KK film-making hub proposal gets govt support

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Liew (second left) with Jude (left), Rolf (second right) and Hassan (right) at the 10th KKIFF.

KOTA KINABALU: The State Government supports the idea of making Kota Kinabalu a film-making hub for Sabah and perhaps the region, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew.

She said Sabah has what it takes to emerge as a ‘home’ of the film industry in the not too distant future.

“We offer a diverse range of location shootings for film production locally, regionally and hopefully, internationally. And we have a pool of personalities from talented producers, directors, actors and actresses to crew.

“As Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, I am very much in tune with what Kota Kinabalu International Film Festival organisers are doing. In fact, it is part of my plan for the government to start off Kota Kinabalu as a hub for the film industry,” she said to applause when officiating at the closing night of the 10th KKIFF Festival at MBO Imago Mall here Saturday.

According to Liew, she has identified several sites for film production facilities and infrastructure, following preliminary meetings with existing and potential film producers and makers from Sabah and the international arena.

“They approached me at the ministry on their need for a studio complex for film production. We are still in the discussion stage.”

The 10th KKIFF was marked by Cinebalu (Non-Competitive Category) and PESTA10 Filmmakers Competition. The figure 10 signifies short films up to 10 minutes long and KKIFF’s 10th anniversary.

“The fact that KKIFF received nearly 300 submissions for Cinebalu and 200 entries for PESTA10 Filmmakers Competition from all over Southeast Asia this year is a clear indication that there is no dearth of film-making  talents from  Sabah and the region.

“Apparently, KK is becoming a gathering place for filmmakers from around the region,” Liew pointed out.

Of the 300 submissions, 27 films from 16 countries (including Sabah and Malaysia) were selected for Cinebalu, 20 of which were from Southeast Asia, and the rest from Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Japan, Argentina, Brazil and France. Twenty were selected and screened during the past week.

Meanwhile, Liew congratulated KKIFF on its sustainability as an independent film festival that was born and bred in Kota Kinabalu, and as the longest-running independent film festival in Malaysia since its inception 10 years ago.

“We are aware that KKIFF has played an important part in the development of local filmmakers as well as supporting the film industry both locally and regionally,” she said.

Saying the KKIFF is establishing a reputation as a place to showcase regional film-making talent as well as a platform for emerging filmmakers to show their newest movies, the minister assured the organisation of continued support from her ministry.

“Do continue your laudable work. My office door is always open. Please drop by if you need any assistance in the future,” she said.

KKIFF Festival director Jude Day reported that over the last 10 years, over 150 films were shown to more than 4,500 movie fans.

“KKIFF prides itself on highlighting movies from Southeast Asia as well as Malaysia and Sabah in particular.”

The minister, who was introduced to Tony Pietra Arjuna, wished him all the best with national and international distribution of his film “Shadowplay”.

She also met with the director of Goethe-Institut Malaysia, Rolf Stehle, founder of Kelab Seni Filem Malaysia, Wong Tuck Cheong, chief judge for KKIFF’s PESTA10 Filmmakers’ Competition, Hassan Muthalib, trainer for KKIFF’s Sabah Pitching Training and Awards Programme, Mark Overett and lead actress Juria Hartmans.

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