I read Fadli Akiti's article this afternoon and believe he, along with industry people like Syamsul Yusof, have a point.
What point are they making? Well go and read la. The articles are in Bahasa Malaysia, though, so you Melayu celups can go fuck off or some shit.
I believe they are commenting on the fact that most Malaysian movies this year didn't make money. Leftwings, with 60 prints, made only what, RM20,000? Most Malaysian movies failed at the box-office this year, after a few years riding high on KL Gangster's RM12.5 million success and Ombak Rindu making the kind of social impact I've only seen with Masked Rider Black.
Is the Malaysian film industry really dying? Well, the Chinese-language ones are flourishing. I can't remember shit right now, but Ah Beng and a few others made decent numbers. I can't find their figures on Finas' website, but I heard they did well. Which is my next point - is it time we fully embrace the 1Malaysia concept and include ALL Malaysian-made movies, regardless of language, to receive fair treatment from the governing bodies?
This includes Chinese-language movies, the various Indian dialect movies and yes, even pretentious Malaysian-slang English movies that sound like TV Pendidikan productions?
I say, hell yes! There's no point in being racist, really, and I believe the non-inclusion of non-BM titles to be racist. I mean, fuck the language, man. I'd watch a movie in C++ if I could remember that shit. We should embrace all languages our people speak, except Korean. I have to be racist towards one group of people and I choose Koreans for no particular reason.
But... if you ask me, I don't have the answer for questions now being asked to the Malaysian film industry. I don't have the solution. Some people have theirs, of course.
A producer I know was quoted as saying he believes Malaysian movies should be done in English for overseas markets. One has to only look at Korean satirist and musician Psy's Oppa Gangnam Style and the various Japanese anime productions (a US$3 billion international industry) which shows that it is probably not the language factor that is the main reason.
David Teoh is banking on 'Islamic-themed' movies but can you name me any three of those that made it big a the box-office this year. And David Teoh's Metrowealth failing spells financial doom for many. If he, with all his resources and understanding of 'film commerce', can't make money, then what chance does anyone have?
Spoke to a former filmmaker just now and he believes it is just desserts for some, as they have done some cardinal sins along the way.
He believes that for four decades, the Malaysian film industry has been ignoring the entire society. Some races get sidelined, and a lot of audiences are alienated when some movies were only done with a small part of the community in mind.
Even then, this small handful of people who regularly watch Malaysian movies - maybe 500,000 or so - were being served the same thing over and over again. How many rempit movies have we shown them? How many horror movies we have shoved in their faces?
The chase for quick bucks will eventually lead to killing the goose that lays the golden egg - or in this case, boring it it to death.
I believe what the audience is experiencing right now is viewing fatigue. For over 40 years, it's the same thing. Some advancement here and there, but usually mere novelties rather than revolutionary.
People who believe we just have to make good movies are naive, in my book. But their naivety is important, and necessary. Lots of people I know in the industry jumped in because of a misguided superhero complex. I was - and still am - one of them.
I thought I could do better. Some shit worked, some didn't. It is what it is.
Anyway, we also have those who blame the audience. Some people have said, "Malaysian audience is stupid". I can't stand that. You can't blame people for not liking your shit. You can't call them stupid. You're stupid because you showed it to an audience which would not get your shit.
I believe accusing the audience of being stupid is just an excuse to do stupid work. You can't change people, and you don't have to pander as well. Pandering to the audience is what got us to this state.
One of my friends believe that the future looks to be a few hit movies over the course of a few years, while most will bomb at the box-office. Will this mean movie people will die starving by the roadside?
Well. Who knows? Does anyone give a shit? The Malaysian film industry died before - maybe a few times. There was a period I remember when Yusof Haslam was perhaps the only dude making money from movies.
The balance between making money and making movies is a fragile thing. The definition of a 'good movie' is also subjective.
There are those who say there are too many movies, or that Singapore is not a viable market, or we should follow Indonesia and tax the shit out of foreign movies, leading to a RM20 ticket price for Iron Man 3 and RM10 for Adnan Sempit 3. That will cause resentment. Just like how car prices are being made political because the Government taxes the shit out of them to protect Proton, allegedly.
Like I said, I don't have all the answers. I don't have any answers. I just wanted to rant before going to sleep.
All in all, it has just been one bad year. One bad year means as much as having a few excellent years before this, when quite a few films broke the 8 million ringgit barrier - absolutely nothing.
I believe in one thing, though, facing the possibility of not making money at all, we should all do movies that we like doing. At the very least, if there's no money, you can still get creative satisfaction. And then die like everyone else.