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Local Film Productions Need Push to International Recognition

After four months of inactivity due to the MCO, Sharpened Word (SW) is back! The August session of SW hosted an evening (August 22) at the curated art space of Tin Alley with Dato’ Kamil Othman, advisor of Limkokwing Film Academy. 

An avid film buff, Taiping-born Kamil, who was also the former director-general of the National Film Development Corporation (FINAS), opined that the local film industry is too limited and domestically focused. 

“The problem with Malaysia’s film industry is that production companies rely too heavily on FINAS,” he lamented. 

“Firstly, there is a disconnection between film production and reception from the audience. Producers do not make films based on what the masses want but rather on what higher authorities want them to depict.

“Besides that, producers are stripped of their rights to own the film they made because they need to sell their rights to broadcasting companies for at least two years, if they want their films to make the screen. This causes them to not give their all to film productions, resulting in subpar quality of locally made films.

“Also, all creative areas in Malaysia, such as performing arts, film production, painted arts, even food and culture, are independent from each other,” Kamil mentioned. “Because of that, the art scene in Malaysia has too many rules and regulations. Each pillar has its own set of guidelines.

“That is the root of underappreciation of arts in our country. The public has a hard time being aware of all of it, not to mention the education system in Malaysia that is more geared towards science,” he further explained.

“People’s stigma towards arts has been inculcated since school days. Even most parents would discourage their children to take up arts as a major choice in education.

“When individuals are taught to give more attention towards scientific facts, they are hindered from the nature of art and what it can give. Art is as equally as important as science, but this is the harsh reality we live in today,” Kamil expressed. 

“Last but not least, we need to provide more exposure for the public towards art, its importance in eradicating the everlasting racism issue in our country and ultimately improving the quality of many creative productions, especially films,” he said.

“Hopefully, the arts are embraced more and controlled less in the future,” Kamil expressed. “Art is supposed to be a medium of freedom of expression for mankind. It’s not something to be dictated.

“The same goes for the visual arts. If we ever want to be internationally recognised for quality films, other than animated series like Upin & Ipin and BoBoiBoy, it’s to go out of the comfort zone of film direction,” he posited. “That’s the only way.”


Chris Teh

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