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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Interview with 'Thoughts On Films'

Earlier this week, I sat down (in front of computer) for an (email) interview with Fikri of 'Thoughts On Films'. Things I spoke about include: filmmaking, videoblogging, my role in Greenlight Pictures and the company's previous productions, the theatrical distribution of local independent films in Malaysia.

On my filmmaking influences:

...I’ll name the directors whose works I normally watch as a ritual of sorts during preproduction for inspiration. I guess in the end, they are the filmmakers I reference most. Shunji Iwai, Kubrick, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, PT Anderson, Wes Anderson, Darren Arofnosky, Johnnie To, Wong Kar Wai, Frederico Fellini. There’s also always the French New Wave and some anime as well. But it also depends on the genre of film I’m tackling, say, I try to do a short film with noir elements (’Chicken Rice Mystery’ for example) I would definitely sift through the older films that helped define that particular genre, like ‘The Third Man’ or ‘Maltese Falcon’.

But since I’m working with Ming Jin now, I’m sure I’ve also been influenced by him without noticing.

On videoblogging:

Videoblogging was really just an extension of my personal passion in filmmaking. I started that out at the same time I was figuring my way around to become a filmmaker (and I didn’t even know the term 'videoblogging' then, I just refer to it as 'filming some random stuff and put it on my blog').

On how I'm involved in the promotion of THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA, being in Japan and all:

I told my pals in Japan about the film, but to no avail since, well, we're all in Japan.

On why Malaysia isn't very susceptible to wide releases of local independent films:

It's hard for a normal audience to spend money on a local indie film when he could derive more enjoyment from, say, ‘The Dark Knight’ at the same price. Most indie films do not seek to entertain (even if they do, they find themselves the unenviable task of being compared to studio productions and foreign films), while most regular theatergoers are seeking entertainment. With such a disparity, it’s unrealistic for an indie film or an arthouse film to have wide releases.

But then, this isn’t happening only in Malaysia. Even in the US, there are many little indie films that we know nothing about dying an early death. Only one out of a thousand indie films can really become a major moneymaker like ‘Juno’ or a ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ (and even so, their ‘indie’ statuses are still being debated about).

Read the rest of the interview with me at Filmmaker Disconnected - Edmund Yeo in Thoughts on Film!