KOTA KINABALU, July 17 — The growth of the Sabah film industry hinges on four aspects, namely educating the audience, corporate sponsorships, improving the standard of production and support from government agencies.
Actor, filmmaker and musician, Yu Tian Long, said the development of the Sabah film industry depended on whether locals are willing to purchase tickets in support of local productions.
Tian Long said “Craze Below the Wind”, a local movie he starred in, had received a lot of support from Sabahans.
“However, there are certain people who do not watch local products because they perceive Sabahan films to be subpar,” he said in an interview together with local filmmakers Katak Chua Soon Ming and Chester Pang, and Craze Below the Wind actors Carol Tang and Charles Wong.
He said the success of the film industry also relies on sponsorships, as in whether businesses were willing to support the productions.
Government agencies also play an important role, he said, in assisting filmmakers through grants and helping them by organizing relevant seminars.
In addition, Tian Long said filmmakers and actors have to be committed to their work and always strive to improve.
“If we do our job well, merchants and the audience will be more inclined to open their hearts to watch our hard work.
Craze Below the Wind was screened in City Cineplex, Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) and TGV Cinemas from May 26 to June 29. The movie raked in more than RM200,000 at the box office in the first week.
Chua, who directed the movie, said he had not expected the good reception and overwhelming positive reviews for Craze Below the Wind.
“I don’t think anyone has watched a movie with such high entertainment value coming from Sabah.”
He said the movie did not only showcase Sabah’s unique culture and stimulate travel to the Land Below the Wind, but also served to promote local tourism to Chinese tourists when China reopened its borders.
The first movie Chua directed was The Verge, which was a collaboration with iQiyi in 2016, followed by Beautiful Life in 2017. Craze Below the Wind was his first movie that made it to the big screen.
This year, he will be directing a Chinese comedy movie entitled 8 Ringgit Millionaire with a budget up to RM2 million, and possibly Craze Below the Wind 2 after that.
“There are a lot of attractive places that we could explore in the sequel, such as Keningau, Beaufort and Tawau.” Chua said many investors and sponsors have reached out to him after the screening of Craze Below the Wind to offer greater support for the sequel.
“Indeed, producing a movie is only possible with funding.” He said the movie also encouraged photographers and videographers to venture into the film industry.
While Craze Below the Wind was well-received in Sabah, the movie’s producer Chester Pang said marketing and promotional efforts could be improved to reach a wider audience.
He admitted the lack of promotion in the West Malaysian market due to the pandemic.
“We need to work harder in the next movie.”
He also emphasised the need to connect filmmakers to cinema operators, adding that local producers should also get involved in as many productions as possible to boost to enhance their knowledge and experience in the industry.
“The government through the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) could create opportunities for local filmmakers by bringing them to Europe or other countries to broaden their network,” he said. — Borneo Post