Malaysian indie movie producer hopes for shot at The Oscars

25 October 2012 / 4 years 9 hours ago

Source: Daily ChiliCome 10th January 2013, we'll know if Bunohan does Malaysia proud by making the cut for Oscar's final five nominees for Best Foreign Language Film.Bunohan, an independent movie that cost RM1.5 million to produce, is one of the 71 features vying for Oscar glory in the Best Foreign Language Film category. But this is only the initial stage of the consideration process. Those 71 movies will be whittled down to nine and finally to five.However, Bunohan's producers can take pride in that this is only the second time that the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS) has submitted a local movie for Oscar consideration. The first was Puteri Gunung Ledang in 2004.Puteri Gunung Ledang, which cost RM16 million to produce, starred Tiara Jacquelina, M Nasir and Adlin Aman Ramlie. D irector Saw Teong Hin recalls his own experience with the Oscar process for that epic movie."We got into the top 70something, then the 35, but we didn't get into the top 15. But when you make a movie, you don't think about an Oscar. You think about making the best movie you can," he told Daily Chilli.He remembers the excitement of boarding the plane to LA to attend the movie screening at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. "When your film gets into the top 35, it automatically get a Palm Springs screening. So we were quite excited," he said.But his excitement was short-lived. "When we arrived in LA, we knew we were doomed. On the way from the airport, we saw rotating billboards for House Of Flying Daggers and Motorcycle Diaries (the other foreign language movies competing for Oscar consideration that year)," he said laughing.So with this in mind, will Bunohan's producers be hanging their hopes on a favourable 10th January decision?"We never thought about the Oscars," Bunohan producer Nandita Solomon told DC. "The Oscar submission is icing on the cake. FINAS called us up a couple of months ago and we were surprised that they chose our film. Only FINAS can make submissions, as far as we know.""Now, Bunohan will be sent to different parts of the US so that judges can watch it on the big screen and make their decision," she said. "We're still competing with 70 other films from around the world. We'll have to wait and see what happens. What's important is Bunohan was chosen to represent the country."The 85th Academy Awards will be on 24th February 2013, but Nandita says the movie is already a hit in its own right regardless of what happens at the Oscars."The film has been picked up by Universal Pictures [Europe]. We also managed to secure a solid, well-respected distributor in the US, Oscilloscope Labs, which will show the movie in 2013," she said.Bunohan stars Faizal Hussein, Zaharil Adzim and Tengku Azura, and is still playing in Britain, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. The movie was directed by Dain Said, who also directed Dukun.The movie had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2011, and garnered a Netpac Award at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival in October last year, as well as a screening at Palm Springs and at Rotterdam's International Film Festival earlier this year.Bunohan is set in Kampung Bunohan, Kelantan, close to the Thai border where bloodshed, greed and mysticism are the order of the day. It tells the story of three estranged brothers who are saddled with emotional baggage, whose lives intertwine and reach a terrible climax when they return to their birthplace.From:

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