SMFS: Purnama 2 Day I Screenings

So Purnama is baaaaaccckkkkk!!!!!

The Singapore Malay Film Society (SMFS) had its annual short-film festival last Thursday, and Purnama 2 is set to be even better than last year’s Purnama! This year, SMFS is holding a three-day screening to showcase talents from our Malay community on 8, 12 and 17 October 2009. Here are some snippets of the first screening held last Thursday at the Substation.

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Pretty Purnama 2 programme booklets!

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Posing/Cam-whoring while briefing.

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Pretty, right? Done by yours truly, sponsored by Linda!

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Audience! Spot Sarah, Nani and Izzati!

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The QnA Session led by our curator, Ghazi Al-Qudcy. Catch Ghazi’s directorial debut on Suria’s Sewa on Monday Nights and 9.30pm.

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Filmmakers, actors and funnymen. Second from the right, Hafiz Huzaifah, the director of Stress Management. A funny Mat instructional film that led me questioning the Mat culture.

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Crew!!

I’ll leave you all begging for more, so in the mean time, come down to the Substation today at 7.30pm for the round two of the screenings!

Tickets for the finals cum awards screening on 17 October 2009, 1930 hrs, can be purchased at the Substation today, or reserved via email to shamsydar@smfs.sg or roslinda@smfs.sg.

Hope to see you there!

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SMFS: KL Trippin’ with the Oldies

Do not be fooled by the title of this post. When I say ‘oldies’, I meant veterans, not the old young people I went with. Last month, a few of us from the Singapore Malay Film Society (SMFS) went on a road trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Our main objective of crossing the Causeway for the weekend was to meet up with the veterans of Studio Jalan Ampas – Dato’ Aziz Sattar and Tan Sri Jins Shamsudin – to find out the 5Ws and 1H of working with the greatest Malay entertainer ever, the late Tan Sri P. Ramlee. We also wanted to know how it was like being in the Singapore film industry in its heyday.

Now I know many of you are mourning over the death of Michael Jackson. I am sad too, but even sadder that I did not get to live in the era P.Ramlee’s music. It seems that talented people leave the world even before they are done with their dream.

Oh well, the good die young, aye?

Anyways, on the first day, the five of us caught up with Anwardi Jamil, and his producer friend, Tom Ali, at Lotus, a 1-mintute walk from our PNB Darby Park Aparment. We talked about the film industry in Malaysia and Singapore, as well as how we can further improve the linkage between the two countries’ film industry. It’s not everyday that you get to meet industry insiders who have done large scale production for television and the big screen – well, at least for me. Since I was with the abang-abang of SMFS, they were not as jakun as I was. Or perhaps they were hiding the jakunness inside.

After lunch with Anwardi Jamil and Tom Ali, we headed back to our apartment for our midday prayers. Anwardi Jamil met us again and drove us to Finas (Perbadanan Kemajuan Filem Nasional Malaysia), the equivelent of Singapore Film Commision (SFC). Over at Finas, we explored the grounds and talked to a few people we met along the way.

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Isnor (Founder) and Suffian (Co-Founder) pointing at P. Ramlee and Jins Shamsudin’s identity cards

One of them is Isazaly Isa, an Apple Certified Trainer who conducts workshops at Finas. He is also an editor by profession. Surprise surprise, this young man is a Singaporean! Perhaps the most significant of his works is for Harman Hassan’s Road to Mecca (2008) as an Executive Producer. Read Isazaly’ Isa’s techie blog here.

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Isazaly Isa showing us around the Soundmix Studio

Bumping into Isazaly at Finas was a blessing. Why do you ask? Because we got a guided tour around the new Dolby Digital Soundmix Studio in Finas! Now for you filmmaking noobs newbies, this is where you the post-production for audio is done! There’s a foley studio – a studio where you get the sound effects done. I really cannnot say what I saw in words because…

I WAS TOO JAKUN AND I HAVE NO IDEA OF HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS!

So I’m a newbie like you too. Bak kata pepatah Tok Isnor kiter, biar pandai, jangan pandai-pandai  (don’t act clever). So I shall leave you guys, my beloved readers, to google ‘foley studio’ and let Wikipedia do the talking, aight?

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FINAS Foley Studio – Art trying to do something

We proceeded back to our apartment to rest and wash up since Anwardi Jamil decided to bring us out for a night of fun after dinner. Being the only girl of the entourage, I was scared for my life was hoping for entertainment that I could enjoy too. And I did enjoy myself!

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All of us with Hasnul and his friend.

We met up with Hasnul Rahmat, another Singaporean who shifted over to the other side of the Causeway to pursue their love for the arts. Since its an open secret, I’ll tell you anyways. I’ve had a crush on this fella since forever, so naturally, I was super excited to meet Hasnul. Thankfully, I’m not one of those who cry and faint upon seeing their celebrity crushes.

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Hasnul and myself

We talked about film, history and film history. It was certainly an eye opener, having a conversation with Hasnul. I may have gotten the rejection letter by NTU Communication Studies, curse you dean of admissions! but I realised I can still do films even as I’m doing History! Pfft! Who needs a degree to do films?

So the night ended early cause we were scheduled to meet Tan Sri Jins Shamsudin at 10am the next morning. I was scared, excited, nervous – feelings all jumbled up together. And thanks to Isnor, who said it was already 9.45am when I woke up at 8am and asked for the time.

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One of the many old film cameras at Tan Sri Jins Shamsudin’s office

We talked for an hour and a half before exploring his storerooms where he had props from old movies, some of them include the old film camera above, as well as props from the movie Ali Setan. It was fun listening to his stories, it felt like listening to a grandfather telling stories of the war.

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Group photo!

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Tan Sri Jins Shamsudin and myself

The same afternoon, we headed back to our apartment cause we scheduled with Dato’ Aziz Sattar  to meet us there. We thought it be good to have the meeting away from the public eyes, but Dato’ thought otherwise. He wanted to eat thosai from Lotus, the 24 hour coffee shop near our apartment, so we headed there instead. The old man told us jokes, some of which reminded me of the Bujang Lapok series he acted with P. Ramlee and S. Shamsudin. A wonderful character to talk to, Dato’ Aziz Sattar is.

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Dato’ Aziz Sattar and his wife

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Group photo again!

So the remnants of our trip was shopping and Carl’s Junior. I totally forgot to eat Subway. Nonetheless, it was a good meal. And of course, we dropped by Pustaka Peringatan P. Ramlee before departure off at Pasar Rakyat. Oh and this was P. Ramlee’s house, by the way.

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Last stop: Pustaka Peringatan P. Ramlee

That’s all from us at the Singapore Malay Film Society! Till we meet on a new adventure again, aye?

First Take: March Edition

1932

Synopsis:

A forgotten station: a social condition. Once grand, the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station now fades away in the eyes of Singaporean society. But it remains significant to a ‘community’ of diverse individuals, linked by a common fact that their life stories would each be incomplete without the existence of the Station, and also by their shared desire to preserve their own ways of life in this shared space between Singapore and Malaysia. Platform 1932 is a visual journey that unravels the issues of time and progression, pride and acceptance, modernization and legacy through the medley of individual stories. These interwoven memories tell how the station has managed to survive modernization, and more critically, continue to play an understated role in the relationship between two countries.

The SMFS team of journalists managed to attend our monthly dose of local films earlier in March, with First Takes at The Substation. Last month, we had the honour of having two short films directed by our fellow Malay filmmakers screened – Uncleboy by Jannah Monjiat and Platform 1932 by Nawwar Syahirah.

Elrica Tanu (left) and Nawwar Syahirah (right), the scriptwriter and the director respectively.

Elrica Tanu (left) and Nawwar Syahirah (right), the scriptwriter and the director respectively.

Watching Platform 1932, one can definitely say it brings back memories, be it good or bad ones. The nostalgic feel to the 24-minute documentary is one of the factors that makes it a must-watch for all. “Nostalgia was one of elements I wanted to include in Platform 1932 because I use to take the train from the Tanjong Pagar station to balik kampung (go back to the village).” As an audience, I could definitely sense the love Nawwar had for this station.

Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

Being one of the many Singaporeans who are ignorant of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, I was intrigued by the many sights and sounds of the old dame that were captured by the documentary. The only part of the train station that I used to frequent with my dad was the food stalls. Considering that the food at the old dame is one of the reasons patrons frequent the railway station, a few of the audience at The Substation asked Nawwar why the hawker stalls are not the main focus of her documenary. “I wanted to shift the focus of the station. The food there is already popular, why focus on the food when the essence of the station is its people and the train itself?”

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Another reason Platform 1932 stands out from other documentaries is the portrayal of the people who make the station come alive as well as the extensive research done. Among my favourite interviewees are the KTM Fan Club boys, Haziq and Saiful. These young men find it interesting to explore the tracks and the railway as the antique technology gives them a breath of fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Seriously though, I never knew the existence of the KTM Fan Club in Singapore! I thought it was merely a Facebook group that wants to relive nostalgia, but they truly have their own website.

KTM Fans: Haziq and Saiful

KTM Fans: Haziq and Saiful

Hearing stories from the railway operators opened my eyes further. The ‘old-schoolness’ of the way things are operated changed my perspective on the evolution of technology. While Singaporeans are unhappy with the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and its lack of space, others are pretty much with the KTM train. Sure, the MRT is fast and practical for a small country like Singapore, but we need to understand why bigger countries like our neighbour uses the train. It may be slow, but the comfort is far from the packed bullet train where even seats are limited.

After watching Platform 1932, I question my ability to make documentaries. It may look easy, but the road gets tough along the way. When asked what was the hardest part of producing Platform 1932, Nawwar said, “Extensive research takes a good amount of time and the audio-visual script will always change along the way.” Looks like I have a long way to go, eh?

Catch the next First Take: April Edition here.

Platform 1932 was Nawwar’s final-year project for NTU’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication.

Photos credit to Nawwar Syahirah.