4 Nov – Award-winning Malaysian director Zuhir bin Hj Saari, or more popularly known as U-Wei, is finally releasing his long-awaited movie, "Hanyut" in Malaysia, but not before the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS) funds the promotional activities for it.
However, the movie will first be making its way to neighbouring country, Indonesia. According to Malaysian Digest, U-Wei will not be releasing the movie in Malaysia as long as he is not given the RM2 million fund needed to properly promote it.
"Hanyut" is a movie adaptation of Joseph Conrad's novel "Almayer's Folly". Set in the 19th century, the story follows a Dutch trader named Almayer, struggling to survive in Malaysia. U-Wei gained international fame with the project, but it has been four years since the project first started and his fans have yet to see the movie at the local cinemas.
When news of the movie's release via 100 cinema screens in Indonesia recently broke, the director was accused of being unpatriotic for not screening it in his own home country first. The movie was even renamed to "Gunung Emas Almayer" to appeal to Indonesian audiences.
"The renaming is only for promotional purposes," explained the director, adding that the profit collected from the Indonesian screenings will then be used to promote it in Malaysia next.
The movie was produced using the accumulation of a RM10 million loan from Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), a RM6 million grant from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, and a RM2 million investment from FINAS.
U-Wei is currently awaiting a further RM2 million from FINAS, stating the highest grossing local movie "The Journey" as an example of why big funded promotion is crucial to a movie's success.
"Hanyut" stars Adi Putra, Diana Danielle, Bront Palarae, Alex Komang, Khalid Salleh, Sofea Jane and more.
[Main photo source: dailyseni.com]