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!