Thursday, November 29, 2007

KURUS Production Diary - Sleepless night of editing

29th of November. I have reached the fourth day of post-production for the film, KURUS. The past three days were spent on editing its rough cut, while today's spent on subtitling. I can only work on this until tomorrow afternoon, then I'll have to submit this film to the Rotterdam Film Festival.


Enchanted poster

Back in Sunday, I had a choice between ENCHANTED and HITMAN, and I chose the former instead. A normal angstful hot-blooded male would've gone for the latter, since ENCHANTED seems more like a Disney chick flick for little girls. But hey, while I don't usually let film critics sway my film choices, I still feel that watching the 93% ENCHANTED would be a much better bet than the 11% HITMAN, which seemed to have a long history of problems during its production.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Married For A Quarter Of A Century

28th of November, today's the 25th Wedding Anniversary of my parents. As usual, they will celebrate this in a low-key manner with relatively little fanfare tonight. This year, like every year, will be a nice little family dinner. Well darn, let's hope we'll throw something bigger during the 50th Anniversary.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hooray, I have a cameo role in a NTV7 telemovie

KERAMAT, a telemovie directed by Kannan Thiagarajan that I was involved in back in April will be aired tonight on NTV7 at the ungodly hour of 10:45pm.

If you want to see me in my first screen acting role as the boss of a car repair center, please don't miss my cameo appearance during the first 15 minutes of the film and laugh at my god-awful Malay-speaking skills! (I'm dressed in a grey T-shirt)

Recent Pusan Film Festival award-winning filmmaker Liew Seng Tat and documentary filmmaker/ SURF Magazine writer Zan Azlee also have cameos in this film.

... I served as assistant director for the film too.

KURUS Production Diary - 'Carmen Soo Day 2'

By the time I was writing this post, I've already completed the shoot for KURUS (24th of November, one day ahead of schedule) and gone home. I'm going to start work on the editing rather soon.

Before I move on, here are more photos from 'Carmen Soo Day 1' (20th of Nov) that was taken with a digital SLR:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

KURUS Production Diary - 'Carmen Soo Day 1'

(Sorry about the lack of updates in the past few days, am usually too tired to do anything with the blog when in the middle of a production shoot, tried to write this post two days ago but always ended up falling asleep halfway through it)

Carmen Soo didn't confirm her attachment to the KURUS film as Miss Carol until three days before the shoot. Miss Carol is an English teacher in protagonist Ali's class, and also the object of Ali's crush.

Due to her tight schedule, we can only have her for two days of the shoot. And when working out a shooting schedule for the film, we came to dub these 2 days the 'Carmen Soo days', meaning that we had to quickly push ourselves to finish her scenes. No easy feat, considering her scenes were rather complex to shoot.

Just a few photos of the first Carmen Soo day (20/11/07):

Sunday, November 18, 2007

17th of November. Mom's Birthday. A Memorable Day!

Mom's Birthday. 17th of November

17th of November is my mother's birthday. I haven't celebrated birthday with her for three years since my days in Perth. As the KURUS shoot had begun on the 16th, and I'm now living at Ming Jin's place (it makes traveling to Semenyih easier), I'd expected this year to be no different, and that the streak would extend to four years.

I received a SMS from my sister asking me to drop by for a surprise party on the night of my mom's birthday cos' she had bought mom a cake.

So I did, taking the long 45-min train ride home from Bangi, dropping a line saying that I want to have dinner to celebrate mom's birthday. The train ride was made bearable thanks to the company of Mislina (yes, the actress Mislina Mustapha, she has a major role in KURUS. plays Mukhsin's aunt in MUKHSIN, and plays Ayu's mom in FLOWER IN THE POCKET. Awesome actress!)

My little sister completely engineered and masterminded this surprise party for mom, she went off to buy the birthday cake with dad a day earlier, and then ensured that everyone who were to visit my mom would not bring any birthday cakes.

I don't think I've done anything similar all these years. For me, I remembered giving presents, flowers, dinner, but not doing something as simple as buying a birthday cake in secret and then take it out for my mom, singing loudly 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY'.

Maybe all these years during my absence, my sister had been doing all these. Or maybe this was the first time she had done it. I didn't ask. There was no need to.

First time, fourth time, it doesn't really matter. It was a wonderful night.

Because we had 'guests'.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Annoyed By Ex-High Schoolmates Who Work In The Same Industry (Part 2)

This is the continuation of what I chronicled in my last post where an ex-schoolmate who works in a website owned by a mega media corporation had earned my ire.

I am now 3 hours away from the shooting of KURUS (English title: DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY), we have employed the services of a wonderful actress whose name I shall not divulge (for now) but she was nice enough to agree to appear in the film just a day after finishing a rather exhausting musical. Being the vindictive bastard I was, I called my ex-schoolmate shortly after the confirmation of her participation yesterday (yes, she confirmed her participation 3 days before the shoot begins!) because I initially requested for people of his team to cover the KURUS shoot if possible (to do a 'making of' project), and he asked me to call him only if she is truly attached to the project.

Conversation below (I don't think there's any need to point out who is who) It's originally in Mandarin, and happened in rapid pace:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Annoyed By Ex-High Schoolmates Who Work In The Same Industry

(The 'industry' referred in the title is the media industry, which includes film, tv, new media etc.)

A couple of weeks ago, I managed to run into two people from my former high school during separate occasions, one works now in a New Media company, the other works in a video-sharing site owned by a huge corporation that owns a couple of television channels. I'm not going to name names.

Through a stroke of coincidence, I was suddenly contacted by both for similar reasons, they were asking for both my short films and Greenlight Pictures' (which are Ming Jin's). The former to provide mobile phones as a platform to exhibit these short films, the latter to offer the website he's working on as a platform to exhibit these short films.

So I had an appointment with the one who works in the new media company at Starbucks.

... and was subjected to wait for nearly 45 minutes before she arrived, something that would have annoyed me less if she weren't the one who chose the appointment time. I sat and waited, nearly emptying my ice-blended mocha, taking the opportunity to start writing notes for a short film I intend to work on.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

KURUS Production Diary - English Title Confirmed. DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY

Photos taken at Semenyih from the second location scouting last week, it's the same pond from this entry, but this time, I use an actual camera instead of my mobile phone for photographing:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

VIDEO: CONTROVERSY! Wiping butt with Malay textbook and censored little puppy in 'Flower In The Pocket'

While watching Seng Tat's Flower In The Pocket at its press screening on Wednesday, what stood out to me were two censored scenes in the film.

Friday, November 09, 2007

In The Middle Of The Road, A Taxi Driver Died.

I just had dinner with Dad and Uncle Dan, dad's classmate who had just returned briefly from San Franciso. After dinner, we had to send Uncle Dan home.

On our way to Cheras, while waiting for the traffic light, I saw a motorcyclist walking towards a taxi in the middle of the road.

The traffic light had turned green, the other cars were moving slowly, but the taxi didn't move from its place.

"Hey, bro, wake up!" The motorcyclist yelled in Malay.

The taxi driver, a middle-aged Indian man, didn't react. His eyes were closed, his mouth agape and his head slumped forward.

The motorcyclist shook the driver's shoulder, still yelling, but to no avail.

Is he unconscious or dead? Uncle Dan and dad looked with concern.

But the cars never stopped moving, and gradually, the motorcyclist, the taxi driver and the taxi were left behind, disappearing from my sight and into the night.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Liew Seng Tat's Flower In The Pocket 口袋里的花

Flower In the Pocket poster

I have posted about Seng Tat's victory for FLOWER IN THE POCKET at the PUSAN FILM FESTIVAL last month, and I finally got to catch the film at its press screening yesterday. It's hard to review a film properly when you know the filmmaker personally, lauding it too much will make it seem as if you're being nice to a friend, dissing it will mean that you are self-consciously trying to avoid the former.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Haruki Murakami - After Dark

Book cover of Haruki Murakami's After Dark

This blog hasn't been very kind to Haruki Murakami. First off, there was Justin's negative review of THE ELEPHANT VANISHES, and then, there were my own gripes with THE WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLE, which ultimately led to our 'seminal' HARUKI MURAKAMI IS WRONG! entry written last October.

There used to be so much hate for Murakami here that this blog could've easily been mistaken for an anti-Murakami site.

More than a year had passed since then, I picked up and read AFTER DARK, my first Murakami book since Norwegian Woods (finished that sometime around the middle of last year, liked it) at Borders, The Curve after a production meeting. Being merely a 200-page-long novella, I finished it in one sitting, around 2 hours.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

KURUS Production Diary - What Is This Film About?

Had the first major production meeting for my upcoming project, KURUS at Starbucks in The Curve yesterday.

Much had occurred with the production while I was away in Taiwan for a week. Lim Kok Wing University had offered their assistance by providing us some crew members, most invaluable of all, a line producer, Joanne Soong, to help out with the location hunting and the like (definitely makes my job much easier now!). We have also secured the services of Aaron Chung (click his name to read Hassan Muthalib's glowing article about him at for cinematographer. And Kannan (director of March's telemovie I served as assistant director for) had jumped onboard too, maybe as the sound guy, I think.

(Ming Jin, Joanna, Aaron, Kannan and I were the ones present at the meeting)

Casted the lead role, acquired most of the locations, Mentor Ming Jing had completed the script as well.

KURUS is supposedly a telemovie made for NTV7, its original premise was like Karate Kid meets Million Dollar Baby meets Rocky meets whatever teenage coming-of-age tale you've seen. An often bullied skinny boy decided to learn boxing from a cleaner lady just so he could dish out some punishment upon his tormentors. Cleaner lady was a disgraced former female boxing champion!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bullet and Brain 神枪手与智多星

Bullet and Brain, starring Francis Ng, Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang

I just came back from seeing this Hong Kong movie, which opened in Malaysia today, two weeks before its scheduled release in its own country. I have NOT heard of this movie at all until I saw its contest on Star Newspaper this morning.