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Four Films from Malaysia at Northern Illinois University

Posted: 29 Jun 2013 11:35 AM PDT

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XI0jBYYowDo/ToFvhT4l_iI/AAAAAAAAFDg/z94sa-80hnc/s400/sxs-film.jpg 

Despite having hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who had the opportunity to live and study in America over the last many decades, there has never been any effort to promote bilateral relations and cultural as well as social, historical and political understanding between Malaysia and America.

 

To promote bilateral relations between Malaysia and America through the medium of the cinema.

 

The Northern Illinois University (NIU) in DeKalb, America, will be hosting for the first time, a mini-filmfest called Four Films From Malaysia by showcasing some works by Mansor Puteh which are in various genres on 24 and 25 October. A forum will be held with the title 'Malaysian Films and Hollywood' which will also discuss the four works.

 

They are: 'Seman: A Lost Hero' (Feature), 'The Seventh Child' or 'Anak Ketujuh' (Telemovie), 'The Residency Years' (Documentary" and 'Writing in the Sand...' (Documentary).

 

Despite having hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who had the opportunity to live and study in America over the last many decades, there has never been any effort to promote bilateral relations and cultural as well as social, historical and political understanding between Malaysia and America.

 

In fact, sadly, there has not even been one novel written by any of the Malaysians who had studied in America. So no one knows what the Malaysians had experienced when they were living and studying in America.


And ironically, too, there has never been any novel, anthology of poems and other works including photography, etc, written by any Malaysian who had lived and studied abroad before.

 

Worse, there has never been any feature film on their experiences living in America, the United Kingdom or anywhere in the world.


And sadly, too, there has also never been any book or feature film depicting the lives of any American Peace Corps volunteer who had lived and served in Malaysia under the Peace Corps program of the 1960s.

 

However, there is only one such effort to produce a feature film on the lives of Malaysian students living and studying abroad, and it is 'Malaysian Snow', a film which was originally set in America, but had to be moved to the United Kingdom.

 

The production of this film however, is in the balance as the former ministry of information, communication and culture or Kementerian Penerangan, Komunikasi dan Kebudayaan (KPKK) then did not see fit to support it by offering a grant.

 

They cited that there was no allocation by the government to allow Mansor to produce this film.


Yet, at the same time, KPKK had given outright grants to some other films which did not go anywhere, other than with some getting the wrong publicity. None of the films supported by KPKK had gone on to be selected by international film festivals, never mind to win international recognition.

 

Mansor may not have done that many films or documentaries, but the few have gone places.

 

'Seman' for instance was shown in many international film festivals, with the climax being the nomination for best film in the Figueira da Foz Film Festival inPortugal in 1991.

 

Paolo Bertolin of Venice International Film Festival remarked it as being 'a landmark film in Malaysian Cinema'.

 

'Writing in the Sand...on how the Jasmine Revolution of the Arab Spring of 2011 could have been avoided!' had its world premiere in the Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran, Iran in February, 2012.

 

This documentary was shown almost entirely in Yemen during the height of the Arab Spring in the country and region.

 

'The Seventh Child' was shown on Malaysian and also Indonesian television as well as a cable station in the Netherlands.

 

'The Residency Years' is a documentary produced for Finas that has already been shown on RTM. It is a documentary on Tunku Abdul Rahman and based on photos taken by Tunku's nephew/adopted son, Syed Abdullah Barakhbah who is Mansor's brother-in-law.

 

Mansor discovered Tunku's safe in the Residency that his sister Rokiah binte Puteh said had not been opened, ever, since they did not have the keys or numbers.

 

KPKK then got an expert to open it where they found 44 personal items belonging to Tunku which have now been described as a 'national treasure' as they were items that were close to him which he had collected when he was prime minister and living in the Residency.

 

Mansor also discovered the three buildings in Little Stukeley, Cambridge andLondon where Tunku had lodged when he was studying in England from 1919 to 1926 and in the 1940s.

 

Unfortunately, none of these buildings have been given heritage status by KPKK.

 

Mansor is now working on a new documentary called, 'Dancing to the beat of History…' It is on the San Pedro Cultural Group of the Portuguese Settlement founded and headed by Joe Lazaroo, with the historical background on the successful invasion of Portugal on Melaka in 1511.

 

Filming for this documentary will also be done in Indonesia, Portugal, India and Macau. It is produced for Finas.

 

* * * * * * *

 

Mansor is the only Ivy League-trained filmmaker of Malaysia, who studied for his Masters of Fine Art in Film Directing at Columbia University in New York City.

 

His former classmate, Ron Nyswaner won an Oscar nomination for best screenplay for 'Philadelphia' and his former co-chairman, Milos Forman won Oscars for best director for 'One flew over the cuckoo's nest' and 'Amadeus'.

 

It was also during his time there, when US President Barack Hussein Obama came to study for his bachelor's degree.

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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