Fred Chong giving a speech during the world premiere of "Rise: Ini Kalilah"
held earlier this month.
18 Sep – While made with good intentions, local movie "Rise: Ini Kalilah" can't escape from the controversy that arises following its release in cinemas.
Instead of sowing unity as it aspired to do, the patriotic movie based on this year's GE14 has now divided audiences into two sides, which producer Fred Chong has recently expressed regrets over.
Chong stressed that the movie is not a propaganda film paid for by the current government, it is merely a movie celebrating normal citizens who were able to make a change in their country simply by voting.
"Perhaps it's because we released our film at the wrong time," said Chong. The movie opened in local cinemas on 13 September, just in time for the long weekend that includes the Malaysia Day celebration.
"The people are unhappy with the current government and direct their anger at this film. If the people refuse to watch "Rise: Ini Kalilah" just because of reasons like that, then I think that it's a huge pity."
While patriotism may run high for most this year, supporters of the old government are most likely not in the mood to fly their Jalur Gemilang high, hence the biased opinion against a movie that portrays a new Malaysia.
Most of the controversy is unfolding online, according to Chong, where those who haven't watched the movie but are already boycotting it based on its title alone are butting heads with those who have watched the movie and viewed it positively.
The former group not only has decided to not watch the movie, they also encourage others to boycott the movie. The latter, however, feels that it is neither a political nor propaganda film and they could easily relate to the characters.
"The main characters in the movie are common Malaysian citizens, but they did not falter in the face of hardships, and instead persisted forward and never gave up. In the end, they succeeded in bringing about change in the country," Chong stated.
Youth and Sports Minister YB Syed Saddiq and FINAS Director General Dato' Fauzi Ayob were among
those who supported "Rise: Ini Kalilah" during its premiere.
Chong himself did previously reveal that he decided to make this because he wanted to capture the patriotism that was displayed by those who voted on 9 May 2018, undoubtedly the most historical Election Day the country has ever gone through.
Chong and his team had approximately three months' time to produce and finalise the movie, so that it will make it to the big screen in time for Malaysia Day.
"Rise: Ini Kalilah" is screened under Malaysia' Skim Wajib Tayang but of course, this doesn't guarantee its screenings in cinemas after the two weeks mandated by the scheme are up. If malicious comments continue to prevent moviegoers from watching it, Chong is worried that the movie will be pulled from cinemas.
At the moment, the movie is showing in 88 cinemas nationwide, as well as in Brunei.
Showtimes are limited at some of the locations however, so if you haven't watched it, this is the time to show support for it before it's too late.
The movie also held its Singaporean premiere yesterday, 17 September, and will be officially released on 20 September for cinemagoers in the Lion City.
As Chong said during the movie's world premiere in Malaysia held earlier this month, "I hope all Malaysians will watch "Rise" and remember that this is just the beginning of our journey to becoming a united and prosperous nation again."
Cinema Online, 18 September 2018