8 Apr – Oscar-winning art director Roger Christian revealed that he has begun research to shoot a film on Sabahan grounds. The man behind the "Star Wars" visual masterpiece will make a movie in Sabah about the death of a thousand British and Australian soldiers during the "Sandakan Death March" during World War 2.
"One of those I talked to was a woman by the name of Domina who told me many stories about the war," Christian explained his interest in making the film.
He said his research included watching documentaries made about the Death March, where the occupying Japanese army forced thousands of emaciated prisoners of war to walk for 140km from Sandakan to Ranau. He also spent his time talking to the Kadazandusun community, who had witnessed the march and helped the prisoners.
"This film will boost our efforts to promote our state tremendously," says Tourism Minister Datuk Affendi Hamdan, "We have very few filmmakers who would fully film something in Sabah, perhaps because of the lack of facilities. With Christian's project, it could be a great source of encouragement for aspiring Malaysian filmmakers to embark on similar ventures."
Roger Christian is best known for directing "Battlefield Earth", a 2000 American dystopian science fiction action film starring John Travolta and Forest Whitaker. The director has already been in Sabah for three months and will begin to shoot the RM 15.2 mil movie in October.