17 May – Sabah's own Michelle Xin is set to release a new movie revolving around the lion dance troupe.
The director and producer recently announced her said movie is titled "The Rise of Lion", and shared that she was inspired to write, direct and produce the film about the topic as the lion dance troupe in Sabah is a unique culture due to its multiracial members.
"I noticed that in Sabah, we live in harmony. So, I wanted to use this opportunity to showcase the multiracial harmony in Sabah so that more people can see," she said.
Xin, who has experience in pre-production, production and post-production for telemovies, feature films, animation and short films, also revealed that the lion head and costumes were made with Sabah cultural elements in it, with the dance itself being injected with the cultural dance of Magunatip and the kulintanggan gong. The mixture of two cultures in the lion dance is innovation without disrupting tradition and showcases the harmonious multi-racial living in Sabah.
"I am also grateful to have the support from the king of lion dance, Master Siow, who is from Peninsula Malaysia. He introduced me to several lion dance troupes in the peninsula and they are also supportive of this film," she said.
Starring Ng Jinn Jou, See Hui and Sam Loo, the film chronicles the inspirational journey of a young Sino Kadazan boy who chases his lion dance dreams in the big city of Kota Kinabalu, inspired by Master Chen and his lion dance team, Ba De.
He, however, discovered that Master Chen has passed away and that Ba De has lost their pride and glory. The lion dance team would now be led by Master Chen's daughter, Jia Hui, who is struggling to carry out her task. JJ decides to help her restore Ba De's reputation by participating in an upcoming lion dance championship. JJ may have no knowledge but his passion, perseverance and his Kadazan culture leads Ba De to a whole new level of lion dance experience.
"The Rise of Lion" was made on a RM1.5 million budget, with RM500,000 funded by the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS).
The film will be released in cinemas on 2 June.