‘Less talk, more action’: Malaysian film industry practitioners to Finas

Arif Zikri
Finas recently announced its new board members along with the appointment of their new chairman Zakaria Abdul Hamid. — Picture from Facebook/Finas Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — Members of the local film industry are far from complimentary of the performance of the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas), and many are hoping that the new leadership announced will bring much needed changes.

For actor, director and producer Afdlin Shauki, who heads the outfit did not matter, as long as the needs of the industry are met.

“I don’t like to go into politics but I do hope the next person in charge could help out the industry.

“As long as they are doing their best for the industry and not let us down, I am okay with that,” Said Afdlin.

Afdlin had previously taken time off from the filming industry as he felt that previous Finas board members were not taking real actions to boost the film industry.

Maya Karin said Finas was important to the industry and she hoped those entrusted were not just keen on lobbying for positions. — Picture from Instagram/Maya Karin

For actress Maya Karin however, the line-up to head Finas requires a person of merit with an interest to do the work of leading them instead of just merely lobbying and occupying a position of power.

“There are many cases where people are just lobbying for a position and not really for the job.

“Finas is an important institution for us, for our film industry and for our Malaysia culture and communication.”

“The chairman or CEO should be a person of merit, people who are dedicated, people who know what they are doing and people who are fair,” she said.

Who’s in charge doesn’t matter, just what they do for the industry according to Afdlin Shauki. — Picture from Instagram/Afdlin Shauki

Independent filmmaker and writer Amir Muhammad agrees that the new leader of Finas should be someone that could identify the problems plaguing the industry, and initiate solutions while paving the way forward for the filming industry.

“There are many success stories around the region and the person needs to identify what works best in a Malaysian context.

“The person needs to be familiar with how the system here works but should also avoid conflict of interest by not being a currently active practitioner,” Amir said.

Amir meanwhile wondered aloud over the promise of investigating the corruption in film grants which was announced by the Pakatan Harapan government in its early days.

“This is among the things that make people sceptical that Finas will really change. Less talk, more action,” he said.

Pete Teo believes a crossover market for the film industry could help in nation building. — Picture from Instagram/Pete Teo

Although he refused comment on the new board members of Finas, local filmmaker Pete Teo had suggestions to further improve the Malaysia film industry.

According to Teo, the lack of viability in the filming industry in Malaysia has made it hard for talents to develop their career.

He added that the industry simply didn’t make enough effort to deepen the local domestic consumption of our own products.

“So it all really starts from how small our market and how fragmented our market really is.

 “And if they’re really serious in trying in the long term, to improve the quality of the product of our industry then they ought to start dealing with it at the level of how to increase the size of our domestic market,” he said.

Teo suggested that the film industry indulge in crossover markets so that all the different communities would watch each other’s films and he also said that it is also a fantastic vehicle in nation building where everybody understands each other’s stories.

“The most immediate thing that we can do is to increase the size of the domestic market.

“Because once you have a crossover market, the market is big enough and then only we’re able to support our own industry,” he said.

Finas’ new chairman Zakaria Abdul Hamid, deputy chairman Datuk Norman Abdul Halim and the newly-appointed board members will serve Finas until May 22, 2022.

It has been widely speculated among the film fraternity that the vacant position of chief executive officer will be filled next week, and director and producer Ahmad Idham is rumoured to resume the post which he previously held.

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