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Celebrity MobiFilms
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  Yasmin Ahmad
Meet Yasmin
Q What is the story behind "To Stop the Tears From Falling"? And how does it fit in with the theme of 'My Discovery'?
A It was a beautiful sunny day and I was looking out the window of my room at the 120-year old Galle Face Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka. For no specific reason, I decided to shoot it. Five minutes after I had done that, clear out of the blue, it started to rain. I shot the same scene all over again. These two scenes, placed one after another, evoked in me a feeling of waiting; a kind of loneliness. From this serendipitous experience, I discovered that poetry exists in everything around us, if we only cared enough to capture it, not just with our minds and hearts, or with a pen and a piece of paper, but also with a simple video camera. And where poetry is, there is a story of humanity worth telling.
Q What made you decide to be a filmmaker?
A It may sound trifling to some, but the truth is, I decided to make my first feature-length film "Rabun" when my father collapsed from diabetic complications four years ago. The film is about my parents, and it was my way of telling them i love them, using skills I had acquired working in advertising.
Q How do you feel about the mobile filmmaking experience?
A It was marvellous, of course. No fancy set-ups required. Just a quick twist of the N90 screen and the press of a button, and you're able to capture on video, that which the heart is feeling.
Q How is it different from traditional filmmaking?
A Traditional filmmaking has other advantages of course. One is able to write scripts and plan things in advance. But with a simple phone video camera, one is able to seize the moment as it arrives.
Q What are your insights as a director in a predominantly Muslim society on the filmmaking industry?
A I have only ever made film in this society, so i have no way of comparing, as i have no idea how other people work in their countries. Having said that, i suspect it's probably the same. no country is without some form of censorship, be it explicit or otherwise.
Q Is there any particular reason why your films often deal with the subjects of love and life? How have they reflected your own journey through life?
A Apart from love and life, what else is there? I can only draw from my own well of experience, so yes, my stories reflect my own journey through life.
Q Your award-winning film Sepet (2004), which has garnered accolades all over the world, seems to be a study into the complexities of multi-racial Malaysian society. What inspired that film?
A I am presently married to a chinese man, and before him, I was married to an indian man. I guess my life with them inspired "Sepet".
Q What do you think of the Malaysian film scene? Is there anything you wish that could change so the industry would flourish more?
A The Malaysian film scene is as it is. Some old school filmmakers have formed a sort of fraternity which frequently expresses their discontent with the subject matters the new school deals with in their films. The new school, to which i belong, doesn't really care what the old school thinks, but they've been going out of their way to try and stop us from making our films. If there is anything i would change about the malaysian film industry, it would be to make the two camps become one. It's hard enough to make a good film without having to deal with unnecessary divisions and hostility within the industry.
Q If given an opportunity, which aspect of Malaysian values or culture would you like to shoot a film about to showcase to the Western world?
A I would never go out of my way to make a film for the sole purpose of putting Malaysian culture on display in the west. I only ever want to tell stories about people and the human condition. Naturally, because my stories are about Malaysians, some local flavours will surface in the making of them. But that's more consequence than cause.
Q You mentioned before in a past interview that you'd like to make a film about your hero, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Do you think you'll ever make it with a mobile phone?
A I doubt it.
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