When I first met Ezzam and Ghazi at The Substation for First Take: March, I knew they spelled trouble. Trouble in a sense that the ‘date’ we would have will turn out kecoh (rowdy) but fun. Meet Ezzam Rahman and Ghazi Al-Qudcy, possibly Singapore’s most provocative filmmakers.
Before meeting them, I thought they’re names sounded familiar. At the back of my head, I knew I’ve watched one of their films, but I just didn’t know the title. Then I was a given a DVD with their works – lo and behold – Ghazi was the director for Hidden Treasures! The film was one of the judges’ favourite in the 8 Minutes Muslim Youth Filmmaking Competition, but sadly was not chosen for the finals. It was a little bit awkward for me to interview another fellow competitor, but as Ghazi would say, “In this industry, you learn from each other. No one’s your competition. We’re all working for the same goal.”
Ezzam Rahman (above), 28 years old, does not have any formal training on filmmaking. Instead, he holds a Diploma in Fine Arts from LaSelle College of the Arts. Trained as a scupltor, he tends to make films that questions the audience, “I don’t like messages being sent across so directly. I like a little bit of roundabouts before my audience gets what I want to say.”
Ghazi Al-Qudcy, on the other, took a longer education path to get to where he is now. Currently, the 25-year-old is an undergraduate at NTU’s Arts and Media Design Faculty. A former student at Republic Polytechnic, Ghazi began his filmmaking journey there while going through his three-year diploma course in New Media. “When you’re in a school like RP, you should make use of their facilities and equipments to make your films. You can’t say you’ve got no money cause you have the logistics,” this is one tip I will use for life. Somehow when Ghazi said that, I regret not joining Film Society back in MJC. Imagine the equipments I can exploit… (evil laughter).
Anyways, some of their works include Demam Jantan (part of the All for a Guy series), Hidden Treasures, Blk 46, just to name a few. The duo has been hailed by local filmmakers like Tan Pin Pin and Royston Tan as The Next Big Thing in the local film industry because of their numerous works in various film festivals here. Amongst the film festivals that Ezzam and Ghazi have participated in are Fly by Night and the Panasonic Digital Film Fiesta. “We joined these competitions just because we needed money, seriously. We were lusting after the cash prize just so we can pay off our phone bills and go karaoke,” said Ghazi lightheartedly.
Nevertheless, the mini film competitions they participated in were the ones that shot them to fame. Their first short film, Demam Jantan, was the judges’ favourite in the first Fly by Night despite not winning any awards. The short was chosen to represent Singapore at various international film festivals like Thailand’s 3rd First Frame Festival and Indonesia’s 4th Q! Film Festival. Although both are accidental filmmakers, the duo has made over 25 short films in five years. Now we’re all asking them, how about a feature film?!
Ezzam said, “Short films are like sketches for your actual painting. So just wait for us, ya?”