From a legend to movie to musical: Inspiration for Malaysian Creative Storytelling

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Comment by MalaysianCinema on April 1, 2024 at 5:16pm

This Creative Hub invites artists, coinciding with either festivals or holidays, to activate the back alley (now a publicly accessible space) with temporary installations and commissioned wall paintings and events. These pop-up events are led by the hub’s art direction team, and supported by video documentation. One of their key strategies to increase visibility of their events is to invite key online influencers (KOL) to photograph themselves in the space and share these photos on social media.

Key Takeaways:

• Audience

• It is important to understand your audience. Ask yourselves these questions: Where will they be and what will they be looking for? Would a simpler and easily accessible design be more suited rather than a polished, minimal design language?

• Audience Development Develop a recognizable online and offline presence. This can be done with a cohesive brand story (written and graphic de sign), engagement on social media and collaborating with relevant organisations and people.

• Understand your network, your niche 35@Jetty is interested in participating in the narrative of the UNESCO world heritage site, and connecting with local arts practitioners. As a Creative Hub, this is an example of how we can connect directly with the physical community around a certain location.

7.3 Cultivating Networks

Network infers to a set of relationships and connections, internally or with other communities. Networks allow knowledge to be shared while finding support in social relationships and solidarity.

Many Creative Hubs have cultivated regional networks, and/or part of coalitions/advocacy groups.

New Naratif— transnational solidarity New Naratif situate themselves as a regional media advocate that is interested in uncovering Southeast Asian voices. They advocate freedom of expression, freedom of information and democratic practises. Shifting away from the state-owned news outlet, they are an independent media organisation and seek to bring awareness to marginalised stories.

New Naratif has also managed to find alliances with other organisations who are doing work within the same regional space on marginalised voices.

Recently they co-organised a conference,  Transnationally Asian Digital Conference. This conference connected regional publishing collectives such as Lausan Collective (Hong Kong) and New Bloom Magazine (Taiwan). The conference maintained that they “were able to capture the anti-nationalist and internationalist perspective, across Asia and in the Asian diaspora”.

New Naratif offers a social impact through connecting transnationally between diasporic conversations. Through their online collaborations with other organisations, standing up for freedom and justice promotes transnational solidarity and awareness.

SeaShorts Film Festival—

Southeast Asian cinema  SeaShorts Film Festival is organised by Next New Wave, an initiative founded in 2015 to nurture emerging filmmakers. It is a not-for-profit cultural organisation bringing independent films to the forefront. The 2020 SeaShorts program was supported by several regional networks of film organisations such as the Asia Centre Japan Foundation, National Youth Council of Singapore, Taipei Economic and Cultural office in Malaysia, FINAS and more.

The festival is made up of many screenings from competition submissions to S-Express, an annual presentation of short films across Southeast Asia. The programmes are selected and curated from a country programmer, usually a writer, director, or festival organiser. In its 3rd iteration, the audience for the festival grew from 500 to 2,000 a month.

Comment by MalaysianCinema on February 25, 2024 at 6:43am

Rekan Library— Muar design community

Rekan Library is a community library space that promotes collaboration and actively engages the community with reading, design and learning.

Working with the Chinese community of Muar, Johor, their network includes a collective publication Muar River Times; creating a co-working subscription model with an event venue Ngam Hall; collaborating with children’s toy designers; and many more. The design and art community in Muar works on cultivating a small town spirit, creating publica tions, podcasts, hosting musical performances and creating community spaces collectively.

Key Takeaways:

Understand your network, your niche 

To think beyond the national boundaries and to find ties internationally as a way to grow one’s practice.

Creative Hubs can find networks based on medium, types of practice, or type of spaces.

SeaShorts Film Festival connects with other filmmakers, international arts and cultural organisations and encourages exchange programmes.

Participating in or housing such programmes can enable Hubs to grow a network specifically tied to the arts.


For this report, tracing artist-collectives in the past to the present was an incredibly enriching exercise and at the same time, demanding. Creative Hubs emerged not only as models for adoption, but also are a constant source of curiosity for us to deepen our imagination and experimentation.

8.1 Knowledge Gaps

As per any report, there will be limitations in either the process, method, or time range of data collection. Although the ‘Hubs For Good’ research project identified over 100 hubs, there is a lack of representation of different language groups. The workshops of the programme are organised in English. Groups using other languages may not feel inclined to participate. There is also a tendency for the professional and entrepreneurial programmes to be expressed in English and situated in urban areas. As the teams worked in English for this project, many other hubs were not identified and located due to language barriers.

Other groups may also be situated in suburban or rural communities, and due to the restricted movement due to the COVID-19 pandemic the research team were unable to travel to discover the outlying art and cultural collective work con ducted in smaller communities. Grassroots and community associations that may not be recognised as being artistic or cultural also often carry out art and cultural work. These associations often engage with local neighbour hoods and are aligned with cultural festivals such as Mid-Autumn or Thaipusam to name a few. Such groups are entrepreneurial by nature, trading cultural and traditional craft, products, and artwork during the cultural events. Modes of production often run alongside their community building work. Would these be also considered Creative Hubs? This is a question perhaps to be considered in future research.

Comment by MalaysianCinema on February 20, 2024 at 8:31am

(pg. 39) Another gap is the underground movement within the art and cultural ecology of Malaysia. There are collectives engaging in work situated in the legal/grey areas of the law. To name them openly in a report may have a negative impact on such collectives. Lastly, some collectives may also be involved in experimental work that is activated and disappears quickly. Such work may also be considered failures by the conventional parameters of sustainability, but their transient nature should not stop them from being considered as a Creative Hub.

8.2 Malaysian Art and Cultural Ecology—What Next?

This report aims to build awareness of the history of art and cultural collectives, to consider the policies that affect the art and cultural ecology, and to draw out certain patterns and characteris tics of current Creative Hubs in Malaysia. So, what should we be doing next? The work of Creative Hubs is often social, organising creative work for, or with, a specific community.

The work can be conducted through the many examples in 5.2 Alternative Arts Education, fulfilling a gap and need beyond informal education systems. Support and awareness are needed to ensure possible education routes can be encouraged. All hubs will have cultural impact by the creative processes of art and cultural work.

The art forms emerging from hubs add to the cultural landscape of Malaysia, through the different categories of Creative Hubs described in section 2.3. These categories can infer how hubs can have multiple categories of cultural impact, often intertwining more than one medium of art and cultural work.

Another cultural impact is the notion of networking and archiving the work. Creative hubs should offer open access to knowledge. To learn about our own art and cultural history is imperative to ensure the growth and continuation of our art and cultural ecology. To work on digitally archiving and creating repositories either in the form of reports, or catalogues can help newcomers under stand Creative Hubs, and by extension the art and cultural ecology better.

One of the biggest cultural impacts is connecting to online and offline networks. Hubs are a resource for gathering. These gatherings can be centred around openings, festivals, events, or even just reflective moments of sharing. To embrace the growth and continual nourishment of networks is imperative to ensure a sustained cultural impact. Hubs should continue to have a bottom-up network of sharing—from knowledge to space to resources.

Creative Hubs create communities for those participating in art and cultural work. They grow camaraderie through open dialogue, conversation, and discussions. The action of creating safe spaces enables solidarity amongst art and cultural workers while allowing them to investigate their own art and cultural work. Economic impact is less immediate. Creative Hubs often coordinate sharing resources to support the ecology, creating an open-ended input and output cycle. The support can range from sharing subscription accounts for streaming and online conferences to creating community-led spaces for all to contribute to.

Comment by MalaysianCinema on February 19, 2024 at 6:23pm
(Con't from above) Economic impact can also be found in the use of branding exercises. It is the methodology of inviting potential patrons, participants, and artists to connect to a hub’s work. Creative Hubs that do design exercises to write, document and archive their work online and offline provide clarity for the public to understand their initiatives. To give thought to how art and cultural work is advertised, audiences can easily access, understand, and par ticipate in the art and cultural work through clear and careful design on social media campaigns.

Creative Hubs such as Cult Creative are founded on the belief that such effort and work is important to ensure the longevity of a creative practice. The report suggests alternative methods of interpreting impact—through the work in com munities and collectivism and building networks and audiences. These two impact areas integrate social, cultural, and economic aspects by creating spaces of care, experimentation, continual learning and sharing. This we believe comes from a shared network that continues to develop the community via an entangled art and cultural ecology. The stories explore ideas of sustainable impact, where the changes will permeate long after the project is complete.

8.3 Creative Hubs—A Proposition for Collectivism

Creative Hubs create sustainable forms of impact by encouraging collectivism and community wellbeing. Collectivism is qualitative, explored through short accounts in Part III of the report. Research can document how many participants were part of a programme, or how many working hours each workshop ran for, but what is fascinating about art and cultural work are the specific details of creating programmes, design, and collaboration. Creative Hubs put energy into creating programming for communities to gather, to share and experience art forms collectively.

Such experiences are immeasurable, often advocating for social development of healthy and liveable communities. 46 46 HAUS KCH 47 Urbanscapes Other than categorising and organising the Creative Hubs into categories, this report also adds complexity by acknowledging Creative Hubs using stories of Communities and Collectivism (online and physical), Building Networks, and striving for Alternative Arts Education. This consideration of collectivism can shift away from the neoliberal agenda to a more communal ideology—a sharing economy. In a time where mutual aid and care is important, Creative Hubs and collectives in Malaysia have activated the role of organising around community issues, informal arts education, giving voice to communities.

An interdisciplinary lens of the arts and human ities, sociology or ethnographic lens should be adopted when researching further about Creative Hubs in the context of Malaysia. Different methods of collaboration can also be explored in extended research of Creative Hubs. This report is only the beginning, to draw attention to the art and cultural work of a lively ecology. All Creative Hubs are inherently cultural, advo cating various forms of art and cultural work to the public. It is my hope this report gives a snapshot during a difficult time of our history, the COVID-19 pandemic. (pg 73)

(British Council, 2017, UNDERSTANDING CREATIVE HUBS IN MALAYSIA -- Collectives, Entanglements & Ecologies;  AUTHOR: Clarissa Lim Kye Lee, Roslina Ismail ,  Poon Chiew Hwa , Florence Lambert, EDITOR: June Tan; RESEARCH PROJECT LEADER: Roslina Ismail, Florence Lambert)
Comment by MalaysianCinema on October 1, 2022 at 4:37pm

#Showbiz: 'Don't Look At The Demon' first Malaysian movie to enter American market, premiere in 250 North American cinemas By Aref Omar

KUALA LUMPUR: Local horror movie Don't Look At The Demon will be screened in over 20 countries including Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Mongolia, Cambodia, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Poland.

Helmed by Malaysian film director and producer Brando Lee, the movie is expected to be screened in more than 250 cinemas in North America alone.

"With the global release of Don't Look At The Demon I hope to inspire local producers to reach for the stars and keep pushing forward to represent Malaysia on an international scale," said Lee during a press conference after a screening of the movie at Dadi Cinemas in Pavilion KL, here tonight.

He added: "The release of this film is not just my success but it is the success of all of us in Malaysia.

"I am extremely proud to set this benchmark and bring pride to our country.

"The film will forever be an emblem to remind Malaysia that no goal is too big if you set your minds to it."

Don't Look At The Demon follows the exploits of a group of American paranormal TV investigators and an emotionally damaged spiritual medium who travel to Fraser's Hill in Malaysia to investigate supernatural occurrences in a house built in the early 1970s.

But as the dark secrets of the house come to light, they must deal with possessions and a malevolent entity that may have a connection to the medium's own mysterious past.

The 93-minute movie, which features traditional Asian folklore from an American perspective, stars artistes from Hollywood, Thailand and Vietnam including Fiona Dourif, Harris Dickinson, Randy Wayne, Jordan Belfi, Malin Crepin, William Miller, Phan Nhu Thao and Konglar Kanchanahoti.

The event was also attended by Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin and some of the cast members, including Swedish actress Crepin.

"This film provides an opportunity for people from other countries to learn and understand the cultures, traditions and tourist attractions in Malaysia, which in turn could contribute to the improvement of the tourism sector, " said Zahidi.

"Now that we have entered the American market, we can strive to reach new heights by aiming to obtain awards such as the Oscars, Emmys and so forth, in the near future."

Produced by Barnstorm Entertainment and Bliss Pictures, Don't Look At The Demon is set to premiere in cinemas nationwide on Oct 6. (September 29, 2022 NST)

Comment by MalaysianCinema on October 1, 2022 at 11:24am

Sofia Jane: Want Malaysian film industry to reach South Korean heights?
Higher-ups first need to care about art

Sofia Jane challenges the Malaysian authorities to put more care into arts such as the film industry. — Picture by Choo Choy May

By Zarrah Morden

Sunday, 14 Aug 2022 7:00 AM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — There have been many changes to the local film industry over the years, but not all of them have been good or welcome, said award-winning Malaysian actor Datin Sofia Jane.

She recalled the glory days of the National Film Development Corporation or Finas, when the premiere of films at its grounds brought not just industry players but also enthusiasts such as film students or even laymen with a passionate interest in local films.

"We need to be brave and we need to fail and be brave and fail again. Look at South Korea and how long it took them to actually be where they are today,” she told Malay Mail in a recent interview.

She said that elevating the Malaysian film industry to become an international success is doable, but the endeavour would require everybody to care about it — including the relevant ministries.

"You always end up with good intentions but there's only so much you can do because you don't have the last say in whether things can get done or not,” she said.

Sofia joined veteran actor and producer Datuk Rosyam Nor who told a forum on Thursday that the local industry can emulate the South Korean creative industry to become the country's major earner and increase its renown.

The forum had focused on Syamsul Yusof's historical blockbuster Mat Kilau: Kebangkitan Pahlawan which has grossed nearly RM100 million so far.

South Korea fell under the global spotlight after Bong Joon-ho's 2019 black comedy thriller Parasite achieved international critical and commercial acclaim, winning both the Palme d'Or and the Academy Award for Best Picture.

In response, the Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah had in 2020 tasked Finas with a roadmap — dubbed “Project Oscar” or "Road to Oscars" — for local films to win in the much-coveted Academy Awards in 20 to 30 years.

Last year, Finas submitted Muzammer Rahman's black-and-white drama Prebet Sapu starring Amerul Affendi and Lim Mei Fen for the Best International Feature Film category.

Despite the effort, director and writer Badrul Hisham Ismail said he finds it bizarre that in the country, the film industry falls under the purview of the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia, rather than the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

Comment by MalaysianCinema on October 1, 2022 at 11:24am

"In terms of how the authorities see it, films aren't even arts and culture but [a form of] communication," he said, referring to how films are expected to present some sort of narrative or message on behalf of the authorities.

Badrul also pointed to how there is a dearth of independent cinemas here to cater to a different audience rather than the ones served by local giants GSC and TGV.

"One thing any filmmaker should understand is that there are different kinds of audiences for different kinds of films. There will be films that can have a huge audience, but there will also be films that will only cater to a small group and require a smaller setting and smaller independent distributions.

"But those things are lacking here because we only have big cinemas. We only have multiplexes; we don't have independent cinemas," he commented, saying that a film with a smaller budget cannot afford to get distributed nationwide on GSC or TGV.

He said that this is why Malaysian independent filmmakers gravitate to streaming platforms, as it is a place where they knew they did not have to compete with larger films for an audience.

Sofia Jane's film 'Maryam Dari Pagi Ke Malam' is directed by Badrul Hisham Ismail (right) and produced by Anomalous Films' Eddy Abdullah (middle). — Picture by Choo Choy May
Sofia Jane's film 'Maryam Dari Pagi Ke Malam' is directed by Badrul Hisham Ismail (right) and produced by Anomalous Films' Eddy Abdullah (middle). — Picture by Choo Choy May

While acknowledging that streaming platforms such as Netflix has opened doors for films from abroad to compete against locally-produced content, Sofia said she views it as a challenge for local filmmakers to up their storytelling game.

"I always ask, if I can watch those kinds of films, why can't I watch locally produced films exactly like that?" she said, adding that there are young Malaysians who want to watch these kinds of films, but locally produced films lack the ability to attract moviegoers.

Sofia will appear next in Maryam Dari Pagi Ke Malam, directed by Badrul.

In Maryam, Sofia plays a gallery owner in her 50s from a noble Malay family who wishes to marry Damien, her younger partner from Sierra Leone, but faces opposition from her father (Omar Abdullah).

Producers Anomalous Films and Rhu Graha said the 90-minute film will playfully dissect the tensions, contradictions, and irony that surround polite society in Malaysia.

Currently in post-production, it also stars other renowned names in the industry such as Roslan Madun, Azman Hassan, Pekin Ibrahim and Bella Rahim in supporting roles.

Comment by iPLOP on July 26, 2018 at 10:36am

愛墾網 是文化創意人的窩;自2009年7月以來,一直在挺文化創意人和他們的創作、珍藏。As home to the cultural creative community, supports creators since July, 2009.


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