Seeing Eye Films out to fund brave filmmakers
Writer: Naseem Randhawa
The people involved in the Seeing Eye Films and We Are KIX jointly produced short film, "LALU" (Photo: All is Amazing).
Every one of us while daydreaming has at some point of our lives gone, "Oh, this idea will make a great movie!".
If you're one of those, but with a burning desire to actually make a film, then don't let the lack of funding bring you down as Seeing Eye Films is starting something fresh in the local film industry.
Founded in 2013 by business entrepreneur Bobby Wong, Seeing Eye Films began as a passion project which he says was established "in hopes of building a library of films that are compelling and unique".
However, Bobby soon realised that he could help the independent film community by making Seeing Eye Films a platform for local filmmakers, directors of photography and writers to explore their creative abilities.
The greenlight for Seeing Eye Films to fund these creatives comes with very simple requirements; be creative, brave and courageous.
Stuff that we as audiences don't typically see at the cinema would earn you bonus points.
Push creative boundaries, and pick a theme that's able to evoke emotions and ignite inspiration.
There is also no need to worry about censorship, as all their short films are made for online distribution.
Basically, in layman terms, just have the balls to accomplish what the message behind your ideas; controversial or not; really stand for.
As Seeing Eye Films is currently funding and only interested in short films, the budget say, for a 15-minute film could be funded anywhere between RM20,000 to RM30,000 which should cover the entire pre-production to post production process.
Any longer that than, and it would then come down to the justification the script provides and the powers that be at Seeing Eye Films.
Although Seeing Eye Films is also an investor for Dain Said's much anticipated film "Interchange", Bobby says that this is not what he expects from hopeful filmmakers and short films are their current modus operandi.
"We are really not that keen in full length features simply because these [films] are `for-profit' ventures."
But Bobby says that if one is to come up with a worthy short film that is good and original, then it would be considered for film festivals, just like how "Xing" made the festival rounds just like how "Xing" made the festival rounds at Busan International Film Festival, Singapore International Film Festival and Fribourg International Film Festival.
About the mind-bending "Lalu" short film
Not your typical film, "LALU".
So what kind of ideas does Seeing Eye Films look for exactly?
To get in the vein of the types of films they fund, one can check out the aforementioned "Xing" on their YouTube channel, or their more recently funded project, "LALU" which they jointly produced with We Are KIX.
The crowd at the screening of "LALU" held recently at Uppercase, Bangsar. (Photo: All is Amazing)
(L-R) The cast of "LALU", Ismail Jamaludin, Pekin Ibrahim, Deanna Ibrahim and director Ion Furjanic.
Missing in the picture is actor Iedil Putra. (Photo: All is Amazing)
Directed by Malaysian-based New York sound designer Ion Furjanic, the 8-minute stylised thriller blends together traditional and contemporary elements via depicting a connection between the Malay folk curse, Badi or Sumpah, and typical urbanised Kuala Lumpur-based characters.
When a group of road trip bound friends played by Iedil Putra, Ismail Jamaludin and Deanna Ibrahim encounter a sinister effigy-like plant on the middle of the road, things start getting frighteningly messed up for them, especially when they meet an incredibly suspicious man played by Pekin Ibrahim.
Actor Iedil Putra in a scene from "LALU".
Heard all of this before? Well OK, this might sound like your run-of-the-mill road trip horror, but it's far from it.
Shot three years ago over a period of three days at Kuala Pilah, the chaotic panic experienced by Furjanic's leading cast is captured brilliantly with the liberal use of cool aerial drone shots, extreme close-ups, and bullet time for which its marriage of effects makes "LALU" a visual effects feast with a dash of mind-bending (or that other crass word that we'd like to use here but we can't) experience.
Amidst the adrenaline fueled fast pace, there were even random flashes of images to amp the shock factor, encapsulating the same effect used in Danny Boyle's "Sunshine" or David Fincher's "Fight Club".
After all, we didn't expect anything less than flashy as this is the same dude who via We Are KIX, is responsible for the aftermovies of music events; Future Music Festival Asia and It's The Ship.
Anyway, you can watch the short film "LALU" in its entirety below.
The women series "Dark Triptych" is next
A scene from the first of the "Dark Triptych" series, "Savages".
Next on Seeing Eye Films' slate is a series of three short films on women aptly named the "Dark Triptych".
They center on the three grave issues faced by women; trafficking and sexual exploitation, bag snatching crimes and child brides.
The first, "Savages" stars Deanna Ibrahim, Syafie Naswip, Bront Palarae, Sharifah Amani and Pekin Ibrahim, and will be out on 1 July 2016.
"Stones of Justice" is directed by Audrie Yeo and is scheduled for 1st September and "Anai" is still in the works.
All of these films will be made available online on Seeing Eye Films' YouTube page.
Watch the teaser of the first film, "Savages", below.
Cinema Online, 09 June 2016