Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sofia Jane

I interviewed the talented actress Sofia Jane recently. She talks about her exciting acting projects and directing a short film that was shown 18th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) 2013 in South Korea. The story appeared in the sun newspaper  on Tuesday Oct 15. Here is the full story.  

Suggested Headline: The Good Wife 
By Bissme S 

Sofia Jane  will be playing the role of a betrayed woman in Teater Kompilasi Nam Ron that will be staged at Damansara Performing Arts Centre from Nov 1 to 3. Sofia’s character, Bulan, is surprised to learn that her husband is charged with killing his mistress.
“My character first learns about her husband’s unfaithfulness when the police inform her that  her husband has been arrested on a murder charge,” says the 41-yearold actress (left) in an exclusive interview with theSun.
“And the next moment, his affair and arrest are all over the media. That is a horrible way to  find out that your husband has been cheating on you.”
Then her character goes through a terrible dilemma –whether to be the perfect wife and support 
her husband during his murder trial – or to leave him and end the marriage. Of course, Sofia is not going to reveal the ending of the story. 
“You have to come and see the play,”she says.
The play also stars Vanidah Imran, Sharifah Amani and Aqasha, and is directed by Nam Ron.This director, who has been presenting cutting-edge productions in the past, also wrote the script  for the play. Sofia finds Nam Ron to be unlike many writers who force their message through to their audience.
“In his works, the unspoken words become the voice for the character,” she says. 
“The great thing about Nam Ron’s play is every time you read his work again, it gets more interesting.”
In this play, Nam Ron is allowing each character his or her say in series of dialogues and monologues. In the case of Bulan, Sofia will be tracing her character’s life with her husband from the moment they met until the point of his betrayal in a monologue.She will be  asking out loud the meaning of being a perfect wife so that the audience can ponder on this  topic. Sofia is also playing a wife in her next project, the much-awaited U-Wei Saari’s film, Hanyut,  that will probably hit the cinemas end of this year.
This is her second stint with the award-winning director. Their first project was Perempuan,  Isteri Dan ...? where she played the adulterous wife, Zaleha. It was the role that shot her to stardom. In Hanyut, she plays Mem who hates her Dutch husband when he sends their 10-year-old daughter Nina to Singapore to be educated in western ways. As she could not forgive him for separating her child from her, she stops talking to
her husband altogether. Many years later, Nina returns home as a beautiful girl and falls madly in love with a Malay man, much to her father’s disapproval. Given the deep animosity Mem feels toward her husband, she encourages Nina to elope with her lover. 
This was U-Wei’s dream project. Since it took him some time to raise the RM18 million needed to do this film, Hanyut was only finished this year.
“When U-Wei first started this project, I was in my 20s,” Sofia recalls. 
“Christine Hakim (the Indonesian actress) was supposed to play the role of Mem and I was supposed to play Nina. Of course, after 13 years and with a few more wrinkles, I could not play the role of the daughter any more. But I had no intention of taking over Christine’s role.”
In fact, Sofia recommended her colleagues for Mem’s role and many of them did turn up for the audition. But in the end, U-Wei wanted Sofia to play Mem. Some who have seen the rough cut of the film have praised her performance and even hinted at the possibility of an award for Sofia. 
“I always try to find some common ground between my life and the characters that I portray,” she says.
“In this case, we are mothers. The greatest thing about being an actor is that you are always representing real people.”
Recently, Sofia directed a short called 1 800 Baby under the banner of the Ikal Mayang: Telling Women Stories, a project initiated by Low Ngai Yuen, who is an executive producer of Garang Pictures. The project gives a platform for women to tell stories through films.
Sofia says: “Someone once told me that there are three types of movies you can make: a movie that will make you money; a movie which you don’t much care if it makes money; and a social
commentary... a film that you are passionate about.”
Her short, 1 800 Baby, falls in the third category. 
“Personally, I feel strongly about this issue called teen pregnancy.”
Her 11-minute film is about an unmarried teenager who has no choice but to give up her child for adoption. Years later, the mother tries to find the child through a TV reality show. Her short was seen at the recent 18th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) 2013 in South Korea, which ended last Saturday. Sofia harbours no desire to direct a feature film in the near future. 
“There is so much I lack and I am not a trained director ... yet.”
Next year, she plans to pursue a degree in performing arts at a London university.
“Ultimately, when I return, I might want to teach. I enjoy teaching and sharing my knowledge.”

Sofia Jane as Mem in Hanyut that will hit Malaysian cinemas in December 

Sofia Jane as Bulan in Teater Kompilasi Namron that will be staged at Damansara Performing Arts Centre from Nov 1 to 3.