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!