Labuan tycoon to shoot movie in Sabah

WINNING TEAM: Kong (left) and Lee.

NOT many movies about Sabah are being screened on the national cinema circuit.

Except for a few locally produced telemovies, screened only within the state, very few Sabahan productions have premiered in the big cinemas in the peninsula.

One of the reasons could be that movies shot in the state are few and far between.

However, this may change soon as a local philanthropist and businessman is planning to make Sabah the location for his first celluloid venture.

Peter Kong of Ferry Labuan Sdn Bhd is looking into the matter seriously as he feels it’s high time Sabah produces a movie of its own.

“I’ve always been interested in entertainment and was very much into music and bands during my youth. I enjoyed that part of my life but I have moved on,” he shared.

Kong said deep down he always has a soft spot for the arts – and now that he feels he is in a position to do it, he wants to try making movies in Sabah.

HOPEFUL: Lee’s album featuring the song Mama.

“I know this is a long process and will take time but I feel I can do it.”

His first project will kick off this year.

“I’m planning to make a movie based on a song called Mama sung by Peter Dickey Lee. For some reason, this song touches me deeply. The way I interpret this song is quite simple but I think most of us will feel its poignancy.

“This song is about a mother who gave her all to bring up her only son. She tried to raise him up the best she could, giving him proper schooling and caring for him but in the end, peer pressure and influence got to him and he got into drugs and other vices.

“In the end, he regretted his action and went home to ask for his mother’s forgiveness but it was too late – she had already passed away,” he said of the movie’s storyline.

Kong said the message of the movie to cinema-goers, especially youths, in the state is that they should appreciate the elders for giving them life and making so many sacrifices for them.

“Furthermore, they should respect the elders and past leaders for their nation-building efforts,” he added.

“A movie can have a special message but most people will interpret it their own way,” said Kong, the new owner of the Waterfront Hotel in Labuan.

He will assemble his team – crews, cameramen, directors and writers in the next few months.

After that, auditions will be conducted throughout Sabah and Labuan to recruit local acting talents.

Kong said it would be a medium-cost movie.

“We hope to release it in Malaysia initially and then explore markets like Indonesia, the Philippines, Brunei and China.

“Some people believe our local movies are not as good as theirs, especially those shown in China, but I’m sure we can surmount this with a good universal storyline,” he said, adding that since Malaysians were watching the movies produced by these people, there was no reason why they could not watch the local productions as well.

Kong is looking at a 160-minute movie, featuring Sabah’s attractive natural environment as the backdrop.

“This will ensure that the artistic values of the movie are enhanced by the beauty of Nature in this part of the country.

“Besides, the movie will showcase the culture and traditions of Sabah and promote Labuan as a tourist destination in the Southeast Asian region.

Kong hopes the movie will be completed by the end of this year and distributed and shown to its target audience by 2014.

Meanwhile, Peter Dickey Lee, when asked about the possibility of his song being used in a movie, said he felt honoured and humbled.

“I never expected my song could attract that sort of response from a well-known entrepreneur but since it did, I’m very grateful and hope the song will feature in the movie. I’m sure with this sort of exposure, the song will be heard by more people.”

The start of auditions and filming will be announced soon.

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