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.