Tunku Mona Riza wishes to change the public's perception on autism.
Not everyone in society knows or understands autism, which is why director Tunku Mona Riza has come up with her film, "Redha", in hopes that she can develop a public awareness on the matter.
Inspired from a true story, the film portrays the lives of a Malay couple, Alina and Razlan, who are having a hard time coping and raising their only son, Danial, who has autism.
Produced by Current Pictures, the film will be released in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei on 14 April 2016 and stars Namron, June Lojong, Nadiya Nisaa, Remy Ishak, Ruminah Sidek, Harith Haziq, Izzy Reef and Susan Lankester.
At the gala premiere of "Redha" at GSC Pavilion, KL, the director talked about her experience on making this meaningful and touching Malaysian film filled with humanity.
The cast line-up, director and producer of "Redha".
Cinema Online: How did you get the idea to make such a film?
Tunku Mona Riza: The idea came to me when I met an autistic child while I was young. At that time, I realised that there wasn't much awareness on the disorder among society, so I decided to challenge myself to learn and understand more about the condition, and most importantly, how it affects the families in Malaysia.
Why did you decide to choose Namron and June Lojong to play the couple with the autism child in this film?
I wanted a real husband and wife to play the role because there are minor intimate scenes like kissing foreheads, hugging, or holding hands. Even though they are tiny gestures, but I believe that they will create a huge impact on the film.
The film took quite a long time to produce. Can you explain why?
Yes, we did take a long time to make this film, because it took us around two and a half years to research on autism. We also approached two families who are facing such issues so that we would understand more of their lives and what they've been through, all so we can shape the role of the autistic child perfectly.
Harith Haziq plays the role of young Danial.
What are the challenges that you have faced while making this film?
At first, we had difficulties getting the cooperation from The National Autism Society of Malaysia (NASOM), as they were worried that we might misinterpret the whole autism issue. But after a thorough and detailed explanation on our intentions to produce the film, they willingly lent their hands and shared useful information on the matter.
What was the production cost?
The whole film cost RM3.7 million, including the studies and research that we did for the past two and a half years.
What are your expectations for the film?
I do hope that the public will give their full support to this film. Not only are they able to watch the film, in Malaysia, they will also be able to perform a good deed with every ticket that they have purchased, as RM1 of each ticket will be donated to the autism cause. We also made an agreement with BSN (National Savings Bank) who loaned us the money to make the film, which is that if the film manages to collect RM7.5 million, the bank will give a contribution of RM300,000 to other autism organisations .
Cinema Online, 05 April 2016