Saturday, May 9, 2009

Starting All Over

First of all, Sell Out! is currently going through its opening weekend. Personally, and I think a lot of other people, filmmakers and cinemagoers alike, would agree, I feel that Sell Out! is a good, refreshing change for the industry and worth the support. Otherwise, I don't know how long we would have to wait before another film like this will come our way and give us an opportunity for change.

Secondly, as some might have noticed, I've removed my last blog entry. That was written in haste and in anger and heartbreak, but that doesn't mean I've changed my opinion too. I stand by what I said. It's just that I now feel perhaps there is a nicer way of dealing with this whole issue. Antagonism never solves anything anyway (well, OK, sometimes it does, when push needs to become a shove, but ...).

It's easy to lose sight of the Big Picture. And it's even easier within the routines of revenue-generation that occurs over the span of many years. Same thing with the filmmakers themselves, in the haste to get out there and be known. But if everyone could work together in an honest, sincere way, I believe great things could be achieved. But the first and foremost element that should exist is a real passion for film. And that is what's sorely missing, from the business side of film right to some filmmakers themselves, and even to the support side of things.

The amount of complaints I have heard from various people will make anyone throw in the towel. And most of these problems can easily be solved if the right people were put in the right positions - ie, people who are passionate about film. Unfortunately, this is "mutually exclusive" territory - people who love art won't care about money, and people who only want to make money don't give a hoot about art.

Yes, this is also an irony, because this is exactly the issue addressed by Sell Out!. Strange but true. This is also another reason why I love the film. What is in the film is immediately right in front of you in real life.

I admit, the night I visited the cinema a couple of days before the film's release, I experienced an incredible heartbreak at what I saw. There really wasn't any anger, but a very heavy feeling in my heart that things weren't going to change for the industry anytime soon. A feeling that all our efforts came to naught, wasted away.

Still, I came to realise that the most important thing is to not lose hope. Also to not give up the struggle. And so, I do still hope that someday, somehow, a miracle will happen that will change everything overnight.

Otherwise, let's just take one step at a time, and don't stop walking till we get there.

Peace and hope to all.

Excerpt from the last deleted entry:

All this while, I've been supporting and publicising good Malaysian films in the hope that our industry can change for the better. South Korea's mainstream cinema got a boost after Shiri smashed box-office records years ago, and look where they are today, internationally recognised for their mainstream films. Taiwan recently got its own boost with Cape No. 7, not a great film but a really entertaining, feel-good movie that drew audiences in droves.

So far, we've not had anything like that in Malaysian cinema. We had high hopes for Puteri Gunung Ledang some years ago, but that was not the Great Change we had hoped for both in box-office and artistic terms.

And now comes along a really good crowd-pleaser, and what happens? Some cinemas can't be arsed to promote it. It's no surprise, really, because the general consensus among cinema operators would be that Wolverine and Star Trek would make more money, and therefore should be given priority and more visibility.

But this is our own cinema, our own film. If we do not give it a chance now, when would be a good time? Personally, I think Sell Out! presents probably the best opportunity for a booster shot to the arm of our industry. If we miss out on this one, it will take some years before the next one will appear.

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