Sunday, July 21

International independent film maker chooses Malaysia as film location

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KUALA LUMPUR: International independent film maker Dr Brad Batchelor has chosen Malaysia for its unique natural forest environment and heritage buildings for scenes in his movie, ‘Against The Wind’, to be released in 2012.

Dr Batchelor, who is chief executive officer of Flying Scotsman Production Inc, said there are various unique locations in Malaysia that are perfect for filming international movies.

“A few scenes have been shot in the historical state of Melaka and the beautiful island of Penang, a city that consists of ancient architecture,” he told Bernama.

The film takes audiences along on the journey of Alex James and World War One (WW1) flyers in the Lafayette Esquadrille who risk everything for honour and conquest during the First World War.

(Note: The Lafayette Escadrille – from the French Escadrille de Lafayette – was an escadrille – little squadron – of the French Air Service, the Aéronautique Militaire, during World War I, composed largely of American volunteer fighter pilots.)

In this film, the time period moves from around 1916 to the fight against opium traders in the 1920s to the 1930s, a time of racial abuse and murder.

“There are many attractive locations, such as Buddhist temples, mosques, wonderful beaches, tropical forests and modern cities that can be turned into terrific scenic views or make interesting establishing shots,” he said. He said there are many locations here that are similar to shooting locations in Hollywood, and the cost is very reasonable.

He urged international filmmakers to choose Malaysia as one of the top locations for filmmaking, especially with its unique natural forest environment and heritage buildings.

“I have taken the opportunity to cast new talents in Malaysia, among them some of my local friends,” he said.

The company, an independent film company located in Boone, North Carolina, United States, aims to produce high-quality movies utilising actors and crew from out of the mainstream to assist the industry in its growth and to give the actors and crew the opportunity to show their talents to the world.

“Each location possesses a unique heritage, with an interesting art which is seldom seen in other countries, and not many international filmmakers have realised the opportunity they are missing,” he said.

He was very pleased at having special permission to film tigers, very rare in the United States, at the National Zoo.

“While filming at the Templer’s Park waterfall, our team managed to film a snake that appeared unexpectedly. We were shocked at first but then felt very excited at the experience,” he said.

He added that the most unforgettable aspect of filming in Malaysia was the warm welcome of the locals.

Being an independent filmmaker producing high-quality films on a tight budget is quite challenging, he said.

“We got cooperation from the Tourism Malaysia Office in New York and the assistance of Bernama’s New York representative, who provided the information required and location contacts,” he said.

He said the cooperation given while filming has brought him back to Malaysia again and again. — Bernama