Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Jejak Warriors & Saw Teong Hin

The director ... Saw Teong Hin
Football. Fatherhood. Family … these elements will be found in the Malaysian made film Jejak Warriors. The director of the film Saw Teong Hin spoke to theSun about the challenges he faced in the film.  The article was published today. Here is the full article

Headline: On a Journey of Discovery
By Bissme S

Director Saw Teong Hin tackles the theme of family and fatherhood played out in the world of the ‘greatest game on earth’ in his latest film, Jejak Warriors, which will be released in cinemas nationwide on Aug 27.
The film stars Mohd Aliff Firdaus, Pekin Ibrahim, Nadiya Nissa, Harun Salim Bachik and Ogy Ahmad Daud. And playing a major supporting role in this football film is Kelantan’s state team The Red Warriors.Some of The Red Warriors key players who will be playing themselves in the film include Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor, Mohd Fitri Omar and Ahmad Fakri Saarani. Jejak Warriors centres on young teenager Wan Raja (Mohd Aliff), who loses his father in an unfortunate accident. While going through his father’s belongings, Wan Raja learn that he was a big fan of Kelantan’s The Red Warriors. The team has a huge and loyal fanbase and has won the Malaysia Cup in 2010.Hoping to honour his father’s spirit, Wan Raja decides to travel from his home in Johor Baru to the city of Kota Baru to meet The Red Warriors. Along the way, he encounters many adventures.
Helming the film is Saw, an industry veteran with some 20 years of experience directing and producing not only films but also advertisements and music videos. Saw made his feature film directorial debut with Puteri Gunung Ledang, which was the first Malaysian film featured at the Venice International Film Festival in 2004. He has also directed Apa Kata Hati? (2008) and Hoore! Hoore! (2012).
In this interview, Saw shares his thoughts on the local film industry and the challenges he faced making Jejak Warriors.

*Tell us more about Jejak Warriors?
We rarely make sports movies here. You do not have to be a sports fan to enjoy this film. [Playing a] sport is an activity that inspires us to strive to be better and to never give up. [All of us] are constantly striving to make our lives better. Sometimes our plans work out successfully, and sometimes they fail. But when we fail, we learn to pick up the pieces and continue with our struggle to make our lives better.

*What was it like directing the football players in Jejak Warriors.?
They are not actors. They were nervous in front of the camera. They were afraid they [would not know] where to stand and what kind of expressions to present for the  camera. I had an acting coach (actress Fauziah Nawi) to give them a few acting tips before filming.The good thing is they are playing themselves. I just asked them to be natural. The only problem was [their commitment to their football career]. I had to make sure our shooting schedule fit around their matches.”

*Do you face any challenges as a filmmaker in Malaysia?
Any filmmaker who tells you that he/she is completely happy is lying. There are so many constraints that we have to face as filmmakers in this country – from censorship to financing the movies. You must learn to work around these, and make the best of your situation. No one is spared the trails and tribulations.As a filmmaker, I handle my problems
stoically and cheerfully. You can easily focus on your problems but sometimes, that is not going to help you. Frankly speaking, you must find joy in the things you do.

* What are some of your challenges?
The market is dominated by certain genres of films and the producers want you to make films that will appeal to the audience. When you want to make a film that is out of the box, it is hard to get the funding. “I’m lucky that my next film project is one that is close to my heart. I have always wanted to make a Penang Hokkien film and the dream is slowly coming true. The film, You Mean the World to Me, will start shooting in September. It is a family drama about love and forgiveness. I wrote the script last year. But I could not find the funding for it. So I presented it as a stage play last year and managed to secure some financial backing for a movie.”

* What kind relationship did you share with your own father?
My father passed away in 2005. We were close. He was a businessman, a rice miller. But his business failed. It was difficult for him and the family. But there was no self-pity. He did not let his failure break him. He became a van driver to support us. I did not grow up in a wealthy environment. But I was a happy child. With him, I had experienced unconditional love.
Scenes from Jejak Warriors 

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