Malaysia and Singapore have a shared early cinema history. Over the last few years, there have been film production collaborations between the two countries as film funders see a common market emerging. Many mainstream feature films have seen commercial screenings of each other's films in both countries. Do we judge the success of a film from its box office collection or the international exposure and awards at prestigious film festivals? Can the success of a film contribute to the growth of a film industry?
This forum brings together filmmakers from both countries to look at past successes, and how they are continuing to project Malaysia's and Singapore's identity through cinema, as well as creating a market internationally. The panelists will share their individual strategies as well as plans for the future in terms of the kinds of narratives that will appeal to a global audience, in the hope that it will serve as a guide for the next generation of Malaysian and Singaporean filmmakers.
Moderator – Sherman Ong
Sherman is a filmmaker, photographer, and visual artist. His practice has always centered on the human condition and our relationships with others within the larger milieu.
Winner of the Prudential Eye Awards 2015 for Photography and the ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu Photography Award 2010, Sherman has premiered works in Art Biennales, major Film Festivals and Museums around the world, including the Venice, Singapore, Yin Chuan, Jakarta Biennales, Fukuoka and Asia Pacific Triennale, Mori Art Museum Tokyo, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, The Tate Modern, Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin, Musee du Quai Branly Paris, Centre Pompidou Paris, Institute of Contemporary Arts London, Noorderlicht Photo Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival, VideoBrasil Contemporary Art Festival, Singapore Art Museum, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Queensland Art Gallery, South Australia Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius Contemporary Art Centre, Lithuania and MART Museum of Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, Italy.
He is a founding member of 13 Little Pictures, a film collective based in Singapore, and the Singapore International Photography Festival. He is also an arts educator at schools and universities and was an Associate Artist of the Substation.
He was invited to participate in the Singapore Pavilion in the Venice Biennale (2009) which garnered a Special Mention. He is nominated for the APB-Singapore Art Museum Signature Art Prize 2011 and was one of the 30 Finalists of the Sovereign Asian Art Award 2016. His works are in the collections of the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Singapore Art Museum and the Seoul Art Centre Korea.
He was part of SUNSHOWER: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia (1980s to Now) co-organsied by the National Art Center, Tokyo, the Mori Art Museum, and the Japan Foundation Asia Center in Tokyo, Japan.
Mamat Khalid (Director)
Mamat Khalid is a highly respected film director and screenwriter. Some of his works include Puteri Gunung Ledang (2004), Man Laksa (2006), Zombi Kampung Pisang (2007), Hantu Kak Limah Balik (2010), Zombi Kilang Biskut (2014) and many more. He is an avid fan of rock music which inspired him to write and direct Rock, Rock Oo and Rock Bro!
AWARDS: Best Director, Pinang Durian (Panca Delima Award, 1999) Best Screenplay, Puteri Gunung Ledang (18th Malaysian Film Festival, 2005) Best Director, Kala Malam Bulan Mengambang (21stMalaysian).
Tengku Iesta Tengku Alaudin (Executive Producer)
An accountant turned film producer, Tengku Iesta has years of hands-on experience across various industries in his career as a banker, before being part of the Media Prima family in 2005. Joining Media Prima as a manager in Corporate Finance, Iesta assisted in the major acquisition projects of the time, which included ntv7, TV9, Hot FM and Fly FM. At the same time, he was entrusted as the Financial Controller of Grand Brilliance (now known as Primeworks Studios) to help turnaround its operations. With Grand Brilliance (GB), not only did Iesta introduce new budgeting and projection systems adopted internally and by the film industry today, but a new brand called Lightbulb Pictures under GB was also launched to focus on alternative film genres and as a platform to develop new and out-of-the-box directing, writing and acting talent
They have only been sweet so far with GB not only producing or co-producing massive box office film hits such as Bohsia 2 Jalan Kembali, KL Gangster 2, Rock Oo! and Ah Boys to Men 1 & 2 but also award-winning films such as Songlap, Kil, Sembunyi: Amukan Azazil, Penanggal & Istanbul Aku Datang amongst others! In 2014, GB created history by sweeping all Top 5 nominations for Best Film in 26th Festival Film Malaysia and Gila Baby won all awards at Anugerah Lawak Warna 2015. Girlfriend Kontrak, Love Supermoon, and Rembat are also nominated in 28th Malaysian Film Festival for several categories for this year. Other upcoming GB films are Kau Takdirku, Lebuhraya ke Neraka, Tujuh, J Revolusi and Pulang.
Saw Teong Hin (Director)
Award-winning producer-director, Saw Teong Hin, works across platforms from films and television to commercial and theatre. Teong Hin directed the much celebrated Puteri Gunung Ledang (2004), the first ever Malaysian film invited to the prestigious Venice International Film Festival, as well as the first ever Malaysian film to be long-listed for the Academy Awards Foreign Language Film category. With a career spanning more than twenty years in production, advertising and post-production, he set up Real Films to produce works of commercial-minded films of discernible quality with social and cultural relevance. Real Films in collaboration with Astro Shaw co-produced Hoore! Hoore! (2012), a musical film featuring Sudirman songs. Teong Hin's production house had also provided production support for Ang Lee's film Lust, Caution which was shot in Ipoh and Penang. For his involvement in theatre, Real Films co-produced Hai Ki Xin Lor a.k.a.You Mean The World To Me, a Penang Hokkien play for George Town Festival 2014. Teong Hin also co-wrote the book for Puteri Gunung Ledang – The Musical, directed the seminal 3-actor presentation of the famous monologue, Emily Of Emerald Hill, a dance drama based on the legend of Hang Tuah,Silat, and most recently the musical theatre Chow Kit Road! Chow Kit Road!. Teong Hin's television credits include Inikah Cinta? And Tangkal Besi.
SD Puvanendran (Director)
SD Puvanendran is a young aspiring director and screenwriter. His directorial debut was Maravan (2015) which has won several awards at Malaysian Indian Cine Awards (MICA 2016) including Best Director, Best Screenwriter & Best Film. The film was also nominated for Best Film, Best Screenplay & Best Film categories at the 28th Malaysian Film Festival (FFM-28).
Apart from the domestic recognitions, the film also garnered several international recognitions including winning the Best Country Award at the International Open Film Festival, New York (2016) and Semi Finalist at The Phoenix Film Festival, Melbourne (2016)
His second directorial titled Aasaan (2017), being the first Malaysian film to touch on the subject of Mathematical Investigation and Corruptive Building Constructions which revolves around a father & daughter relationship.
Yeo Siew Hua (Director)
Yeo Siew Hua is a filmmaker from Singapore and a member of the 13 Little Pictures film collective. He is an alumni of Talents Tokyo 2015, the Southeast Asian Fiction Film Lab 2016 (SEAFIC), and NETPAC's Asia Pacific Screen Lab 2017, where he developed his feature thriller, A LAND IMAGINED (2018). The film is the first ever Singapore-French-Dutch co-production and will premiere at the main competition of Locarno Festival's Concorso Internazionale. Yeo graduated from the National University of Singapore in Philosophy.
M Raihan Halim (Writer/ Director)
Often calling himself a "part-time scriptwriter, fulltime storyteller", M. Raihan Halim's career in television began after winning two Golden Pen Awards at the MDA: National Scriptwriting Competition in the years 2005 and 2007. He's the only local writer/director whose television works transcends cultural lines and are featured in all four main channels in the country.
Best known for his award-winning television dramas, his telemovies Yazid Wears Diapers garnered the Best Special Drama award in a local television award show and Big Time In Little Street was nominated in 2010 Asian Television Awards. In 2011 alone, he wrote, produced and directed three critically-acclaimed hit series for Suria and okto.
Pushing the boundaries of storytelling, his television work, Firasat (2014) and SR115 (2017) sought to engage television audiences through multiple platforms for an immersive narrative experience.
With years of knowledge and experience in television under his belt, Raihan embarked on his feature film project, Banting in 2014. Written, produced, and directed by Raihan, Banting's commercial release in Singapore theatres was met with overwhelming response. The film was also screened at the 34th Hawaii International Film Festival.
Now in production for his next film, Ibu, Raihan looks forward to creating content for the worldwide audience.
S.S.Vikneshwaran (Writer/ Director)
Packing in 14 years of solid Media Experience in a wide range of platforms which include Television, Stage, Social Media and many more, S.S.Vikneshwaran has done it all. From conceptualising to post-production and even composing and creating songs, he has done it. And there's no stopping him.
S.S.Vikneshwaran, 37, (S.S.V.) has created, written, produced, directed and edited several TV Programmes of diverse genres for Singapore Television and has become a household brand with local production houses, the TV Channels and even some viewers, who have become fans of his creative works. Some of his works have won prestigious awards and some have gotten nominations for the Asian Television Awards.
Apart from mastering the art of delivering quality and entertaining small screen contents of various genres, S.S.V. has also executive produced and distributed 2 Malaysian Tamil Films, "EN VEETTU THOTTATHIL" & "SUGHAMAAI SUBBULAKSHMI"which has won international accolades in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Norway. He has also co-written and directed a Tamil Feature Film in Malaysia, "ATCHAM THAVIR", which was released in JULY 2018 and went on to become a favourite at the Malaysian Box Office, staying at the top charts for 3 consecutive weeks! The song that he wrote the film is also at the NO.1 spot on the RAAGA TOP 10 for several weeks now! Moreover, he has also directed an iconic Stage Play for the prestigious Kala Utsav 2015 (Annual Indian Arts Festival at the Esplanade, Singapore), which went on to become a super-hit with sell-out shows during its full run. Besides these, his Voice is also very popular in the local media circle. He has voiced numerous TV Programmes, Commercials and even Radio Ads.
S.S.Vikneshwaran's style of crafting contents for entertainment always has elements of commercialism, technical class and an innovative approach.