Wednesday, December 6

Production house seeks international collaboration

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KUCHING: Sarawak’s first independent film production house, BFG Media and Entertainment Production Sdn Bhd, is seeking international collaboration with upcoming indie filmmakers from the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, India and Australia.

In a statement yesterday, executive producer Benny Zachariah said international cooperation is needed as networking could benefit both parties in the long run.

“We cannot confine ourselves to the local environment all the time. Sometimes, we have to think outside the box, come out of the comfort zone to the world of opportunities.

“That is what the Internet can do for us – connect to other people who may happen to have the same interests as us,” said the 37-year-old.

All film makers can network with their counterparts in other countries through Facebook, he said, regardless of whether they are amateurs or represent a big organisation.

“Take for example the benefits which British-based filmmakers have reaped. I have information which states that UK filmmakers have signed film co-production treaties with Canada, France, Australia, New Zealand, India, Jamaica and South Africa through a networking process.

“Over the last seven years, 480 co-production films have been made, including over 120 majority UK co-productions, with an average UK expenditure of 36 per cent – worth over 1.4 billion pounds (RM6.9 billion) to the economy,” he said.

Benny, who is executive producer of the first Dayak action feature film ‘Dunya Gangster’, added that international filmmaking collaboration could also contribute to the country’s economy.

“My company BFG Media and Entertainment Production Sdn Bhd is taking initiative by proposing joint efforts with reputable indie filmmakers in other countries at the moment. One of them from the United States has stated his keen desire to fund US$25,000 (RM75,432) to co-produce a documentary on Dayak cultural adventure that involves the journey to longhouses in both Sarawak and Kalimantan. Should everything be in place, we’ll start shooting in November.”

One reputable indie film maker from the UK recently confirmed his intention to co-produce a short film to be shot entirely in Kuching and Sri Aman, he said.

“My company has been hired as production management consultant, whereby we will be responsible for locations, accommodation, meals, film equipment and transport. Now, that is the kind of benefit the international collaboration can bring.”

Co-productions with overseas counterparts, he said, could also strengthen the ability of Malaysian film producers to work independently and build up their businesses, apart from learning new techniques or skills.

“Without this co-production structure, local filmmakers like us would not have the chance to learn from overseas based filmmakers on how to produce commercial and artistic films which are both attractive to audiences and capable of being exported around the world.

“As a film maker, I have to continue to learn from the best in the industry and improve. The best training ground is to work together with international based filmmakers, regardless of their status in the industry because everyone is
different from each other and each one of them has
different approaches in script writing, directing and editing.”