KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — Budak Flat is the first Malaysian Amazon Original effort having premiered on the Prime Video platform on November 16.
The film, which is currently trending at number one on Prime Video Malaysia revolves around the brotherhood of gang life at a public housing area in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
Featuring the backdrop of one of the oldest public housing areas at Jalan San Peng, Budak Flat follows the story of two brothers, Aman and Riz who find themselves reluctantly pitted against each other.
Budak Flat, by Skop Productions boasts a stellar lineup of established names in its cast including Zahiril Adzim, Pablo Amirul, Nabila Huda as well as Datuk Aaron Aziz.
Joining for his film debut is rapper Balan Kash, while the production is also the first full length feature film debut for director Eugene Lim.
'Budak Flat 'is Eugene Lim's directorial debut. — Picture courtesy of Eugene Lim.
Lim told Malay Mail that the film pays homage to, and is a reflection of his personal childhood memories living in a flat unit in Jalan Hang Tuah along with six other family members, raised by his grandmother.
He said he became more aware of the social issues happening around the area growing up and admitted that he and his cousins and sister were well-sheltered by their grandmother when they were kids.
Lim wanted to highlight the notoriety of the flats, without ignoring the multicultural life often overlooked by many.
“Growing up I would hear and smell all kinds of things and of course the people there spoke a variety of languages as well.
“We lived on the seventh floor and each floor would have their own personality to it.”
“For example if you walk through a floor which has a majority of Malays living there, you could smell the sambal belacan being cooked while the floor with majority of Indians, obviously there were the prayers and the bells,” he said.
“Even the music being played on each floor would differ and these are just the different blend of flavours that I grew up with and I want to share those experiences into the film.”
Lim chose the Seri Selangor flat in Jalan San Peng as the film’s main location as it's distinctive arrangement of the building blocks, as well as his familiarity with the area as it used to be his childhood playground.
He said that the idea to write the Budak Flat story came to him after listening to the 2016 hit song of the same name by Keramat rapper Aman Ra and the song was also inducted as one of the official soundtrack for the film.
With Budak Flat being Lim’s first film, he said he was grateful for the support and guidance of Skop Productions’ Syafiq Yusof who came on to the project as the film’s advisor.
'Budak Flat' is also the acting debut for local rapper Balan Kash who took up the role of Sotong in the film. — Picture courtesy of Eugene Lim.
Meanwhile, for the cast members of Budak Flat, shooting at the location during Ramadan back in late March to early April this year was an experience like no other.
Although there were a few incidents like bottles thrown at them to getting splashed with water from the upper levels during their shoot, Zahiril for one said the actions don't represent the residents in the flat.
He stressed that he felt safe during the whole shooting period and the neighbourhood association of the Seri Selangor flat was very accommodating.
“We were treated really well by the community there.
“I remember I came across some of the abang from the neighbourhood association when I was walking back and they kept close tabs on me to make sure I safely arrived at the location.”
Balan said that he had met successful people from the community and were treated kindly during their shoot.
“I knew about the San Peng flats since I was young and there’s two dimensions to it.
“I knew a lot of successful people who came out of there, some who went to universities and were well educated.
“We Malaysians love to focus on the negative side but when I was walking through some houses during the shoot, everyone was kind and one of the residents even offered me coffee. There are a lot of positive aspects there,”
On making his debut acting appearance, Balan added that he was grateful to be working alongside stars of the local industry who also became his teachers while on set.