Sabahans could be Earth’s saviours!


Sabahans could be Earth’s saviours
By Zan Azlee

The movement and collection of heat and carbon dioxide caused by pollution and global warming shows a worrying trend for countries near the equator. Satellite images show that it is heading towards the equator where most of the world’s forests are, and that includes Malaysia, and more specifically Sabah and Sarawak.

The reason why the forest areas are the places heat and carbon dioxide gathers is because only the forests have the natural ability to actually treat the problem. And what is more interesting, studies have shown that the areas where most of the world’s forests are, are also places that have the most numbers of languages spoken.

This study was made known to me yesterday, at the start of the 2013 Borneo Eco Film Festival in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, by speaker and festival organizer, Agnes Agama. I’m convinced the study, conducted by Terralingua.Org, is true seeing that the Amazon has so many different tribes and ethnicities and different languages.

And I am even more convinced when I see Sarawak and, more specifically, Sabah where there are also many different ethnicities and languages. It also seems totally logical without an ounce of coincidence that the responsibility of saving the earth falls on areas that have such wide biocultural diversity.

If you have ever been to Sabah, then you would know that the relationship amongst people of different races and religions is different than in Malaya. [Click to read the full article at English.AstroAwani.Com]

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Journalist Tim Pool, TIME magazine’s Person of the Year 2011

Social media journalism
By Zan Azlee

JUNE 22 — Recently, on the invitation of the British Council and FINAS, I attended the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival in the United Kingdom. While there, I took every opportunity to engage with other documentary film-makers and journalists who were in attendance.

Among those I was looking forward to meeting was Tim Pool, the journalist who garnered fame after live-streaming the Occupy Wall Street protests last September. He live-streamed the raid on the Zuccoti Park protest for 21 hours non-stop, which immediately turned him into one of the most well-known journalists of the moment.

His coverage was picked up by several news organisations and he was even nominated as one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine. He was scheduled to hold a talk in Sheffield on his experience covering the OWS movement as a social media journalist.

The talk was informative and also exciting as he screened several clips from his “live” coverage of the protests in New York. I sat down with him after the crowd left. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

I guess my New Media isn’t so new!

Newer new media
By Zan Azlee

JUNE 15 — I’ve always had the idea that multimedia or interactive content meant that it had to be able to be delivered over traditional and also new media. Basically, I thought that if you produce this kind of content, you could have a version on television, radio, print and the Internet at the same time. Many of my documentary projects have been based on this concept and have always been designed so I can adapt the content for any kind of media.

For example, my latest project, which I shot in Afghanistan, appeared on television, the Internet and print media. And to be honest, I think that this particular concept is already quite interesting and innovative. In fact, it has allowed my content to be more widely accessible. But this week, I had this point of view totally transformed. I’m currently attending the Sheffield Documentary Film Festival in England as part of the Malaysian delegation. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

When creative minds get together – The Marketplace of Creative Arts, Singapore

And so you all knew I went to the WIEF’s Marketplace of Creative Arts in Singapore on the 19th of February 2011. Below are some pictures and videos along with an article I wrote for The Malaysian Insider.

When creative minds get together
By Zan Azlee

MARCH 4 – Filmmaking to me is almost like a solitary process. Being a solo-journalist, I write, shoot, edit and do everything as a one-man crew. To me, it’s almost like writing or painting, whereby the writer or artist produces artwork in solitude, almost like meditation. I enjoy the process very much as it gives me total control of my work. It is also a form of discovery for me – about the subjects of my films and also about myself.

However, sometimes being in solitude doesn’t do much good for the creative soul. To be a creative artist, one needs to sometimes interact with like minded souls. So, when I was invited to the World Islamic Economic Forum’s Marketplace of Creative Arts in Singapore (held for the second year), I jumped at the chance. [Click to read the rest of the article at The Malaysian Insider]

Tun Musa Hitam (Chairman of WIEF Foundation) does his best Facebook pose!

Some panel discussion going on.

This was the panel discussion to be at since I was a part of this one! Topic: All the World is a Stage- Role of Education & Information in Propagating Appreciation of the Arts

Me, Sirajuddin (one of the Singaporean organisers) and Yosep Anggi (a filmmaker from Jogjakarta)

Of all people to bump into... I bumped into Amanda.... We acted together once in a film called 'Benda Aneh Bernama Cinta', directed by Azharr Rudin.

Click here to watch the trailer of ‘Benda Aneh Bernama Cinta’.

The whole lot

I had to indulge an adoring fan!

And a video of Otam during rehearsals.

I’ll be in Singapore screening some films and speaking… come catch me in the flesh!

I’ve been invited this year (again!) to screen some of my films and to speak at the World Islamic Economic Forum’s Marketplace of Creative Arts in Singapore, this 19th February 2011, at the Asian Civilisations Museum near the Esplanade Park. Click here to check out more information on the event. So all you fans of mine should come out in droves! Singaporeans… here’s your chance to see me in the flesh… my very sexy flesh!!

“The WIEF Young Leaders Network is coming up with another excellent showcase on creative arts. This time it will be just next door in Lion City – Singapore, organised in partnership with the Young Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) in Singapore. This will be the Marketplace’s first ever regional leg, focusing on up-and-coming artists in the Southeast Asian region namely Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Phil…ippines. Visual artists, great musicians, exotic dancers and thought-provoking filmmakers awaiting you in the city of lions. Excellent venue, near the Esplanade Park and by the Singapore river.

For those who are interested to attend, please be informed that this is a registered event i.e. only registered participants are allowed entry (no walk-ins on event day), and for licensing purposes we have limited the crowd to 300 participants for the day. We have to close registration if we reach 300. So, if you want to book your place, please register online by clicking here. First come, first served!”

Indonesians and Malaysians talk about films in Berkeley

(Left-Right) Zan Azlee, Dr Marshall Clark, Elyna Shukri, Jajang C. Noer and Dr Sarah Maxim, director of Centre of Southeast Asia Sudies

So I’m still in California for the Islam Today Arts & Culture Festival at UC Berkeley and I recently was part of a panel discussion which consisted of the late Yasmin Ahmad’s producer, Elyna Shukri, veteran Indonesian actress, Jajang C. Noer, and moderated by Dr Marshall Clark from Deakin University in Australia.

It was a great discussion of course! So great that I had to write about it in my latest column at The Malaysian Insider!

Malaysia and Indonesia — how we make films

By Zan Azlee
APRIL 23 — I’m still suffering from the cold winds of the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently, after the screening of my films and lecture at University of California, Berkeley, I was part of a panel discussion entitled ‘Making movies in Indonesia and Malaysia”.

Aside from me, the other panellists included the late Yasmin Ahmad’s producer, Elyna Shukri, and veteran Indonesian actress, Jajang C. Noer. It was moderated by Dr Marshall Clark from Deakin University in Australia.

First of all, I was a little intimidated being in the presence of such experienced industry professionals. Elyna had produced some of Malaysia’s most thought-provoking films in recent history, while Jajang has starred in more films than the years I have been alive! [Click to read the rest of the article]

Rainbow greetings from San Francisco!

Rainbow greetings from San Francisco! I’m attending the Islam Today Arts & Culture Festival at UC Berkeley. My films have screened and I also gave a lecture there. Everything’s good and thank god for good lobster!

Outside the screening venue in Berkeley. Notice the huge crowd gathering around me trying to catch my films!

I gave a lecture to a group of students at the University of California, Berkeley. It was fun and we had a laugh!

These are the professors... Prof. Jeffrey Hadler and Dr. Sarah Maxim.

Lobster babyyyy!!

And.. here’s this week’s column for The Malaysian Insider.

How much did that film cost?

By Zan Azlee
APRIL 16 — Here I am at the San Francisco Bay Area, with the freezing cold wind blowing in my face, giving me extremely chapped lips.
I came here to attend the Islam Today Arts & Culture Festival, organised by University of California, Berkeley’s Centre of Southeast Asia Studies.
They were screening two films of mine, and had invited me to give a lecture and be part of a panel discussion.
[Click to read the rest of the article]

Now I’m off to The Castro!

The Islam Today Arts & Culture Festival in San Francisco gets a dose of Fat Bidin!

Looks like FAT BIDIN is gonna rock the San Francisco Bay area!

Two of my films (I’m Muslim Too! and The Life & Times of an Islamic Insurgency) will be screening at the University of California, Berkeley’s Islam Today Arts & Culture Festival. So I’ll be heading to San Francisco this Friday and will be there for a couple of weeks. I’m pretty excited since I’m also scheduled to give some talks over there.

So if you’re in the vicinity next week (12th to 22nd April 2010) and would like to get a good look at my beautiful face, come on over! Check out the website and schedule here.

Oh… other Malaysian films that will be screening there aside from mine include Yasmin Ahmad’s (Gubra and Muallaf) as well as Amir Muhammad’s (Village People Radio Show and Malaysian Gods).

My report on Malaysian polygamy for VPRO TV in Holland

Yo yo! What can I say? I’m going to sound like a broken record but… I’ve been so BUSY!! Been lecturing at the university (one of the heaviest semesters I’ve ever had!)… and trying to complete a historical documentary for ASTRO… before going to San Francisco for the University of California, Berkeley’s Islam Today Film Festival at the end of this week! Damn!!!!

But still I managed to complete a report for Dutch TV station VPRO’s Metropolis TV. It’s about polygamy in Malaysia… I shot a polygamous Muslim family… four wives and 17 kids! It went on air in Holland last Saturday… but you can watch it online by clicking here.

I’M MUSLIM TOO! HEADING TO THE BORDER tours with the Freedom Film Festival!

Alright! Looks like my film I’M MUSLIM TOO! Heading to the border won’t be seeing the light of day on Malaysian television thanks to the ban! But no worries! The kind folks at KOMAS have decided to bring it on their 2009 Freedom Film Festival tour around Malaysia.

Here are the dates and venue:
Kuala Lumpur – The Annexe, Central Market (3pm, 3rd October)
Penang – Han Chiang College (3pm, 10th October)
Kuching – Sek Men Chung Hua 1 (3pm, 24th October)
Johor Bahru – Tropical Inn (3pm, 31st October)

I’ll try and show up at a couple of these venues. So come and get an autograph from me! Haha!

Visit the Freedom Film Festival website for more information.

Want me to be your mentor?

Have you heard of APOSTROPHE? Its a yearly art project organised and sponsored by DiGi. Its been going on for two years now (the first focused on literature while the second was on photography). This year is the third installment and it will focus on filmmaking. I’ve been asked to be one of the mentors (the others are Azharr Rudin, Woo Ming Jin, Tan Chui Mui and Mussadique Suleiman). There was an article in The Star recently which you can read.

Recognising how my blog has such a massive cult following, the organisers kindly asked me if I could help promote the project. And being the humble superstar celebrity that I am, I obliged.

Basically, its a competition where all you need to do is to produce a film between 90sec and 160sec based on the theme ‘makan’. Winners will win prizes and a trip to some obscure country, I think. Just go visit the website at Apostrophegallery.com for more information. Once there, you’ll also get to see the works of the mentors which were done specifically for the project.

I cheated though… I cut out a short scene from my film ‘I’m Muslim Too!’ which I thought fit the ‘makan’ theme and could stand alone. The video above is of the original scene from my film. For the purpose of the Apostrophe project, I did make a slight adjustment (I’m not that much of a cheat!). So if you want to watch that version, check out the website, yeah?

(The 2008 General Election heat is still pretty intense. I have so much documented on video which would be great to release online right now, but I think I should hold on as the main purpose is to complete the feature length film, ‘I May Be Malaysian, But I Carry A Big Stick’, and not to have a newsflash blog. Woo!! Suspense wohh!!! Can’t wait for the film huh? Well… there’s still a little bit of shooting to do and then editing. So just hang on.)

Seng Tat eats a lot of pork!
February 2, 2008, 8:59 pm
Filed under: film, film festival

Bloody hell! Seng Tat’s movie ‘Flower In The Pocket’ wins again! This time in Rotterdam! It must be all the pork he eats! Congrats!

I think its still playing in GSC… so go catch it quick!

Seng Tat wins at Pusan!
October 12, 2007, 5:56 pm
Filed under: film, film festival, video blog

Liew Seng Tat’s film ‘Flower In The Pocket’ just won the Pusan International Film Festival’s New Currents Award and the KNN Audience Award. Dude…. WOOHOO!!

Searching for Sheila
June 17, 2007, 2:24 pm
Filed under: directing, documentary, film, film festival, new media, video blog

Keroncong in Jogja eight months before the earthquake. But everyone is doing fine after. As for this film, its boring. Don’t waste your time. If you do watch it, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Searching for Sheila (2006)
Synopsis :
When the filmmakers went to Jogjakarta in Indonesia, they were hoping to find the popular Indon rock band ‘Sheila on 7′. They searched high and low throughout the city…
- Jakarta SlingShortFest 2006
- Malaysian Documentaries 2006
- 2007 Singapore Indie Documentary Film Festival

June 5, 2007, 7:44 pm
Filed under: awards, directing, documentary, film, film festival, journalism, video blog

Part 1 of 3.

Part 2 of 3.

Part 3 of 3.

I made this film in 2004 after watching a couple of Errol Morris’ films. Muahaha! The film is 30 minutes long but I’ve broken it up into three parts here for easier online viewing.

R.A.H.M.A.N. (2004)
Synopsis : Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, is such a respected man. So much so that his name RAHMAN has been turned into a prophecy in determining all future Prime Ministers of the country; R – Rahman, A – Abdul Razak, H – Hussein Onn, M – Mahathir Mohamed, A – Abdullah Badawi. While N has yet to come, many predict that it will be the current Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Razak. How true is this prophecy? And what is in store for the country after R.A.H.M.A.N. runs its course? This documentary is a snapshot of the lives of several Malaysians during the country’s 2004 11th General Elections.
Screenings & Awards:
- Malaysian Video Awards 2004 (‘Best Short Film – Documentary’, Silver Award)
- 2004 Asian Film Symposium (Singapore)

Popiahs, Murtabaks and a Patriotic Donkey
May 31, 2007, 3:44 pm
Filed under: awards, directing, documentary, film, film festival, video blog

My first work to be invited to an international film festival. I like it. I think it’s funny. You may now kill yourself for the time wasted here.

Popiahs, Murtabaks and a Patriotic Donkey (2003)
Genre: Documentary/Video Essay
Role: Director, Producer, Writer, Editor
Screenings & Awards:
- 26th New York Asian-American International Film Festival 2003
- The Emergency Filmmaking Project 2003 (Singapore)
- Cyberjaya Digital Video Competition 2003 Gold Award (Humour and Spoof)
- 2004 Eksperimento Film & Video Festival (Philippines)

March 28, 2007, 11:15 pm
Filed under: directing, documentary, film, film festival, The Look-East Project

Thanks to everyone who came for the preview screening of The Look-East Project AKA Pandang Ke Timur. All your comments and questions made my day! Also, a big shout out to Mr. John and Mrs. Silva… thanks so much for your support. Last but not least… thanks to Amir and Tuck Cheong for making the screening possible. For those of you who missed it, you will have to wait for its broadcast on ntv7 on Merdeka Eve!

‘Tudung’ and ‘Sheila’ screen in Singapore
February 6, 2007, 2:37 am
Filed under: directing, documentary, film, film festival

Two Fat Bidin films have been selected for the 2007 Singapore Indie Documentary Film Festival.

Tudung (2005), Directors: Liew Seng Tat & Zan Azlee
“What is the purpose of the tudung? Is it to keep things clean and fresh?”
Screening Details:
6 March, 7.30pm
The Substation Theatre, Singapore

Searching for Sheila (2006), Director: Zan Azlee
“When the filmmakers went to Jogjakarta in Indonesia, they were hoping to find the popular Indon rock band ‘Sheila on 7′. They searched high and low throughout the city…”
Screening Details:
10 March, 8.30pm
The Substation Theatre, Singapore

So… book your tickets to Singapore now! And if you are Malaysian and can prove that you were at the screenings of my films… I shall give you a free DVD of my first feature film ‘The Look-East Project’! DING DING DING DING!! FREE GIFT BONANZA!!! (But no bungalow with a pooooool!)

Things are getting hectic

I’ve been pretty busy lately. So instead of a ‘Look-East’ video blog entry, I’m offering an old documentary entitled ‘Tudung’ I did with the supposedly cute and talented Liew Seng Tat. It was originally done for the Goethe Institute’s Tudung Short Film Competition but has also gone on to screen at the 2006 Los Angeles Asia Pacific Film Festival.

Editing ‘The Look-East Project’ is taking up a lot of time. Hours of footage to look through and I’m no where close to coming up with a proper structure. But it’s fun, so no worries. I’ve also been doing some other work such as writing proposals for several future film projects which, rest assured, will be announced here if everything goes according to plan.

And… I’ll be lecturing again at HELP University-College after taking a two month break. I’ll be teaching the ‘Intro to Film’ course which I have taught several times before, and a new subject called ‘IT, Mass Media and Society’, which shouldn’t be a problem since I’ve been a bloody IT journalist since 2000! Students always mistake me for being one of them (thanks to my boyish good looks!) so I can’t wait to see if any girls hit on me on the first day of classes next week!

‘Sheila’ screens in Indonesia
November 26, 2006, 3:51 pm
Filed under: directing, documentary, film, film festival

My documentary film, Searching For Sheila was recently selected to screen at the Jakarta SlingShort Fest 2006. If you weren’t in Jakarta at the time, you can download and view the film at Outphace.com. It’s DA BOMB!!! And remember… if you can’t understand it… that means it’s ART!!


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