone together to do crazy stuffs. It doesn't occur everywhere or very often, but if you find it, please don't let it go. It creates miracles.

Panel Discussion 2.0: 'How Can We Continue To Make Film?'

The guy holding the microphone close to his mouth was the translator/interpreter for Mr. Choi Yoon. His real name is Cho HyungDong but he wanted us to call him his fancy nickname JJ. JJ was a very funny guy. Don't be cheated by his serious look here during the panel discussion or on the stage, he was born to be a very comical guy. One morning I had breakfast with him and TK, he started to talk about the egg disease and advised me not to eat too much eggs. All I felt like eating for that breakfast was egg, four hard boiled eggs. I took the result of my blood test today and found out that I have high cholesterol. 

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From Amir and Davy's faces we could see that JJ was performing his best interpreting skill in translating every word from Mr. Choi Yoon with care and love. He put special emphasis on passion and energy. Yes, the two keywords for us to keep continuing making films. Moving on to Anocha, Amir asked her where and how she got the funding for her first film.

I was spending money that I didn’t have.
— Anocha Suwichakornpong

The funding for her first film came from her friends, family, and other little funders she had approached. It wasn't just about her genius in finding funding but more about her courage to do so. She had the guts to make a film even though she had no money. If you dare to dream, you must dare to do it too. 

Making too many commercials might change my mind and way of thinking. 
— Davy Chou

Amir put a question to find out why Davy chose to be in the independent scene. From his answer we all knew that to Davy, keeping an honest aesthetic point of view and way of making film was very crucial. That was one of his principles, a good reminder too to many filmmakers out there who sometimes let slip of what they used to believe when they first started making film. With perseverance, I believe anyone can make real this dream even though it means to sacrifice or to suffer more. 

Screening In Progress: Let The Audience Challenge You

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Many guests had arrived at Level 5 where the screening of the participants' short films was held. I scanned through the screening hall (the place where we used to have our breakfast, lunch, and dinner together) and saw some alumni. Some university lecturers were there too. Actors and actress in the films sat quietly at the corner, awaiting their appearances on the screen. The feeling was very surreal. A place where we had meals together had turned out to be the exact spot of where we will all devour the end products of our hard works.

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After the screening, there came a Q&A session for each group. Gogu and Benedict looked particularly happy during the Q&A for Believe Me. Perhaps they liked to deal with the audience better than the production crew. I had no idea. Or watching their own work with the audience could be one of the most remarkable things in their lives. Everyone spoke about their hardship during the production and post-production day. For Gogu, directing the talents was something especially challenging for him, well, since we all knew that he was a very gentle and soft-spoken guy. I heard from someone that he and his talents were performing some kind of ritual during the production day, something to do with transferring energy. That was quite special. Actually I forgot what Benedict said. For producer, it must be the pre-production day when they normally had to swallow a dozen of panadols. Aishah said that she could have done more during the production day  to request for more insert shots instead of merely doing conti or holding the slate. Farries too, spoke from the bottom of his heart that production day was very challenging for him given the time limit and the harsh shooting environment. 

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There wasn't much ups and downs for group B. But I was quite surprised that the film was classified into horror genre in the end. I actually saw the previous version of Mama before the final output. There was a lot of improvement in editing especially the sound design that changed the fate of this film I guess. Yazeid said the same thing too, he was a bit taken back when the audience laughed halfway in the film. He said he couldn't control this but the film had become a comedic horror film. Honestly saying, it wasn't easy to make a comedic horror film. So...congratulations! The team didn't have much problems overall and they were really indebted to the technical team and talents for their professionalism. 

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Group C's film Melati caught me off guard the most after witnessing the progress from pre-production to post-production. They added a little bit of twists and turns in Davy's script and the end product turned out to be surprisingly well. I mean the three groups were given the same script and were allowed to amend some parts of the script but this group had changed it into another story. The first two had similarities and the potential to be categorised into horror genre but Melati was more like a family drama. Azim said that the script development stage was very important to him and to the film. Boon said they improvised something on set and it turned out to be fruitful. Maybe they created 'the grey area'–the tension existed during the negotiation between deliberation and improvisation–I mentioned in my second blog. 

The Q&A was followed by the screening of I Just Want You To Love Me–the film that staffs and volunteers had made together in the last minute as a surprise for everyone. The reception was good, judging from the volume of laughters and applauses heard from the audience crowd. It was a light dessert after horror films and family drama. Like I said in the previous blog, this supposedly mellow and poetic film had changed dramatically into a comedy. We had no control over it anymore, so let's laughed together. Everything should end well did end well. 

Announcement for FLY-ROK: Every Next Moment Is A Surprise

The inside and the outside of the screening hall was separated by a river of never-ending  discussions between the mentors, Mui, FINAS representatives and Mr. Choi Yoon from Busan Film Commission, oh yes, and JJ I think. Anyone could sense the dense atmosphere outside of the hall as we looked out from the glass door. Hmm, this year's mentors really held up to their decision, they didn't give up fighting for another participant whom they thought he really deserved to go to FLY. Discussions went on for hours until the moment of glory was shared by everyone in the hall. 

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So Davy represented the four mentors to give an opening speech for their decision. Look at Anocha's face, she was determined and must be very satisfied with the results. Carlo looked a little bit nerdy, Sidi confused, and Davy spoke with an air of confidence. 

It sounds like a cliche but it’s really difficult for us to make the decision, we wished we could send [all the participants] to FLY-ROK.
— Davy Chou

Come on, again? This is a must-heard thing repeating over and over again in every year. Davy even made a short disclaimer for pragmatic purpose, I guess. It's alright, we all knew that it must be a really tough choice to make since we witnessed the endless discussions outside of the hall. You were forgiven. 

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The audience and the participants cringed for quite a long time waiting for Mr. Choi Yoon to finish his speech. He took so long, or probably it was JJ who took so long to finish speaking. I guess he added here and there things that he wanted to say but didn't have any chance to say throughout this whole week. He was making good use of his time at that moment, slow and calculated. Anyway, it was on the next day when we found out that the mentors, Mr. Choi Yoon, and JJ were dragging the time because the staff had to give birth to a certificate that was not in the list: an unplanned honorary mention to one of the participants. This was the thing that the mentors had been fighting for because each year they could only send two finalists to FLY-ROK and this year, they wanted to break the rules.

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Benedict and Ariff were the two finalists who will be representing Malaysia at ASEAN-ROK Film Leaders Incubator: FLY in Jogjakarta, Indonesia from November 20 to December 3 this year. Everyone looked so happy especially Kak Aisyah, the FINAS representative who had been accompanying us from the beginning of this workshop till the end. I didn't have any photo of the honorary mention participant Boon, the super calm guy. So he had the privilege to be recommended by any of the mentors and Mr. Choi if he wants to apply for any film workshop. This was a huge surprise that astonished all of us, including the two finalists. The closing ceremony was marked an end with Boon's large smile. 

I still have a heavy heart with me now to end this blog but from the deepest of my heart I would like to say thanks to Next New Wave for giving me a chance to express my very personal and sometimes even mistaken interpretations on this whole workshop. For real, this is my first time writing a blog and spying on the participants. I had fear too that I couldn't make it or there would be no one to read my silly blogs but thank you all, thank you my dear readers. I hope these pieces of writing bring back good memories to everyone of you who had involved in this workshop and whoever wants to get some insights of what was happening throughout the past week. Dear participants, volunteers, staffs, mentors, FINAS representatives, technical teams, talents, and Mui, we will meet again.

 

 

Take Off Your Shoes and Explain Your Philosophy of Love by next new wave

Author: Elise Shick

Do you believe in the existence of love? It can be in any form. Does care equal to love? I don't know. Can you draw your philosophy of love? I don't know what is philosophy, never mind love, I'm very bad at drawing. You are blushing! No, I'm drunk. If there's only one way I can answer you, it would be a film telling you 'I just want you to love me'. 

Your Fassbinder Is Not My Fassbinder

Two green coconuts, two ice Milos, one table, four persons, ABC Bistro. The perfect ending after a banal conversation. Sidi, Davy, Jacky and I walked back to hotel, entered the conference hall, and started discussing about love. I came back from the washroom getting ready to set my writing mode on. 'Elise, you will be Jacky's assistant to help him explaining what is love', Davy said abruptly. 'Oh man...' I murmured to myself but couldn't go against his order. Sidi was laughing at the side, probably thinking what bunch of insane monkeys these people are. But he too, is one of us, perhaps the most insane of all.

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In May 2017, I had a private conversation with Jacky about his perception and my perception of love. He inserted part of the conversation in his new script and I hated him so much for that. I felt betrayed because I thought it was something very confidential between us. Nevertheless, each person has different way of expressing their creativity and put them into work. Hong Sang-soo, the South Korean film director for example, employs this kind of approach in making films. Jacky might be inspired by him somehow. 

The moment had passed, I let go of this awful feelings of hatred and betrayal. Who knows in the midst of tight writing schedule Davy wanted me to be his assistant. Fine. If I refused to do it, I would have no time for my blog, no time for shower, no energy for my internal interview session, so on, so on. 'Take off your shoes', Davy said with a reference to a West German filmmaker Fassbinder. If I wasn't mistaken, this I Just Want You To Love Me was also derived from Fassbinder's I Only Want You To Love Me. Hello guys, where was your originality? 

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Anyway, Jacky and I capitulated and took off our shoes, standing in front of the white board with markers in our hands. Jacky explained his philosophy of love to me in Mandarin without any difficulty. I, on the other hand, translated with difficulty his complex yet simple philosophy of love into English so that Davy and Sidi could understand. You know why it was complex and simple at the same time? Jacky denied the existence of love in this world. He worshipped the existence of care that led to relationship. Relationship was what he cared about in the end. The video Davy had recorded using his phone became a testimony of Jacky's denial of love. It also became the starting point of the film I Just Want You To Love Me.

I Challenge Each Of You To Write One Script On This

I was added into a chat group consisted of 6 members (4 volunteers, 2 staffs) and I knew what was going to happen. So here were the rules: (1) Each of us was given 30 minutes to write a one-page script based on the script written by the other member (sequence was already set); (2) The scriptwriter would also be the director of his or her own script: (3) The members would take turns to act in each other's film. Unlisted rules: (5) Didn't know who would be the cinematographer; (5) Zero-budget; (6) Deduct another year off from your life-span due to sleep deprivation. 

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Chapter 1 'Bus Stop' and Chapter 2 'Documentary of Jacky's Soul'

Sathis was the first one to begin. He wrote a script about a millennial girl (Elise) who bumped into a stranger (Jacky) at a bus stop and who then eventually fell in love with her. The next one was Chloe. Chloe wrote a mockumentary script about Jacky's philosophy of love starring Jacky, Isyraqi and her own voice as the interviewer. She was stuck on the halfway. No surprise, it was easy to stuck in his concept of love. No matter how, her end product was astounding.

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Chapter 3 'Transform' and Chapter 4 'Zhang Xue Jing'

Isyraqi was in the queue after Chloe. His story was the first turning point of everything. Jacky ate a pill invented by Chloe (a doctor graduated from London) and woke up finding himself becoming a woman (Elise).  Then, it was Jacky's turn. His script was about Isyraqi who finally realised that he was a homosexual after witnessing the process of Jacky turning back from a woman to a man. Isyraqi was in love with Jacky (I wasn't sure if this was fictional).

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Chapter 5 'A Soul Trapped in Chrysanthemum' and Chapter 6 'I Don't Know Love'

Next, it was my turn. I wanted to write something about crime and suspense but it turned out to be an unexpected comedy. Forget it. In my script, Isyraqi was a homosexual psychopath who accidentally bumped into Sathis (who admired Isyraqi secretively) and murdered him later in the carpark where Jacky intended to bring his first date. For all the time, Isyraqi and Chloe wanted to execute Jacky's dream about his first date. But the truth was that Jacky was the one plotting the crime. Han Loong wrote the final part of the script concluding that Jacky doesn't know what is love. His work was quite dream-like. The twists and turns of the plot had ridicule the whole script and we couldn't control how quickly it expanded into a nonsensical comedy. 

Make A Twenty Two-Minutes Film In Less Than Twelve Hours

We all succumbed to the fact that this script will never return to its mellow and mature original state that we saw during the script development stage. Jacky and I thought that we would never be able to finish the film anyhow due to time constraint. Nonetheless, the shooting went quite well even though it progressed slowly in the beginning. We were helping each other in major and minor things including continuity. Special thanks to the BTS team Lai, and also Rou Ning and Sy Yi who agreed to help us without a slight of hesitation. Why were they doing this? Rou Ning and Sy Yi were the participants of last year's workshop. For sure, they missed the experience of waking up for all night just to make films together. 

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Yes, we are young and reckless. We didn't have a second thought when Jacky said 'Let's make a film together'. We didn't consider too much about other things. We didn't prepare anything. We probably neglected the participants a little bit. We put our job aside first. We didn't think about the topsy-turvy situation that all these might lead to. We had the passion, urge, and friendship that all together made this a spontaneity. We wanted it and we did it. 

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Photo taken and edited by Carlo Francisco Manatad.

The film was a surprise. It was light but dense with meaningful moments at the same time. I believe that throughout the spectrum of time, this experience of working together without too much consideration and rationale, burning our lungs and livers alive, dozing off on set, trafficking pillows out from the hotel, bearing funny smell in the carpark and etc. will be bookmarked as one of our crazy times.

 

 

 

Post-Production: An Endless Route to Perfection by next new wave

Author: Elise Shick

I've lost count of the days since there weren't nights to mark the start of a new day. We stayed and still stay fully awake with our spirits living in another galaxy. My writing came to a halt on the post-production day because there were some other priorities that I had to take into consideration before creating a regret in my life. It was a right decision. Writing could wait a bit, but not in the case of making film. Writing is a lonely thing: the complete antithesis of making a film. 

Chasing After A Non-Existent Perfection

When I thought that production day was the most wearying day, post-production day was far more than wearying. It was an eternal journey of seeking for perfection. I'm just going to talk briefly about the participants' editing process since I spent most of my time tracking down the mentors, glued their asses on the chair, and conducted a series of pressing and stupid interview questions. 

When the clock struck nine in the morning, the editing participants footslogged from their rooms to the Sentral 1 and stopped in front of iMacs. Lieutenant General Beh–the technical assistant in post-production–delivered a speech and ordered the participants to be in their positions. I felt obliged to say that General Carlo–the editing mentor–went missing again just like on the second day of the workshop. Why? Editors are not morning persons and no further comment. Anyway, he eventually turned up and began his super effective and packed supervision. From the moment he stepped into the hall it was painful for him to leave. And I felt painful too to chase after him for the internal interview session like a mouse chasing after a cat.

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Ariff from group C was the only one among other editing participants who was really familiar with Final Cut Pro X. Lucky him. His knowledge and experience in using FCPX helped him and his team to save a kilogram of time. If you see Ariff in person you will not believe that this guy can actually talk because he was so shy, humble, and silent. The worst thing was that I couldn't do anything about this. I approached Ariff and asked how was the editing going and he looked at me with his very gentle smile. I stayed calm and steady so as not to melt. Also to mention that Ariff was in the same group with Boon the very chill cinematographer and Azim the director with very sweet smile. That was the trend in this group so I gave up imploring him to answer me. 

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I moved on to group A. This photo was a lie. Aishah looked quite lost and frustrated when I observed her from behind. She posed in a blink of an eye as I got closer because some filmmakers always have this responsiveness to camera. The thing with Aishah was that she had experience with FCPX but she secured them in a safety box and stored it somewhere in her brain. Therefore, she had to re-learn in order to recall. When I came back from the internal interview session, she had no mood to pose for my camera anymore. 'I'm ok, everything is ok', these were her famous last words I heard from her during offline editing session. I hoped she was in control.

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Pey Sien from group B was a newbie in using FCPX. I did not dare to show you her facial expression because she looked extremely serious. I had to admit that I was so impressed by her learning speed. Empty yourself in order to learn more. But one of the cons is that some people over-emptying themselves that they become so absent-minded and stay empty for their whole life. The case with Pey Sien was different. She had artistic visions and she wanted to incorporate these gifts in writing, drawing, photography, and filmmaking. I didn't mean to say that other editing participants have no artistic vision but Pey Sien's was especially discernible to me. Anyway, this is very subjective just like everyone fancies different kinds of undergarments. 

The three of them remained in the same position throughout the day. If they were given a thousand years to edit the films they would remain in the same position for that long too. No surprise, this is because they ceaselessly seeking for a non-existent perfection and believed that there will be bigger and bigger spaces for improvement.

Blast The Coffee, I Know You Hate Interviews

Not just the mentors had enough of interviews, me too, felt like they were very ritualistic. That was why I wanted to make the internal interviews more casual and conversational. The risk of having interviews like that was not just because it was too impromptu but we turned out offending, insulting, fighting with and swearing at each other. This might be the beginning of a poisonous relationship between the interviewer and the interviewee. But of course, the interviews were nonetheless fun and well-polished with jokes and silly laughters. They were the most exciting interviews I had for this year. 

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My first interviewee Anocha was super sweet and comfortable to talk to. She was very accommodating and I felt like bouncing on the rainbow listening to her voice. Even though we had difficulties in finding a good spot with quiet surroundings, the interview turned out to be very fruitful in terms of the contents she provided and the peaceful atmosphere we created. The interview paused for few times in the middle and the slick Anocha had to repeat her answers but she was still willing to do it again and again without a little bit of lament. 

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The second interviewee as you can see from the above picture was this chap with his marvellous hairstyle that I wished I could destroy with a blow of whistle. The most memorable thing to me wasn't just about the insightful contents he provided (of course they were important) but the control I had to exert on myself so that I didn't finish the coffee in front of me in one gulp. Some interviewee just wanted to torture their interviewer by ordering two cups of coffee for his own and placing one of them in front of you as a prop that you were not allow to touch forever. 

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The third interviewee was Carlo whom I had to keep keeping track of so that he couldn't escape. He was exceptionally dedicated to his role as a mentor that he wouldn't even want to leave the editing hall. It was ok, at least he still agreed to the interview and answered everything before I even started asking some of the questions. There were moments where I wanted to stop him and slow him down but the results were horrible. Carlo was quite a smart and cheeky interviewee.

I didn't  get to interview Sidi because he was too exhausted and I had no will to push him further. Respect your interviewee to a certain extent was very essential.

If I wrote this blog at the end of the post-production day, I am sure the content would turn out to be very very different. The similarity I found amongst the three mentors was that their first filmmaking experience came from an instinct or a feeling they already knew was somewhere there deep within their heart. It wasn't easy to live through others' scepticism to see filmmaking as a career but the three of them made it and still doing it with drive and passion. If you have a want to do something, you really have to start doing it and keep doing it. This is why I stopped writing on the post-production day and joined the circle of my crazy volunteers and crews to make a short film in less than 12 hours. There will be a special edition about the short film we made in the upcoming blog. 

 

 

 

My Way from FLY to AFA by next new wave

As the 3rd Young Filmmakers Workshop will select 2 most promising participants represent Malaysia for FLY workshop this year, we are glad to invite our alumnus last year -- Putri Purnama Sugua to share about her journey to FLY program and the preparation to the AFA this year!

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Hi Putri, Nice to meet you! Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about your feeling when you’re selected to FLY Workshop?

Hello everyone, I am Putri Purnama Sugua. I'm producing participant of 2nd Young Filmmakers Workshop. I still remember the moment when my name was announced by Mr. Choi, the Director of Busan Film Commission on the night of Next New Wave graduation ceremony, I was surprised and I didn’t not expect to be chosen actually. There were 14 of us participants and each of us are talented and passionate in making films. Therefore, the chance to be chosen to participate in FLY workshop is very low and yet my name was announced. I was startled as I wasn’t focusing on the speech and the announcement. Suddenly a friend next to me which I’m not mistaken is Rose? Telling me: “Putri! Your name was being mentioned. Huh? Mentioned for what? You’ve been selected for FLY!” I was so surprised. I got up, went to the stage and felt so happy and overwhelmed. At the same time, the fact that I’m going to represent my country for the SEA young filmmakers workshop really makes me feel eager to do my best during the FLY workshop. Like I said during the speech after receiving the fly certificate I was saying to others that I will make Malaysia proud and I’m glad that I did it, which is being chosen to represent Malaysia for Asia Film Academy

So, how was the preparation before you go to FLY workshop?

There is no much preparation on my side because everything was already prepare by FLY. Before we went to Cambodia, the FLY coordinator gave us a list of stuff we should bring, like what kind of wardrobe we should use what kind of daily stuff to bring. Other than that, before FLY start, we have been divided into 2 teams and I was in Team A. One month before the workshop start, we did our pre-production process online. The first 3 weeks were the weeks where we developed our idea for the short film that we will shoot in the FLY workshop. The rest of it is all script development where we need to come out with an idea. Through that idea, we need to make a script. All this process was done through Skype. Each of us select a day in a week, mostly end of the week, and arrange a Skype meeting where we discussed what idea we want, what kind of script and genre is suitable and how we want to develop our story to make it interesting. After that we send it to our mentor. The mentor gave some comments about it and we make corrections and discussed again how to make it better. The best part of communicating through Skype, is that not only we discussed about script or idea but we also chat about ourselves. Through that, we try to understand each other. We became closer during online pre-production period and we became friends for so long. We talked about our personal matters and share stuff like the films we like and the genres we like. By doing this, we started to understand each other and know what this person like, doesn’t like and this person perspective on film. For me as a producer, I can know what my team is. We became very close after that. When we first met in Cambodia, I remember I was the second last person to join my team because my flight was delay. When I reached, my team members were together. When they saw me, they ran to me and hug me as seem as we were long lost friend who finally reunite. When the FLY coordinate saw how close we are, they were surprised because we look like we have known each other for so long.  And I’m glad we are doing that, because after our first meeting, everything went smooth because we do not need to face any awkward moments like when you meet someone for the first time and when you get to know them. All the time, other than preparing for this trip, we were having so much fun.  We played, chit chat, talk about films and our argument always ended in a good way. I’m so glad that we did the online pre-production. It was important for us to make us comfortable with each other even before we meet.

Wow! I can really see how the pre-production works! So, what is your role during FLY Workshop?

My role during the FLY workshop was being a producer. This role was actually selected by myself during the role selection. After our script was done, our coordinator asked us to pick our own role and I chose producing. I chose producing because I wanted to experience how tough it is in producing in an international production. I learnt a lot of producing stuff from this FLY workshop. As a producer, I automatically became the leader of the group. Everyone will depend on me in decision making and I need to lead the group properly. So, it is a big task for me but I love doing it because I get to challenge myself by doing it. Even though when I first arrived there, I was not confident with my English, especially with my writing and speaking skills. When we met each other, everyone was so supportive and it makes my producing work so easy. If there is a time that we argue, like when we don’t share the same idea, I still managed to unite my team. We argue yet after that everyone will still agree on what we have decided after the argument. Normally in my other experience as producer, when the members do not understand or agree with each other it ended up with fighting with each other. All this change when I was in FLY, we are unite all the time. Even when the argument is big, we also ended up with an agreement. The best part of being a leader, is my other members respect me as a producer as they always asked me when they want to make any changes. They know that as a leader or producer, the final decision comes from me and that’s the best part because they make me participate in the decision making and depended on me to decide. I feel overwhelmed with that and I feel like a very important person. By feeling that, it makes me more eager to make sure to create the best short film, I also need to make sure everyone is unite always. I said to my team that even though this might be a workshop where everyone need to focus on making a script but I want them to have fun and enjoy this moment. Not only we came to make a film but we also came to make connections. Our friendship and work will not end here and it will continue after this workshop in Cambodia. I expect my team to work together even after the workshop. I will always remember that being a producer in this workshop will be the best experience for me.

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Can you share us more about the experiences and challenges with mentors and participants from other SEA countries?

There were a lot of experiences that I’ve been through during the workshop. Going to Cambodia was my first experience traveling abroad. Being selected by FLY was very meaningful, as I managed to experience in working and making film abroad because normally I’m used to making films in Malaysia. It was not my first experience doing core production, because I have done it in Malaysia. It was my first time doing it in other country and as a producer, there were lots of challenges such as language barrier. Not everyone can speak English fluently. We sometimes used sign language to understand each other. Other members such as Alissa from Thailand and Jolina from Singapore, they are fluent in English. Even though we don’t know what to say but we understand each other. The experience of working together with friends from all over South East Asia as wonderful, even though we don’t know them well, we can still work together. We can still have the same idea.

For the experience of making the film, there were a lot of new things that I learned such as preparing for our shoot. When working in core production, everything has to be very detailed and well managed. We need to make sure our preparation were over the top, make sure everything is completed before shooting.

Like I mentioned before, language barrier was a challenge but we manage to overcome it by trying to understand each other. We managed to understand each other easily because we already know much about each other during pre-production. Other than that, for the shoot, the place we used was in a rural area, it was an old house. Before the shoot, it was raining regularly. Hence, it flooded. So before shooting, we have to clean up the area and it was quite dangerous with all the hardware around and we had to work around the wet area. We tried to be careful and made sure we were safe.

The whole process of FLY workshop was a great experience and will be the one that I will always remember.

Even though we have challenges, but I can say that what I had been through in Cambodia was not the most difficult challenges that I faced, and all the challenges are manageable. And you’ll learn something out of it.

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Cool! You should've many memorable moment during the FLY workshop. Can share us more?

There were a lot of memorable moments. The most memorable moment that I remember was our fusrt meeting in Cambodia. Before this, we had our online pre-production, we were closed. Before I went to Cambodia, I was wondering how we will react when we see each other. Surprisingly, when I arrived, the others were there and when they saw me, they came running to me and hugged me. Finally we met each other. And from that moment, we never stop talking. I haven’t ate yet at that time and they accompany me to dinner. They set up a table and took food for me. It’s like we already know each other for a long time and we were the loudest people at that time. The other teams were not talking to each other. Everyone was awkward while we were close, like a friends having a reunion. That was one of the memorable moments.

Other than that, another moment was when my name was announced for the Asia Film Academy. When I was selected by FLY, I also wanted to be selected to Asia Film Academy. It’s my dream to go there, and it’s hard to be chosen to be a trainee at the academy. My name was announced again to represent Malaysia to attend Asia Film Academy. It’s one of the memorable experience, everyone cheered for me when I walked to the stage. It was Mr. Choi again who present me the scholarship. It was a very memorable moment that I will remember.

Lastly, it was during our wrap party, because we know we have completed our short film our work and it was time to enjoy ourselves. It is a very fun moment, everyone was dancing and singing and we have a long chit chat. Although it was supposed to be a happy moment, we were sad as we will be departing the next day. We were supposed to go back to our hotel to sleep after the wrap party, but we decided to spend the whole night together and talked about everything. We wanted to spend our last night together.

I made films in Malaysia. I’ve been through a lot of production. However, FLY was fun because other than making and discussing on films, most of the time we had fun. When we are preparing for our final draft of the script, we sat in a room together,where the 3 directors focused on developing the ideas, while the rest of us gave our ideas. While waiting, we played games. We also had time to play games and discuss on films at the same time. So, we were all not stressed out. Even when we need to prepare stuff, we make sure it was in a relaxing and fun way. When things don’t come out well, we will encourage each other.

There are a lot of memorable experience that I will remember. Even when we eat together, we talk about personal stuff during lunch and dinner. When we have to get ready for shoot, we played games, did our work and had fun at the same time.

How FLY workshop change your perspective..especially on filmmaking?

FLY changed a lot of my perspective on filmmaking. One of it is how as a producer, I can understand people more. Before attending FLY, I did a lot of stuff by myself and work with a small team. It was difficult for me to trust people, especially when making my short film However, after going through FLY, it changed my perspective on trying to understand people. It makes me trust people more and believe them as well as depend on them to help you. Besides, FLY built up my confidence. As a filmmaker, I will always challenge myself and face difficult moments. I won’t give up even when it’s difficult. It makes me want to pursue it, like having a core production work. I never thought of having a core production work while I was in Malaysia. After FLY, I started to think of making a core production work and I planned to produce a film with my friends from South East Asia. My perspective on producing changed as I learned a lot from the FLY program.

Before we announce the two finalists this year, give us a quote to the young filmmakers/upcoming participants to FLY workshop? 

If you guys are selected for FLY, you’ll be asking a lot of quotations. Don’t worry guys. Everything will be fine. You will be fine. I’m sure you all will have lot of fun during production. What I can say is don’t only go there to make films. Go there to make friends and to have fun. That is the most important thing. If you have fun making your film, you will make a good film because you enjoy making it and you will give your fullest, which you will be very passionate when making the film. Other than that, be the one who link with the other South East Asian members. Don’t be shy, always be confident. When you’re there and have any questions to ask, just raise your hand and ask them. Be presentable and make sure everyone notice about you there. If you aim to go to Asia Film Academy or other scholarship, make sure you need to be always presentable, passionate and energetic. Confidence is the most important. Like I said, online pre-production is very important for you to understand your members. So, when you’re doing it, make sure you’re always there and participate in the video call. Other than talking about films, talk about yourself and get them to talk about themselves.  And from there, you will understand each other, be comfortable with each other and be close with one another before you all meet. Have fun and enjoy each moment you will go through in the FLY program. 

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I hope it's not too late. Congratulations for received the scholarship to AFA! So, how are you feeling when you know you're selected to AFA?

Thank you so much! I felt so happy. Because my dream came true and I’m going to Korea! I was so happy at that time when my name was announced. Sometimes I felt very proud of myself. Finally, I can make my dream come true. I really wanted to go to Korea for so long. Korea is very great country that produce a lot of filmmaker and I want to experience making a film in Korea. As a selected participant for Asia Film Academy, and getting the scholarship from that, I’m very excited about it and mostly very happy when my name was announced. I can’t wait to go to Korea and attend the Busan Film Festival and also can’t wait to meet my new team members. I’m not sure who I will face as my team member and I’m not sure if it will be as fun as FLY. The FLY coordinator also said that I might be the youngest but I not sure about it. I’ll bring the experience from FLY to Asia Film Academy and try be the participant that will link other members. We will enjoy the moments in making film in Busan and not too serious in making film. I hope we will be close with one another and understand each other.

Last one, can share us more your preparation before heading to AFA?

So far, we just submit my script because each AFA participants need to send our own script and it will be choose by the mentors of AFA. 2 best scripts will be chosen to be made into a film. The coordinator will split us into groups and give us the chosen script. So far, we have been through 3 weeks of online pre-production, where we need to develop the script before we go to AFA this 5th October. So there is not much preparation until now as I do not know who my team members are.  For me, not much preparation was done as I’m waiting for the online pre-production process and I’m excited for it. I can’t wait to go to Busan to make film. For my script, when I develop it, it was in BM as I did it long time ago. I submit it late as I need time to translate. My story is about a filmmaker’s journey. When I was writing that script, I was thinking what kind of story I can make as a film in Busan, which is able to reflect the culture and the people. Busan is the city of film in Asia. I also want a story that is close to myself. I’m thinking of making a filmmakers journey about Gang Mada (“Gang” means river and “Mada” means sea), when I researched on Busan there was an article that said Busan is all about sea, river, mountain and city. So, I try to get three natural elements: sea, mountain and river as my location to reflect the journey of the filmmaker. This is the story of how the filmmaker who finally found his film that he really wanted to make after he reached his middle age (48). He finally understands film and what kind of film he really wanted to do. I’m not sure if my script will be selected because it’s just the first draft and many things can be corrected. 3 weeks before submission, the AFA coordinator contacted me for an interview and ask what kind of role I want to bring. At first they wanted me to join the directing team, but I rejected it because I wanted to do producing again. They asked why I don’t want to be a director, and I told them that I want to direct a story that take place in Sabah and I’m not confident enough to direct a story that comes from other country. I chose producing because I want to know how Asian core production work together. I know that there will be hard challenges but I’m willing to face it. I want to be the one who links everyone to make a good film and make a good team by being a good producer.

 

Production Day: An Absolute Negation of Invisible Thunderstorms by next new wave

Author: Elise Shick

I'm chocked with words, heart's still beating hard. If you don't see my blog by tomorrow, do send my friends and family condolences because I'm sure the cause won't be others but heart attack. I mean, to die from heart attack in this situation is something to be proud of because I witnessed the ups and downs during the shooting and felt the participants emotions like I was one of them. But I was actually just an extra spy. 

The Day Has Come

Waking up early to proofread my own blog was a very narcissistic action. Mui (I've already introduced her in my previous writings so if you did read them you would already know who is this person I've been mentioning about, if you don't know her yet, it is your privilege to devour my previous writings again, thank you) in her morning post mentioned that she got a sniff of the coming thunderstorm. Now I understood why the previous director I had worked with said that Mui has something. Yes, she has the nose to predict today's weather.

What could go wrong will go wrong.
— Tan Chui Mui

The pre-production ended super late last night. No, it ended this morning! I was lingering between waking up and half asleep because I felt so nervous like I was one of the participants. Maybe it was because my best friend was one of the participants. I wasn't sure Mui and the mentors felt this way too but they were always eager to know what was happening amongst the participants. So I half opened my eyes at dawn and saw my bestie gazing at me. Her silhouette was kind of creepy. I've never believed in horror story but when it happened coincidently to the person you love...Anyway, later in the day I found out that she just slept for one hour and a half. No wonder she looked like a spectre. So you understand now why some filmmakers do not live long. This is not a curse, it's a fact. That's the case for me too. When your best friend is a filmmaker, you don't live too long too because you just get so nervous with them and cry and laugh together like crazy nuns on cloud nine.  That's how I will die from heart attack. 

Well, Mui was right. What could go wrong will go wrong regardless how much preparation was done during pre-production. Remember the line from Les Miserables '...and there are storms we cannot weather...' This explains all except for Mui because she has the nose for weather forecast! By the way, there was no rain today but invisible thunderstorms. The sun grinned from ear to ear and tanned some of the participants. The shooting locations were extremely stuffy and packed. Nearly airless. Even an extra spy who occupied a little of their precious space would upset the whole technical team. I pitied and respected the three production crews from the deepest of my soul. Yes, they were all very professional and lamented nothing except Stephen. Stephen was staying outside for almost the whole day as a runner and he said he was unhappy due to the complex combination of food preferences of his production team. Gluten-free actress, vegetarian producer, no rice no porridge no noodles for cinematographer, and...And so he talked to me about that. It was very difficult for him and I understood that this was not a complaint but a confession. Otherwise, everything seemed to go well and smooth. At least I believed so.

Group A: I Want A Rose Not Your Armpits

Han Loong–the publicity manager of this workshop–was spying side-by-side with me on the film sets. Do you understand that spying is so difficult especially you are spying in their faces? I admired Matahari. The participants would not tell me the truth (I sensed that) because they knew I was absolutely a betrayer. So they would tell me the sweetest thing in fairy tales. Of course I knew we were not living in the fairy tales, do you think I was such a failure to not realise that? Perhaps I still have a brain to realise that I was a failure to be a smart spy. Perhaps they were right, spying wasn't my strength. Please don't expect a fish to climb a tree. Some people said that talents can be nurtured. The thing is that no matter how hard you train a fish to climb a tree, it just can't, ok? Unless you make a squirrel wearing fish skin, then stupid people will eventually believe that a fish can climb a tree, that there's nothing such as impossible in this world. This statement will be the explanation for the section or sections below. 

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The first group Han Loong and I paid a 'visit' to was group A (Gogu, Benedict, Farries, Aishah). By the time we arrived on set, they were already an hour ahead of the schedule. So I think we missed out quite many parts. Let's be honest, we missed out every part except from 2:30 pm to 3:45 pm if I wasn't mistaken. I was soproud of them for no reason. The mentors said that the participants were too ambitious in the beginning. But look, they actually hold up to their ambitious ambition with the help of some magic rituals they performed on sets. 

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The worst characteristic that a spy should ever have is to be objective. I had been hearing different kinds of stories from different people. Story one went like this: The producer (Benedict) kept making decisions; the director (Gogu) could be more decisive; the shooting was progressing very slowly; there were too many unnecessary props. Story two:Everything was on time; the editor (Aishah) was doing her job very well; they took five takes the most. Story three: Bla bla bla...And I failed to be a smart spy by conforming to this characteristic: be objective as much as possible. So I decided to take a look by myself, well, with Han Loong too of course. We tiptoed upstairs to an unit in Tong Soon mansion to smell the film set. Hmm, the whole set emitted a strange smell. I called it 'the smell of inequality'. So what I wanted to say was that this was my first impression when we just arrived. The smell was just so wrong. I wanted a rose, you gave me an armpit. 

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As I stayed longer for an hour and fifteen minutes, the time blew away the awkward smell. I came to a revelation that everything was a false impression. We were observing the production team in their faces. Gogu was talking a lot to the talents. He explained everything meticulously and dived in too deep so that the talents could see his film world. Benedict became the assistant director/producer/art director. He was so loud that anyone who simply passed by would think that he was the know-it-all kind of person. But no, he was just loud and did his job. For god is fair to give such a slender body a loud voice like thunder. If you hear Benedict on set, you can expect a thunderstorm. Aishah was in charge of continuity. She just did what she had to do and I had no further comments.

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The cinematographer (Farries) was adjusting the framing. Next to him was his assistant camera, sometimes I called it camera assistant by accident. I didn't even take note of his name but look at how beautiful he thought he was, I didn't feel bad at all for not remembering his name. It seemed like everything was cool and everyone was doing their jobs, right? I stayed for two rehearsals and recorded some cute spying videos before we left. The results weren't that good but at least I tried hard. We had no idea what happened before that or afterwards but there was always an invisible thunderstorm that only Mui could scent I guess. The most important thing I've learnt today is to trust your first instinct. If you don't have any instinct at all, at least trust your sense of smell. 

Group B: Goosebumps Everywhere

I've always loved the titles or headings I named because only few people who have some space for imagination can make sense of that. If not, just take me as an eccentric writer. I remember Abbas Kiarostami once said, 'Too much information is a kind of pornography'. So no porn here, ok? Before I continue my long-winded stories, let me advice you to better stop reading if your power of imagination suddenly disconnects. 

Han Loong and I walked to check group B (Yazeid, Xiao Rui, Jasmi, Pey Sien) out right after escaping from Tong Soon mansion. This was the warmest shooting location amongst the three. The producer (Xiao Rui) was definitely a psychopath with severe OCD. When I started sweating just in five minutes, I saw her wearing her black Next New Wave t-shirt adding another thick layer of green hoodie. Yes, she was wearing it for the whole day. Well, I left her alone because there was no point of me debating about this clothing issue. But I struggled throughout the spying project. 

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I went into the room where the editor (Pey Sien) was transferring the footages. She was smiling at the laptop screen. This film set was very eerie. The other corner of the room sat the make-up artist who installed a mini fan on her smartphone. The fan with soft wind blew and blew her hair. She was smiling a little bit at the mini fan. So I made up my mind to get out from this room as fast as possible without taking any picture. Swift move and cowardice brought me to this living room where I would stay for another hour. You should be able to spot the producer (Xiao Rui). The guy next to him was of course the director (Yazeid). The guy who was holding a green colour thingy was the cinematographer (Jasmi). Even though we can't really see his face but if you read my blog yesterday about the overtly enthusiastic cinematographer who insisted on 'I want to shoot in 4K' philosophy, yes, this was him. 

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I was still curious about his 4K shots so I went up to him and asked what was the plan. Sadly enough, he had already given up on his '4K'. I was very sure at that moment that it was a very difficult decision for him. He must have punch himself for a thousand times to let go of his 4K shots. It also meant that he capitulated to the mentors during yesterday's mentor consultation session. No matter how, Jasmi was still discussing with Yazeid about his perfect shots. It was good to know he still loves films even without his 4K shots. I asked Xiao Rui how was the schedule and everything else. This group was an hour and fifteen minutes ahead of time. Cool. Most of the takes were one or two. A very beautiful record. Jasmi said to me confidently that they would wrap early. I believed him and indeed, they were the first group to finish the shooting. This bunch of weird people had supernatural power. Then behind this supernatural power there were something else.

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Technically speaking, every aspect from lighting to sound was fully prepared. When Xiao Rui shouted 'reset!' everything was back in the same position in just two seconds. Besides that, the director rehearsed, rehearsed, and re-rehearsed with the actor and actress until they reached the point beyond perfection. Look at the way the actor stared at me, I did not owe him any money nor steal his underpants. But he just wanted to give me that hatred look. Maybe he was rehearsing so hard that he had to be in that emotion for the rest of the day. Fine, I held no grudges. So, Yazeid was rehearsing so hard with them that even an unpredicted raise of tone or eyebrow would make him question the take. He checked, and moved on. The talents were very professional and understood him in just one click. All these added up together and made it possible for them to wrap up an hour earlier than the schedule. 

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However, I decided to leave in no second when something proved that this film set was truly eerie. While the talents were speaking their very creepy lines, the light went off. I told Han Loong that we should leave immediately. There was no place for us here but there was certainly a place for the film and the supernatural production team. 

Group C: I'm Looking For Where To Have Our Wrap Up Dinner

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My energy had all drained out in the previous film set. Worse came to the worst we had to walk to group C's (Azim, Amanda, Boon, Ariff) shooting location. I knew that I was sick but I couldn't complain much because the producer (Amanda) was my sick mate too. I understood her feeling perfectly when we arrived on set. The condition was a bit harsh due to the super squeezy space. I actually really wanted to talk more to Amanda but it was obvious that she was too sick to reply me for more than three sentences. Group B had last year's participant Nathan to be the AD. While Amanda was sitting alone at the staircase, I tried to ask her some questions. I thought she was emo at first but it turned out that she was already figuring what to eat as wrap up dinner. To have a producer like that your stomach will remain in the state of bliss. Forever. 

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Oh well, I think this picture didn't represent well the meaning of squeezy little area I meant earlier. Anyway, the space was small and precious because when I walked into this territory bringing along with me my big heart, the whole technical team squinted their eyes. I could feel an intense pressure accumulated in the air. So I talked to only few people, trying to grasp what had happened, took some crappy pictures that I myself felt so proud of, squinted my eyes against them too as a revenge, and walked out from that space. 

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The person whom I approached first was the editor (Ariff). He was sitting alone in the corner of the room and writing something on a paper. Many more than a piece of paper. So I had this quick chance to ask him what was the matter. Shy as usual, he gave me that sweet smile followed by a confused face. For some kinder and purer participants, they would tell me the truth and then polished it slick and shiny to cover up their raw honesty. I really appreciated that. So this was the problem: scene one had three shots but he was confused about the sequence and the shots. I went straight to Boon because he looked genuinely chill in the other corner. The chillest man ever reassured me that everything had been settled. Ok, I trusted him because no one will have another assuring  face like his. I respected Boon because he seemed so relaxed in that squeezy corner. I would have suffered from claustrophobia and punch the technical team if I were him. 

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I spotted Mr. director (Azim) as I turned my head. He gave me this expression like he had done this for decades. I admit that Azim was quite adorable in person but he surely shouldn't do that to me in the public unless he wanted to dig out some secrets from me too. I felt so touched that this group acknowledged and respected my crappy spying skill. When I felt my presence being received, without hesitation I squeezed myself to the other corner where the tiny gap between the boom microphone and the wall could fit me just nice. Azim was nimble-witted especially when dealing with sound. He pressed the replay button on that thingy he was holding to check if the dialogue was clear enough since the talents were wearing microphones. That was an initiative. 

It's A Wrap

I felt happy and sad at the same time when I heard the director said 'it's a wrap'. Group B was the bullet train, followed by group A. Han Loong and I were there with Gogu when he delivered his 'It's a wrap' speech. 

I don’t want to say it’s a wrap, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for being here for this film.
— Gogularaajan Rajendran

I had to quote him anyway because he almost made me cry like an abandoned infant when the shooting ended. I wasn't in time to go to see what was happening with group C but over the phone, I heard TK–our workshop production manager–said that they joined the queue too. I had chosen not to say a lot of things and I think this piece of childish writing will turn out to be a dissertation if I express myself too well. 

For all the participants, your spy still love you deeply and wish to see the best out of all of you by the end of this workshop. 

 

Pre-production: Before It Rains, Bind Around With Silk by next new wave

Author: Elise Shick

My body was exhausted; mind was unclouded. The mind forces the body clock to tick faster, the mind controls the breathing, the mind controls the emotions, the mind controls the memory, the mind controls the body, the mind controls how much can be controlled during the production day.

A 'Nasi Dagang' Expedition

Yesterday night I had this conversation with cinematography mentor Sidi and directing mentor Davy at the entrance of the hotel. We randomly brought up this idea of having 'nasi dagang'–a Kelantanese delicacy–for today's breakfast. You know why? I didn't know why Davy who spent over the first quarter of his life living in France happened to know this Kelantanese delicacy and put it in his script. So we decided to meet at 10 am at the lobby for this 'nasi dagang' expedition.

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I was once criticised by my friend saying that my inborn overwhelming optimism will one day kill me. I've been very fortunate to survive thousand times then. The 'nasi dagang' restaurant was closed. We changed to 'nasi kerabu' (another Kelantanese delicacy) restaurant. 'Nasi kerabu' restaurant did not sell 'nasi kerabu' today. The boss of the restaurant directed me to another 'nasi kandar' (Penang delicacy) place where they normally sell 'nasi kerabu'. I knew that this made total no sense. The boss of the restaurant directed me into his restaurant but they didn't really sell 'nasi kerabu'. In the end, having 'nasi kandar' instead of 'nasi dagang' marked a full stop to this expedition with Davy, Sidi, and Anocha. This is what we all didn't wish to see on the production day.

Rehearsal: Let's Re-do It Until It Is One Step Away From Perfection

Actors and actresses for each group arrived sharp at 11 o'clock at Hotel Sentral. Davy's script covered two characters: A (45 to 60 years old); B (18 to 25 years old). The combination of these two characters differed from one group to the other. Group A (Gogu, Benedict, Farries, Aishah) got Indian combination of female character A and male character B; group B (Yazeid, Xiao Rui, Jasmi, Pey Sien) Chinese combination of female character A and male character B; group C (Azim, Amanda, Boon, Ariff) Malay combination of male character A and female character B. This workshop respects gender equality and racial harmony. This explained why there was no one fighting or pulling each other's hair. I was expecting some dramas to add some spices to this and the upcoming writings but this year was too peaceful. Nonetheless, now might be too early to say this until the production day comes.

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I saw the talents of group B and C rehearsing intensely in the conference hall except for group A. The director Mr. Gogu disappear with his talents. I recalled what had happened during the three hours short film assignment. He was pressing his whole body to the wall and spread out his arms like a lizard. He definitely had the tendency to do it again so I set off to his room to look for him. It sounded like some twisted bizarre story. To my bewilderment, they were behaving well in the room. Or maybe this is just a fake image? Whichever the case, Mr. Gogu was briefing them patiently with his super soft-spoken delivery. My snores were definitely tenfold louder than his voice. Anyways, look at the talents, they were listening to him attentively. But of course, to me this image looked more like living Buddha preaching the mortals how to be the award-winning actor and actress. The rehearsal went well because the three of them communicated efficiently on a spiritual level that I would most likely fail to understand.

Fellow Producers, Are You Pre-producing Anything?

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Yesterday while I was having my own good time waiting for inspiration to come at 3 am, group B's producer Xiao Rui was sketching a labyrinth alone on this white board. My inspiration stopped like menopause so I decided to check out what she was doing. She was this kind of freak who has super OCD even though it sounded quite unconvincing judging from her drawing and handwritings. I heard someone said before that people with OCD can be good producers. I pray for that or else all these deliberations will be a waste. It's a gift from god. By the time I really got a full view of this white board, she was already somewhere outside shopping for props with her production assistant and assistant production manager. By looking at this white board I had a strong feeling that she knew her shit.

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Sincerely I would like to clarify that it was not my intention at all to juxtapose him with the above picture. For group A's producer Benedict, I couldn't really figure out what's the connotation of this still expression printed on his face for the whole afternoon. Well, it didn't really matter though. Some people couldn't express themselves well in writing, sketching, or displaying different kinds of facial expression but they have a complete manual of how to get things done buried deeply somewhere in their brain. But one thing I knew for sure was that he brought the whole art company to the conference hall. Someone said that he borrowed them from the company he's currently working in. Connection is really important. It helped us cut down a lot of expenses.

You need Your Shot List

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The three cinematographers looked very occupied. Scratching their scalps off in figuring out their shot lists. Group A's cinematographer Farries worked very closely with his director because Mr. Gogu was explaining what he wanted in the storyboard. There's another kind of person who speaks not, frowns not, yet draws a lot. The storyboard helped the director and the cinematographer a lot in visualising from which angle exactly they wanted each shot to be taken. Due to the increasing pressure too, I saw the participants devouring plate following plate of desserts. 

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Group C's cinematographer Boon was digging his head into making endless annotations that only he alone would comprehend. Hopefully he understood what he wrote in the end and the shot list wouldn't turn out to be an academic paper. Boon could be said as the chillest one amongst others. I finally saw the root of his calmness when he came to ask for my help.  He and his team's production assistant Isyraqi didn't know how to merge cells in Microsoft Excel. So this experience told me that there are always two extremes: either you stay calm for knowing nothing or you stay calm for knowing exactly everything. 'You have to pretend like you know everything even though you know nothing so that other people don't get panic', said Davy. 

What Can You Prepare For Your Post-Production? 

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I reckoned that this year's editors were all multifunctional. Group A's editor Pey Sien was translating the script from English to Chinese for the actor and actress. So this added another process to post-production: subtitling. The translation made the talents' dialogues felt more comfortable and natural because if you sensed someone with super strong oriental scent speaking English in a film that depicted everyday life, you would say 'so fake'. So Pey Sien helped a lot to avoid this ridiculous scene. Both group B and group C's editors were very calm but we all know that three of them gonna die later in the one-day post-production.  

Final Advice Before Sending Them to War

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I heard that the mentors were having good time at Cinephilia located in Zhong Shan building. The works of past years' participants were screened there. After that they went for coffee. Well, it was inevitable to bring the mentors away from the participants at the moment so that the participants would feel more relaxed. I was more than surprised to see what had happened today because I could feel the weight on participants' shoulders for the previous two years. But like I just said before, either they knew everything so well or they didn't know anything at all and came unprepared. 

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Whichever the case was, the mentors still gave them a lot of advices while criticising and questioning the participants' preparation. They had the eyes of an eagle to spot the most minuscule details and problems. The participants looked stupefied for their lack of attention on detailed matters. This was the attitude of the know-it-all warrior. So the discussion went on and on and on before and after dinner. It was especially amusing when group B's cinematographer Jasmi tried his best to defend his decisions. 'I want to use 4K', with this sentence, I foresaw a long debate. Sidi dissuaded him but he was still insisting. Jasmi had his perseverance. I'm anticipating tomorrow's war. 

Producing: Overseeing Chaos by next new wave

Author: Elise Shick

I saw my beloved roommate (producing participant) less and less. The image of our pillow talk on the first night faded out slowly. Time is running out, time is running out! After yesterday's script reading session, the participants seemed to erase the verb 'to sleep' from their repertoire of vocabularies. I felt a little bit more consoled as more and more people started to join my club. Soon, everyone in the workshop will all be in the same club, I named it 'Dark Circles Party'. 

The Day Never Turns Dark

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Yesterday's script reading session was the official launch of 24/7 daytime. Please bear in mind, this was an extremely unusual phenomena in Malaysia. Since then, sleeping had become a forbidden practice that we all understood mutually. The origin of this forbidden practice came from the participants' dilemma between challenging themselves to shoot all the scenes and taking out some of them due to time limit. We are young and ambitious but ambition and reality hates each other by nature. The atmosphere changed by degrees compared to previous three days as the participants all knew well that this was the moment to really get serious. 

Spot The Whole Picture: Producing Masterclass with Anocha Suwichakornpong

Before the workshop even began, I had this drive to consult Mr. Google who is Lady Anocha. Couldn't remember clearly  when precisely I accidentally pored over an interview with her at Locarno Film Festival that led to the research. Even though it was in written form, I was attracted by the aura seen in her responses to the interviewer Jeremy Elphick. Anocha arrived at Hotel Sentral on day one during Carlo's editing class. While I was having fun in the game designed by Carlo, I saw a spruce petite lady with smart short hair walking in the conference hall and started chattering with Mui. The wind she brought in told me that she is Anocha Suwichakornpong!

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Anocha Suwichakornpong is a Thai film producer, director, and screenwriter. So far, she has produced seven films (feature and short), directed five films, and written five films. Her films Mundane History (2009), Graceland (2006), and By The Time It Gets Dark (2016) each has a mellow and poetic voice that abolishes the distinction between space and time. They remind me of the Italian writer Italo Calvino, who has this magic to bend and blend space and time by merely putting his pen to paper. Their audacious yet conscientious exploration of space and time fills me with awe. Nonetheless, the credit doesn't only go to the director alone. Good producer is one of the key persons who decides the fate of a film.

I wanted to do my own films, I did them, and after that I wanted to help others to make their films too.
— Anocha Suwichakornpong

Producing can be the least rewarding job in filmmaking. In her producing masterclass, Anocha talked about how she first came about to be a producer. She wasn't trained to be a producer. If director is the captain of the ship, producer would be the sea. It influences how fast or slow a ship can move. But who would like to be trained to be the sea? If a ship capsizes right in the middle of the sea, people blame not the captain but the sea who creates such big waves.

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The role of the producer is not to fall into this trap.
— Anocha Suwichakornpong

By trap I mean being sucked into the chaos, and creating another possibility of chaos within chaos. That's why Anocha said that a good producer is able to see the whole picture on set and takes charge particularly when the director is oblivious to see what happens on set. Not just that, her masterclass was also about facts and figures, about monetary issue that a lot of filmmakers especially those from independent circle find themselves struggling with. Anocha showed a lot of tips, charts, and her accounting sheets with the participants to provide them an idea of how to manage the budget. I felt like I was back to my high school accounting class again, scratching my head and punching my chest just to find the correct sums in the balance sheets. 

This is the financial plan, but the is not exactly what happened in the end.
— Anocha Suwichakornpong

Strategise doesn't mean limiting possibilities but provides different approaches and alternatives to recurring or unforeseen problems. In another way, he or she is the prophet. They have to envisage what's going to happen next, how it's going to happen, and how to handle the situation. 

Take Three Shots: Cinematography Masterclass 2.0 with Sidi Saleh

Told you, every next moment in the workshop is a surprise. Sidi designed another three hours masterclass for the participants to get hands on experience like a mock production day. Gogu (directing participant) stood alone as the director on set; the other two directing participants became the actors; three editing participants as the sound man; three producing participants and three cinematography participants played their own roles. They separated themselves into three groups. Each group (one director, one producer, one cinematographer, one editor/sound man) rotated to take one shot of the scene written in Davy's script. By the end of the assignment, the three shots taken by the three groups were put together during post-production and were screened during the sharing session. Indeed, it was a chaos because nearly 30 people were gazing at the production team, not including passers-by, cats, and dogs.

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Poor editors, before they knew anything, they were assigned to be the sound man. No experienced needed. This added to parts of the chaos. They mixed up play back and record and only realised this during the post production. A road of no return. Producers wise, some were in control. Perhaps too much in control that they became the tiger on the set and almost took over the position of the overtly calm director Gogu. Yes, the guy with green shirt is him–Mr. Gogu. Not much problems with the the cinematographer except minor details they neglected in the shots. Erm...maybe neglect was a huge problem. 

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Mentors had the urge to help on set but restrained themselves like putting on straightjackets or chastity belts on their own. That wasn't the end. Their overflowing enthusiasm exploded during the sharing session. They talked relentlessly and gave the participants a galaxy of advices so that this and that will not happen on the production day. Project manager Jacky said that this was the most interesting class he had throughout these four days. If not, it was the most dramatic one. 

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We all enjoyed watching the bursting energy rising from the bottom of mentors' stomachs. It was spectacular. Editing mentor Carlo noted that this workshop is very different from others he had attended before because there was no hierarchy between the mentors and the participants. This is the feeling I've been looking for in the workshop. It will leave another kind of aftertaste. Definitely.

 

Who will be the next FLY participant? Only two will be chosen! by next new wave

Who will be the next FLY participants who will be selected from 3rd Young Filmmakers Workshop?

The selected participants of 3rd Young Filmmakers Workshop

The selected participants of 3rd Young Filmmakers Workshop

The 3rd Young Filmmakers Workshop is happening now from Aug 19-26 at Hotel Sentral, Kuala Lumpur. Selected participants will be cultivated in an intensive training covering different aspects of film production (Directing, Cinamatography, Editing, and Producing). 

By the end of the workshop, the most outstanding participants will be selected among 12 other participants to represent Malaysia at the upcoming ASEAN-Republic of Korea Film Leaders Incubator: FLY 2017 program from 20 Nov 2017 to 3 Dec 2017.

What is FLY 2017?

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ASEAN-ROK Film Leaders Incubator (FLY 2017) aims to nurture the future leaders of Asian film industry by discovering young, aspiring film talents from the 10 ASEAN countries and korea. The workshop will be organised on November 20 – December 3, 2017 (14 days) in Indonesia.

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The 2 most outstanding participants will be selected from 3rd Young Filmmakers Workshop by mentors. They will represent Malaysia for this FLY program directly. They will involve in 8-Week Online Pre-production, intensive Filmmaking Workshop and Exercise, Small-Group Mentoring Session Special Lecture, screenings with Instructors and Production of 2 short films.

Please follow the update of our page for the next FLY participant. The announcement of the finalists to FLY2017 will be held during closing ceremony at Aug 26, 2017.

#YFW3

#FinasMalaysia

The memories of FLY Alumni by next new wave

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FLY (ASEAN-ROK Film Leaders Incubator) launched in 2012, and it is an annual filmmaking workshop where young filmmakers from ASEAN and Korea make 2 shortfilms together. For the selection of Malaysian participants for the FLY workshop, Next New Wave and National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) were organised the young filmmakers workshop since 2015. Each year, 2 of the most promising participants of the workshops will be represent Malaysia for joining this FLY workshop.

Here we have Aleysha (FLY participant 2015), Mario Koo (FLY participant 2015) and Kathy Tan (FLY participant 2016). Let us know more about their journey to FLY workshop!

Hi everyone, thank you for joining us this evening! Can you all introduce yourself and tell us more about your feeling when you’re selected to FLY Workshop?

Kathy:  It's a miracle! Haha! Let me introduce myself, I was participant of FLY 2016. Before the selection, I knew that it definitely won't be me until my name was called. Oh my gawd. It was really a huge surprise to me which my impressions to others were shy, quiet or lack of confident and I never expected for being selected while there were so many participants are more eligible than me. The question of "why me?" Non-stop popping in my mind which you can only see a confuse face of me but not a happy face after the announcement. Right until the mentors gave me encouragement and motivation, I would finally accept the good news that, I'm going to FLY workshop.

Mario: Wow! I feel good too. I am Mario and I was participant from FLY 2015. FLY 2015 held in Johor last two years! It's quite fun for me!

Aleysha:  I was same batch with Mario and we both selected for FLY 2015. My very initial reaction was shock. I really didn't think I would be chosen to go. I wasn't even looking out for the announcement because I was sure someone else would have gotten it but then one day I got the call, not from the organizers but from a fellow Young Filmmakers Workshop participant and I was absolutely mind blown and then very very scared.

Yeah, it sounds like really an amazing experience to go FLY workshop! So, next question will be what is the preparation before go to FLY workshop?

Mario: Hmm. There's alot of homework allocated online that needed to be done with participants from other countries.

Kathy:  Passport? HAHAHAHA.

Mario: Yeah it's true. FLY 2016 was held in Cambodia right?

Kathy: Yes. Except if the workshop held in Malaysia. Before you go to the workshop, there will be a two weeks pre-production for you and your team mates. Just prepare to learn and have fun.

Aleysha: We had two months pre production. They introduced us through Facebook which was helpful. They gave us assignments each week to do together but that was a little hard to coordinate as we all had different work and study schedules but we managed to work around it. Then we had one week of pre production together in Johor. We shot for 3 days and edited for the rest of the week. Simply put, it was a hectic two weeks.

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Haha! I guess there's so much to learn.  Can you share us the experiences and challenges when you're working with mentors and participants from all the Southeast Asian countries?

Kathy:  We were not only having short film to produce but also some lesson time with mentors, screening session from the mentors which made our meeting kinda packed. But this is the fun part of the workshop. Our script keep on changing from pre-production until the day before shooting. In my group, we have four directors and two cinematographers. Certain directors directed certain scenes and it eventually had some conflicts between directors. However, our short film produced successfully which all of us love it. The challenge for me will be we only have limited time and location to purchase props since we were not local and not familiar with the places but in conclusion, it was really exciting and fun to me.

Mario: Cultural differences are the biggest challenges among all. People from different countries work differently and there's no right or wrong. I shall not spoil it for the participants who's joining the workshop this year, but trying to absorb everything you see and stay humble during the process will help you a lot.

Leysha: I think my biggest challenge was having to not rely on first impressions. It takes people a while to get to know each other but here we are, stuck together for the next two weeks and teamwork is the most important thing in our line of work. Another challenge was also communication but that surprised me in many ways as I became very close to another participant who could hardly speak English and at the same time some of the participants who spoke both my languages, English and Malay took longer to get my ideas but that experience taught me a lot and really made me think about South East Asia as a whole.

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Thus, any memorable moment during the FLY Workshop? What are the moments?

Mario:  My directing mentor smash the loudhailer to the ground right in front of me. That's his way to tell us he's not satisfied. Well.

Kathy: Besides from the bonding and meeting time with the members and mentors, my personal memorable experience will be during the production, our location was in a Cambodian house, me as a production designer have to set up for next scene while the other was shooting for the outdoor scene. All four of us including the producer, director and cinematographer for next scene worked together to move the furniture around and yes, we made a little accident to the location which was a "dirty little secret" among four of us and we only revealed the incident right until after the workshop. The other memorable moment will be during props purchasing, due to there was things happened to our location and all the crew were called back for meeting which cut down the time for me to buy props. The props hunting session were end, I needed to print props photos but the printer in the office could not work for it. So I asked for help from our production assistant and only two of us, we went to photo printing shop by his bike. In Cambodia, the traffic condition is quite messy compared to Malaysia, motorist can even ride on the pavement, you can imagine how I sat on the bike without a helmet along the busy street. It was a really cool experience to me.

Leysha:  My experience at FLY sometimes feel like a blurry mess because I hardly got any sleep that two weeks. I remember coming home after and sleeping for about 15 hours. But I honestly can say that I had some great moments in FLY. To be able to work so closely with people like Seng Tat and Sidi was very fruitful, I learned a lot from them and I also learned a lot from my fellow participants. They came with their own experiences and stories and the quiet moments we were able to share that are still very special to me as are they.

It makes us feel like want to join FLY now! How FLY workshop change your perspective...or maybe your life?

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Kathy: Hmmmm... It did not really change much on how I see but I learned from mentors and participants from different countries and also build up more my passion and confident on making films.

Mario: I made a lot of friends over there, whom I still keep in touch till date. Knowing people who has the same interest and passion in film industries is probably the best thing I could take away.

Aleysha: FLY really opened up my heart and thoughts to a wider storyline. If that even makes sense. But in all honesty, FLY allowed me to believe that I do have a future in film that isn't specific to race or religion or country. I still hold those things dear to me but I think FLY showed me that I can be those things anywhere, at anytime.

Last one, quote to the young filmmakers/upcoming participants to FLY workshop?

Mario: You're representing the country, so be polite and humble, always be prepared for whatever obstacles that might happen. Showcase the best of you.

Kathy: Be ready to flyyyyy.

Mario: what a short and simple quote hahaha.

Leysha:  Enjoy yourself. Be ready to not sleep for two weeks but also be ready to leave with some of the best friends you'll ever make. As young filmmakers we sometimes feel out of place or too into it so enjoy the two weeks away from anyone who knows you too well and learn something about yourself, good or bad. We're young, if we don't fuck up now, how?

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Thank you Leysha, Kathy and Mario! I believe all the young filmmakers will learn a lot through your journey to FLY Workshop! 

 

 

Cinematography: Brickfields' Love Stories On A Moving Airplane by next new wave

Author: Elise Shick

Imagine yourself sitting at the window seat on a moving train looking outside at the scenery. You probably won't realise precisely how slow or fast every second ticks because of the fast-moving images projected on your retina. This was exactly my feelings when I took a bus from Kluang to Kuala Lumpur to attend this year's Next New Wave Young Filmmakers Workshop: I lost the sense of time.

Gaze 2.0

After only 4 hours of sleep, a refreshing walk was indeed necessary. I wasn't the only sleepyhead, I had 25 somnambulists walking with me in search of sunshine. Directing mentor Davy and producing mentor Anocha (whom I will introduce in my next blog) looked energised. They wore bright red colours I wasn't sure to attract whose attention early in the morning. For safety reason perhaps so that they wouldn't get hit by crazy and reckless drivers. Editing mentor Carlo, on the other hand, went missing early in the morning. Someone told me before that editors aren't morning persons. Yes, I witnessed it today. When Stephen from technical team confiscated the participants' smartphones, we knew that Gaze 2.0 had started...

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This is the workshop mama Tan Chui Mui and the workshop baby Yuzhou (it means 'universe' in English). The 25 somnambulists followed Mui and Yuzhou's footsteps to walk around Brickfields area. This time we were all allowed to pick up and take back with us any object that seemed interesting. One of the participants brought back a tree branch. I had with me a bird's feather and a piece of blank paper picked up from the street. Disclaimer: This workshop is not an anti-environmental.

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Not sure why did we need to pick up an object, maybe it's a 'gotong-royong' to clean up the streets early in the morning. Or maybe we had to keep the object as souvenir. There must be a reason anyways. A morning walk had woken up the somnambulists. The participants looked excited and prepared to attend the cinematography masterclass.

Every Frame Has A Cost: Cinematography Masterclass with Sidi Saleh

Sidi Saleh is an Indonesian filmmaker. He first joined the industry in early 2000s as cinematographer. He also produced Blind Pig Who Wants To Fly (2008), a film directed and written by Edwin. The first moment I saw Sidi I thought we re-cycled last year's editing mentor Isazaly Isa because he looked like Zaly's doppelgänger. The only difference is that Sidi brings a tote bag with him everywhere, every time. I guess the tote bag printed 'Explorers On The Moon' consisted of his 17 years of secret in filmmaking and he was willing to share some of them during his masterclass.

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"Each frame of your film has a cost–the cost of the relationship between director and cinematographer."

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Wisdom of the day. It wasn't about monetary problem between director and cinematographer. Some people say that cinematographers are the director's eyes and that's why they work side-by-side with the directors to achieve their visions. I guess 'the cost' meant by Sidi was the compromise and sacrifice director and cinematographer both have to make in order to strike a balance. 

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Why did I say Sidi's masterclass was interactive? He sent the participants out to shoot something during his masterclass. As shown in the picture above, one of the participants was randomly asking passers-by or strangers if they could film them. I was sure the others did too. The subjects all agreed without hesitation. More than willing, so enthusiastic. This is something genuine we can find in Malaysia. I tried to film random people in other countries (better not to list them down), they either detest the camera or they detest me. But in Malaysia, people are normally quite friendly to the camera. Perhaps they still dreamed of becoming famous, or perhaps the advanced smartphones or cameras looked alien to the older generations that was why they weren't intimidated by the camera lens. 

"Cinematography is the succession of images that put together as a collective system to achieve the initial intention of making a film."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   –Sidi Saleh

The sharing session was fun but required our brains to work a bit. The good thing was that we got to exchange our views with the four mentors and received constructive feedbacks from them. Some filmmakers get lost in the middle of shooting, the same happens to some writers who get lost halfway in their writing. The most important thing here is to find back the initial purpose of their craftsmanships or else the journey of completing their works will stuck like an everlasting constipation. 

Imagination of Brickfields' Love Stories

Assignment two of day three: the participants were divided into three groups and were given three hours to make a love story took place in Brickfields. Don't listen to the workshop crew members, they keep saying that this year's participants are so relaxed and have no pressure. We had at least eight hours to make a short film in last year's workshop. This year, they had only three. This was what I meant by the title of this blog: 'Brickfields' Love Stories On A Moving Airplane'. The case is that sometimes the best of the best arrives at your most desperate time.

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Editing process was particularly back-breaking and had the participants climbing the walls. Just imagine the process from pregnancy to delivering a child abridged from nine months to three hours. I'm exaggerating here of course but we can spot in the picture the participant's desire to metamorphose into a lizard and go seek for his beloved mosquito living far in China. Life goes on and he's still a human being. He had to complete the short film anyway even if he really turned into a lizard. I wasn't sure what was the intention of the workshop programme designer behind this assignment but for sure it had its strong impacts on the participants. The participants starved and locked themselves in the room until the film was properly exported. 

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Here comes the screening and sharing session. Group A and B completed their films but handed them late to the technical team. Group C could only show us the footages because something very very bad happened when they were exporting their final edit. Looking at their expressions, I could feel this intense sadness of losing their child. Every group has their own problem. Group A didn't have time to insert subtitles; B faced the music copyright issue; C lost their final edit. Even though the sneaky participants secretly extended the time from three to four hours, they managed to come up with something in such a pressing time. They made the seemingly impossible possible. 

"Maybe some of you are very ambitious. that's why the short films come out better than expected. The objective of assignment two is to see improvement from assignment one. Good job!"

                                                                                                                                                                  –Tan Chui Mui 

This little compliment sufficed. 

No surprise, No Challenge, No Young Filmmakers Workshop

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On the other hand, Mui and the mentors were plotting something too. They re-grouped the teams by switching some roles from one group to the other. Fortunately, the participants only got to know each other for few days or else they will suffer from heart attacks and strokes. For Davy's script wise, the mentors encountered some problems too. The script was too long. Time allocated for pre-production, production, and post production was too packed. Davy suggested more time given to the participants so that they can understand the script but it was impossible to prolong the workshop since we don't have much money. So they came up with a solution: let the participants decide if they want to challenge themselves or they want to let go some scenes from the script. 

Everyday is a new challenge, isn't it? In the workshop, every next moment can be a new surprise. 

 

Directing and Editing: Improvisation and Deliberation by next new wave

Author: Elise Shick

When you think it is hard to do something, you will stop at the exact same spot until the apocalypse. This revelation came to me suddenly when I woke up this morning. I’ve decided to move on. Perhaps it was partly because I had a little pillow talk with my roommate. She was a crew member of last year’s workshop and now she’s the producing participant. She is one of my few best friends.

From Cambodia with Love: Directing Masterclass with Davy Chou

I felt revived after a good sleep. It was inevitable to feel revived this morning because I was going to attend Davy Chou’s directing masterclass–the chap I mentioned yesterday about his uncanny hairstyle. First of all, I struggled a bit to focus on his speech because of that dark hair sprang with thick waves from his forehead. This constant battle between the sense of vision and the sense of hearing finally came to an halt as the content of the masterclass grew denser and denser.

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Please forgive the quality of this photo and the following photos, at least they are honest and sincere. Davy Chou is a Cambodian-French filmmaker. This explained all about his distinctive French accent that added a finishing touch to his fluent English and meteoric talking speed. He generously shared his personal stories of how he came about to make films. Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge regime, lost films, surviving films, his grandfather, the 60 and 70s cinephilia, youth-driven revival so on…so on…

Telling a film with no images is extremely hard when almost all the films are lost.
— Davy Chou

It was during the Khmer Rouge regime that nearly 400 films met their ends. Davy’s grandpapa was a renown film producer at that time. I guess everyone has some personal stories that lead them to do or create something significant, or doing extraordinary things at extraordinary times. But like I said in the beginning of this long-winded story, if someone thinks that it is hard to do something, probably Davy too, wouldn’t be here to share with us his journey in filmmaking. The tragedy happened during Khmer Rouge regime has brought about emerging critical voices in Cambodian cinema. Does Malaysia have to wait for this day to come in order to hear a voice like that?

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His stories were so rich that they could be written into an encyclopaedia. I saw all kinds of expressions on the participants’ faces. Not sure they were concentrating, daydreaming, sleepwalking, couldn’t keep up with his speed of talking, or couldn’t understand at all what he was saying.

If I’m an audience and start to ask a question, [the film] will be an interesting story.
— Davy Chou

But it also depends on the audience if he or she has this sensibility to ask a question, isn’t it? We watched and got to openly discussed about some scenes in Golden Slumbers (2011), Cambodia 2099 (2014) and Diamond Islands (2016). His films were full of vivid colours,  dubbing, and a lot of muffling sounds as he intended to bring the artificiality in the films to the extreme. Even though the participants all looked like living zombies, they actually paid attention and were able to catch and pinpoint small details in these films during the discussion. Davy said that every filmmaker has a reason for every single shot. Perhaps we uncovered 1% of his reason:

Life always brings you surprises when you don’t know where to go.
— Davy Chou
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This was my favourite quote from him, and also it was also what I wanted to say about the title of this story ‘Improvisation and Deliberation’. Different filmmakers have different approaches. Some are too casual; they improvise for their whole lives. Others are too rigid; they worship the rules and force the whole crew to do so too. These people normally have shorter life-spans. The contradiction and negotiation between these two create a tension that gives film its profundity. Some filmmakers called it ‘the grey area’. It is this ‘grey area’ that makes the audience continue to throw doubts on a film and keep exploring this ‘question’ mentioned by Davy. After 3 hours of intense directing masterclass, the participants walked out from the room with faces full of contentment and contemplation. I guess we all took away with us a brain full of Davy’s philosophies.

I Don’t Read The Script: Editing Masterclass with Carlo Francisco Manatad

‘I don’t read the script’, said Carlo with an air of sanguine determination. What confidence! Well, indeed he has the rights to be so self-assured since he has edited 59 films so far (not counting in the films he is currently editing).

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Carlo is a Filipino filmmaker, he also directed his own films. Junilyn Has (2015)–a short film about the nightclub dancers in the country’s rural area–is one of them. We watched it yesterday night during the screening of mentors’ films. The participants were like ‘Wow…’ They were either fascinated or shaken by the obscene scenes in the film. I remember Liew Seng Tat–a Malaysian filmmaker–once said that there are two layers of interpretation in watching a film. Carlo’s film had both. A purely entertaining short film on the surface; a sad reality behind the ‘pussy show’ on the second. A juxtaposition of comedy and tragedy.

Editing fiction film opens up another whole universe
— Carlo Francisco Manatad

Carlo designed a game for the participants and the volunteers. We had to pair up into three uneven groups and put together different pictures randomly picked by Carlo to form a narrative. Not a difficult task but it was so hilarious to see different kind of stories that made weird sense.

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I bursted out laughing like a crazy nun when group two presented their story: a lego metamorphosed into fish. Our group had a story that made better sense: a guy growing up constrained by his parents (Chinese opera performers), finally set himself free by travelling around the world and ended up falling in love with a Muslim girl he met in a rock concert that took place in Medina. Maybe this is what Carlo meant, we opened another universe of chaos.

I always find myself pondering on the complicated relationship between the director and the editor. If writing a script is deliberation, editing a film totally demolishes this deliberation. Or shall I say editing a film is another deliberation that demolishes the deliberation of scriptwriting. They are an absolute negation. But whatever footage that comes into the hands of the editor, he’s the king of the world.

An editor has to be very objective and thinks critically regardless the arguments with the directors
— Carlo Francisco Manatad
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The editing class was so casual. We ended earlier before the schedule. I learned a lot today about improvisation and deliberation in filmmaking. ‘Trust your guts’, said Davy. ‘Be brave’, said Carlo. ‘Trust your first instinct before trusting your guts and courage’, said Elise.

 

A New Transition to The 3rd Next New Wave Young Filmmakers Workshop by next new wave

Author: Elise Shick

It is so difficult to start anew. The aftertaste of last year’s Next New Wave Young Filmmakers workshop still lingers on like the aftertaste of devouring a truck of durians. Those days were strikingly memorable, not just about that fancy KL Journal Hotel located right in the centre of the Golden Triangle, but more about that space connecting the right time, the right people, at the right place.

Recap The 2nd NNW Young Filmmakers Workshop

My initial motive to join last year’s workshop as a volunteer was to interview the spearhead of Next New Wave Young Filmmakers workshop–Tan Chui Mui–one of the pioneers of Malaysian New Wave cinema in the early 2000s. It was this straightforward motive that brought me the opportunity to meet young filmmakers from Malaysia and mentors from Southeast Asia.

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This small yet intimate film circle formed by seven Southeast Asian mentors–John Torres (Philippines), Pete Teo (Malaysia), Kenneth raj (Malaysia), Isazaly Isa (Malalysia), Tan Bee Thiam (Singapore), Sam Cochaputsup (Thailand), Rasiguet Sookkarn (Thailand)–along with 14 young Malaysian participants was gleaming with a strong passion for filmmaking.

When we don’t have money, we exploit our friends.
— Tan Chui Mui

I see it rather differently. No friends are willing to be exploited for no reason; people get together because they share the same vision.

Perhaps I was too attached to the memories of last year’s workshop. Perhaps this is the reason for me to join this year’s workshop: to meet new like-minded people who devote their time and energy in colouring the film scene with creativities.

Starting Anew: The 3rd NNW Young Filmmakers Workshop

Crews and volunteers wise, I still see the art of ‘re-cyling’ the same people. This is why I am still here, writing a ‘nobody-cares’ blog. Time to walk out from the past even though I still bring along with me the hope to find the same aftertaste like last year’s workshop. Does this have something to do with growing old? Perhaps old people indulge themselves in the past memories as much, as often as possible.

I walked into Hotel Sentral located in Brickfields when the sun was hanging high up there. The first nice thing I spotted was the old-school salon right opposite the hotel entrance, a baby-friendly one. In the conference hall, the crews and volunteers were at the peak of their working mode, preparing to check in the participants.

Of course they have this ice-breaking session on the very first day of workshops, even before the participants each found their favourite chair to sit on.

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Yes, the short-hair lady who was the only one faithfully wearing the first year’s NNW t-shirt is Tan Chui Mui–the mama of this workshop. The participants had a very brief chat with the other person sitting next to them. Maybe it’s more comfortable to introduce other people instead of yourself in front of the public so that you don’t sound like boasting about your own masterpieces or impressive backgrounds. If this was the case, I could see why the each participant introduced the person next to them so confidently like they knew each other since their past lives. The workshop mama Mui also introduced the crews and volunteers as well as the honourable FINAS representatives Kak Aisyha, Kak Shila, and Abang Azhary.

Gaze 1.0

The first assignment has a fancy name called Gaze 1.0. Stephen from the technical team confiscated every participant’s smartphones. This assignment was designed to let the participants feel disorientated, thus sharpen their sense touch, vision, hearing, smell but definitely not taste. No tasting. 

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I called this assignment the ‘one-hour walking and sight-seeing tour’ around Brickfields area. The participants were not allowed to talk to each other. I was following them like the tele-screen in George Orwell’s 1984. There was an increasing pressure accumulated in the air, coming from this repression of the urge to talk. Sounded like a totalitarian kind of assignment isn’t it? No smartphones, no talking with each other, just walking and observation, and a lot of sweats. But fortunately the participants were very obedient. No one was against this idea or tried to sneak in a camera. I myself on the other hand, benefited from this assignment and had a chance to explore the undiscovered and mundane places. Even the dullest thing had its own sparkling character.

Brickfields in One Minute

But that was not all. Each participant was assigned to shoot anything they thought was interesting or particularly striking in a one-minute video using their smartphones. Thunder struck, rain poured down generously. The participants bestowed their lives to make this one minute video, nailing down every possible locations. I didn’t know how they made it, but they made it at last, and submitted their assignments on time.

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These 12 videos were then screened at the sharing session, with the presence of Davy Chou–the Cambodian French renown filmmaker, and also the directing mentor of this year’s workshop. He has the hair of David Lynch that struck ordinary people with only one glance. And of course there were Q&A between Davy and the participants, since we called this ‘the sharing session’. Some participants defended their works with so much force, some succumbed to the criticisms, some laughed at each other’s work. 12 minutes, 12 videos, different perspectives, different techniques, different subjects. What I saw on the screen wasn’t so much about the mundane lives in Brickfields but different directors’ gaze trying to capture something meaningful.

Gathering of YFW Participants! by next new wave

The 3rd edition of Young Filmmakers Workshop is coming! It will be held during 19-26 August 2017 at Brickfield area, Kuala Lumpur. Before the 3rd Young Filmmakers Workshop begins, we've met some participants of previous edition of the workshop, gather them for this interview!

Can you introduce yourself and which edition of young filmmakers workshop you're from? 

Kathy: Hi I'm Kathy Tan which participated in 2nd Next New Wave Young filmmakers Workshop.

Vevainedra: Hello everyone, I'm Vevainedra Hendry, participant of 2nd Young Filmmakers Workshop.I was 21 years when I participated in the workshop.

Nathan: Oh my God! You're so young when you joined the workshop. Haha!  I'm Nathan and I'm from the 2nd batch of the Young Filmmakers Workshop too!

Mario: Wow! I am the older. I am from the 1st batch of young filmmakers workshop!

Leysha: I was part of the first ever Next New Wave workshop and was lucky enough to be chosen as one of two participants to represent Malaysia at FLY2015. The other participants to represent Malaysia at FLY2015 was Mario!

Kathy: I was participants of FLY2016 and selected during 2nd Young Filmmakers Workshop.

Next, tell me more about your role in the workshop? How was the experiences?

Leysha: My role in the workshop began as the assistant director but after our mentors felt we needed to change our story, I became the writer. Which then made me feel a little uneasy to be working so closely to a film I had written and would not be directing which prompted me to change my role to production designer which made the original production designer very happy as he wasn't too comfortable with it as well. I didn't have much of a challenge at Next New Wave and I think it was because I was very fortunate to be part of a group that was willing to both give and take. Everyone was equally interested in the story as well as their roles and that pushed me further to do my best. One of the most memorable things to happen to us was definitely the sudden change of story. We had to basically come up with a script overnight! But we did it and it was probably the most interesting brainstorming session I've ever had.

Kathy: My role was a production designer in the workshop. Before the workshop, I did not have much information about a production designer especially in short film. However, I gained a lot in the workshop and increased my interest towards being a production designer. As a production designer, I have to know the colour, wadrobe and props of the short film in order to help in storytelling. It was really fun to me. Besides that, I was also a part of scriptwriter in the workshop. This was also one of the fun part because we were given with restricted rules in scriptwriting with given dialogues. We produced several scripts until the day before shooting which my script being selected.

Nathan: I was given the role as an assistant director and I have to say it was indeed a challenge. Before coming to the workshop I made short films based on what I saw on TV but after coming for the workshop I learnt alot.

Vevainedra: I was in as Sound Designer mentee and I miss Pete Teo, my mentor.

Kathy: Yeah we miss Pete Teo too!

Vevainedra: It was challenging as we had a little time to come up with a film with restrictions but definitely memorable to work with everyone as a family and make it happen.

Mario: I was actually directing participants during the workshop. It's like a ballboy is given the chance to play a few rounds with Roger Federer. It's cool. It made me nervous, but I made a lot pf friends, learn a lot about filmmaking. All happened in one week.

That sounds interesting! I believe workshop mentors also a important key to make this happens right? Can you introduce your mentors? And how you work with them during the workshop?

Leysha: My mentors were Nandita Solomon, Aditya Assarat, Lee Chatametikool, Carlos Mendoza, and Warren Santiago. I was actually really looking forward to working with Nandita as I was and still am a huge fan of Bunohan, a film she produced but as I was production manager, I had to allow my teammate the time he needed with her. As production designer I didn't have a mentor so I tried my very best to find time to get to know each and every one of the mentors. Not so much for their knowledge of film and filmmaking but more so how they got to where they are and what their films were like back home (for the non-Malaysians). Both the workshops were an eye opening experience for me, it allowed me and insiders view into the outside world and south east Asia and I still hold many things I learned there to heart. At the same time, I think I learned just as much from my fellow participants as I did from my mentors. Obviously in different categories but just as important to me as both a filmmaker and a human being.

Vevainedra: My principle mentor there was Pete Teo! He was the best to work with as his word of wisdoms keep pushing us forward. I miss other mentors as well, they are all awesome in their own way, especially John Torres as he observe others to study about them. I hope he comes back here.

Kathy: Our mentors were mostly independent filmmakers which came from Southeast Asia such as Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. The mentors taught us a lot in production a film which involves from every departments. They gave us advises and motivations throughout the workshop and encourage us to pursue our filmmakers dream. However, I think the good thing was they only guided us for our pre-production and during production, the mentors let us to exhibit by ourselves with the advises and knowledges we gained from the pre-production. They also shared experiences of filmmaking.

Nathan: My mentor was Kenneth and he patiently explained to me and showed me how to do work like an assistant director. It was fun for me!

Mario: Cant speak for others but they taught me a lot what they taught me were similar to what beethiam taught me in school which is the core value and rules about filmmaking: film=life. And Mui made me cry because i did not do my job well hahahah but to sum up, they are very good mentors and i really appreciate Mui and Yve Von and everyone who made it happen.

So, is there any differences from what you've learnt before in school? And how is it different?

Nathan: I'm not sure if it's different as I am studying Law but I do know that what I learnt was indeed a lot and was valuable.

Leysha: It was different in the way they allowed us to go as far as we wanted to. I had studied in Sunway where they had done the same but Sunway was a private institution and no matter what, we still had to have their best interests in mind but at Next New Wave, I think everyone including Chui Mui wanted us to do bigger, better, weirder things and it was refreshing to have that one week to let my freak flag fly. Also, the resources were great, at 22, I was able to work on a film and not worry about the budget. I mean, of course I did, but it was always more out of learning the discipline rather than for fear.

Kathy: I would say yes, although I am a cinematography student. Due to only limited people and budget in my study, I did not have the chance to really focus on a certain position in film production. For example, I only realized that some job scopes are belong to that position which I did not know in my study. Besides that, in the workshop made me realized that filmmaking is a fun thing to let you explore on anything you want which during study, we can only explore within our courses.

Vevainedra: Definitely different as it shows what is real filmmaking about, and we all glad to learn about it.

Mario: It's the ideal way to learn filmmaking. You want to learn filmmaking by listening lectures from active filmmakers, going on set, practicing together with people who actually like filmmaking.

In this context, as a young filmmaker, what do you think the Malaysia Wave since past 10 years? Any challenges or how do you think our young filmmakers can make another new wave in Malaysia?

Kathy: For me, I think since our Malaysia Wave of independent cinema during past 10 years, the challenge will be not much people know and confuse about independent cinema. But to me, filmmaker workshop is always an opportunity especially for the young filmmakers to explore and bring out the passions in filmmaking.

Nathan: I feel there shouldn't be such thing as independent cinema. Because most good stories come from there and if it continues being independent, not much people will know about it and they wouldn't be able to appreciate the art of such good films. We should allow all films to be screened publicly so that the people can know that such films exist. Because most Malaysians think Malaysian films are boring and not good but we have to prove them wrong.

Vevainedra: Agree! I think it's a great effort to bring a whole society together. As a filmmaker we do face alot of challenges from our own community. But as long as we have the love on film I think we can still make another one in Malaysia despite the challenges.

Leysha: Well, It was great for young filmmakers like us to be taken seriously for a while. The mentors questioned us but were always sure to listen to our answers and they always wanted the films to be ours and I think at that point in my career, I needed that more than ever. To have the respect of your fellow peers as well as your mentors and to have the opportunity to try. A lot of young filmmakers are both burdened creatively as well as financially. We're too afraid to mess up because we don't want to waste anyone's time and money so having the avenue to just try was a real luxury.

So, what are your current project? Any exciting projects to come out?

Vevainedra: I'm currently involved in a documentary, and also in Omnibus which will be done by 7 young filmmakers together and it will be shooting in old flat apartment near Brickfield area. We are looking for funding and also support from society! Can look for more information in Next New Wave official page. Haha!

Kathy:  I'm currently graduated from university and work by project-based in a movie production team as an onsite editor. I'm planning to focus to work in art department for the future.

Nathan: My current status is that I have directed my a short film just two weeks ago and I will be starting a new one soon.

Mario: I major in Chinese at Nanyang Technological University.

Leysha: Owh, I will soon be pursuing a degree in film at the University of South Wales in Cardiff. I'm writing my first feature film and I want to write more. I haven't done short films in a while but just thinking about Next New Wave gets the juices going. Hehe

Any quotes to the up-coming 3rd Young Filmmakers Participants?

Leysha: "Try your best to mess up because you don't get opportunities to do that in the real world. Have fun and get to know each other, you'll never know where your next job is coming from and seriously open yourself up. As filmmakers we tell stories but we can't do it alone. We can but who wants to lah?"

Kathy: "If you have any ideas, just speak out. You'll might never know that you have a hidden potential. "

Nathan: I would say "Ask everything you want to know to the mentors. This is the only chance you have to ask them and don't miss it."

Vevainedra: "In whatever principle you are, always stuck in and learn about other principles. Keep asking questions to the mentors. Have fun!"

Mario: "Perhaps, uhm...try making mistakes? Because you dont get to do that out there."

Excellent! Final question: Fun Facts about your previous workshop?

Kathy: Hmmmm. First, all the best people are crazy! And, there is always surprise for you :)

Mario: I met an Indian who speaks more chinese dialeks than me. That's fun enough hahaha.

Nathan: Haha. I can easily comes out with 5 fun facts, The hotel was nice, The food was amazing, The mentors were all helpful, I had fun teammates to work with. Something not very easy to get and...  ...There's so much to learn.

Vevainedra: I better use hashtag! #2 films in 4 days, #fell in love with sound at Pete's Studio, #3 people together can even make a film, #Cinematography mentee, Sam was noisy hahaha and #didn't want go back after the workshop ended *Sob

Leysha: I got a lot! Hahaha. I made a ton of new friends from all over the world, I got to interact with local filmmakers I respected, I found a haven of like minded individuals who don't only want to make films but to also make our film industry better, I shot a short film in the freezing weather of Higashikawa, Japan and in snow! and lastly I still look forward to the moment I can work with my friends again!