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Globalising Malaysian films

Writer: Syahida Kamarudin

Yasmin Ahmad was one of the panellists

14 Oct - A debate organised by the Faculty of Arts and Creative Technology (FACT) at UiTM (Universiti Teknologi MARA) titled 'Dialog Puncak Perdana - Pengantarabangsaan Filem Malaysia' last week saw FINAS Director of Development Khalid Maulod disagreeing with filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad. Yasmin believes that the elements of culture and language are secondary in terms of making a quality film that can be presented to the 'outside' world, and placed more significance in the universal topic of humanity. According to Khalid Maulod however, it is important for a Malay film to retain elements like language and culture as much as it could.

In the same event, Ahmad Puad Onah (Persatuan Pengeluar-Pengeluar Filem Malaysia) suggested for FINAS (Malaysian National Film Development Corporation) to create a special fund exclusive for films of history and cultural contents as done by other countries such as Korea and Vietnam in order to ensure that the film industry will not be lacking films of the kind.

"If we are able to do the same, we might be able to produce 25 new films in five years. We cannot keep on having reruns of films like "Paloh", "Bukit Kepong" or "1957: Hati Malaya" every year," he was reported as saying. The Dean of FACT Prof. Dr. Hatta Azad Khan assented, himself having had the experience of finding difficulties in financing his movie, "Wayang".

The other panellist was filmmaker Shuhaimi Baba, who highlighted the necessity of a good script to bring films to the global audience. The debate was attended by some 100 participants that included FACT's lecturers, students and other filmmakers.

Cinema Online, 14 October 2008

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