Local directors heap praise on blockbuster 2018, believe there’s more room for growth

Mamat’s ‘Hantu Kak Limah’ was Malaysia’s highest grossing local film of all time before Munafik 2 surpassed it a month later. — Picture from Facebook/Mamat Khalid
Mamat’s ‘Hantu Kak Limah’ was Malaysia’s highest grossing local film of all time before Munafik 2 surpassed it a month later. — Picture from Facebook/Mamat Khalid

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PETALING JAYA, Dec 31 — Local film directors Mamat Khalid and Osman Ali praised a stellar year for Malaysia’s local film industry after a successful 2018.

Local movies raked in about RM111 million between January and November compared to only RM57 million the previous year, according to English daily New Straits Times.

Mamat described the numbers as something meaningful to him because it signifies that Malaysians want to watch more local films.

“It’s been quite a year for me and the movie industry. The year 2018 saw our local films getting a warmer reception from the audiences.

“Overall it gives a more positive outlook for us filmmakers to do better movies,” the 55-year-old told Malay Mail

Mamat himself could have not wished for a better year as his comedy-horror flick Hantu Kak Limah became the highest grossing local film of all time in August — achieving RM36.23 million during its showtime and breaking the previous record set by Abang Long Fadil 2 (RM18.15 million) by twice the amount.

Although Syamsul Yusof’s Munafik 2 passed the mark with RM37.72 million, Mamat said the level of competition is tight and it will only inspire them to make better movies next year.

“My hope is for the audience to continue having faith in the local films because your support is what keeps us going and striving harder to deliver exceptional movies,” the Ipoh-based director said.

Hantu Kak Limah was Mamat’s only film of the year but he has two in store for 2019 with Rock 4 and Manap Karaoke.

“The amount of success I had with Hantu Kak Limah was such a surprise to me and I’m excited to see how the moviegoers will react to these two movies.”

When asked to describe how much the industry has changed over the past five years, Mamat said, “The last five years have seen a change in the narrative structure and the visual style in local movies. Locally-produced action movies now show amazing motion and shots to match the intensity of a scene.

“Local movies have also tapped into raw realism of the everyday, Malaysian life, albeit more drawn to the darker side of reality that was once taboo such as prostitution, drugs and murder.”

Osman believes the local film industry can continue to bloom in 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Osman believes the local film industry can continue to bloom in 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Director Osman Ali shared a similar sentiment, saying that 2018 is proof that the local film industry can grow.

“The year for the local film industry seems good in terms of collections. Some movies performed extremely well while some did not make it at all.

“Overall, it shows a very good potential for the industry to grow and I hope more movies get better collection too,” the Langkawi-born said.

Osman has only one hope for the industry in 2019: “To have more movies which could represent Malaysia at International Film Festivals.”

The Langsuir director has no movies slated for the next 12 months but promised fans to expect more of him soon.

“I’m still in the writing stage for now.”
 

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