Category Archives: I’m Muslim Too!

Solo-journalists are intimate creatures!


zan flirting in iran

Solo-journalism is becoming somewhat of a fixture these days in the international journalism world. I’ve been doing it for almost a decade now in Malaysia and I see that there has been a bit of a resistance by journalists here, mainly those who work as staff employees.

It seems like they feel for a reporter to have to learn to handle the camera or video editing software is just having to something out of their official job description. And it goes the same for cameramen who are expected to learn to write scripts or even appear in front of the camera.

In fact, some broadcast journalists are even disgusted if they are expected to write an article for the web, and for print journalists to have to do a TV piece. It annoys the hell out of me.

I had been self-employed for ten years before I became a staff employee at a news organisation where I am now. And I would have starved to death during those ten years if I wasn’t a solo-journalist who could shoot a camera, edit a video, write an article, take photographs and appear in front of the camera.

It was the sheer financial and economic elements that made me do it (actually, I enjoy journalism so much that I just wanted to do it all anyway!). And that’s how I survived, by being multi-skilled and being able to offer more to my clients. I was a value-added vendor!

But honestly, there are so much more advantages to solo-journalism than just the economics side of it. The main reason I love it is the intimacy you get to foster with your subjects. When I shot my feature documentary ‘I’m Muslim Too!’ in Iran, I spent a week with the Persian metal band Arsames in the town of Mashhad. We really became buddies and it showed in the film. Also, the locals were just totally unintimidated by me because I was just this one guy walking around alone.

Yeah, things might get a little messy technical-wise since one person is doing everything, but the frankness of the story more than makes up for it. The guys from the band and I are friends till this day. But if you are careful and put in a little bit of effort, there shouldn’t be any reason why your work has to suffer technically anyway.
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Google’s top 2012 searches… that led to my website!


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2012 according to Google
By Zan Azlee

DEC 28 ― The year is coming to an end and it is time to look back and reflect upon the momentous events of the passing year. I thought it would be a good idea to look back at 2012’s top ten searches on Google… and that led to my website, Fatbidin.com!

10. Ridhuan Tee Abdullah

Number ten could be one that has given me the most pleasure this year. I disagree with everything this academician, TV host and writer ― whose real name is Tee Chuan Seng ― says. We had a brief heated exchange in our respective columns (his is in Sinar Harian), from which I emerged victorious.

9. Kabul

Being the gloriously brave war journalist and adrenaline junkie that I am, I went to Afghanistan to shoot a documentary. After a decade of war and after the Taliban, it’s quite a surprise that the country is still getting media coverage.

8. Bersih 3.0

This has to be one of the lowest points of the year. I witnessed things that I don’t ever want to witness in Malaysia again. The police were brutally attacking demonstrators and even journalists like a bunch of street thugs ― after they removed their nametags, of course. But the spirit of Malaysians that gathered, now that was a high point.

[Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Athena Azlee’s first interview and photoshoot with the press!


It’s Hari Raya and Merdeka!! And Athena handles her first interview and photoshoot with The Star very well indeed! (Click on the image below to read the article)

Happy Hari Raya and Merdeka everyone!

Come to the 6th World Islamic Economic Forum to get a chance to see me!


Come one! Come all! I have been invited to speak at the 6th World Islamic Economic Forum 2010 under the Marketplace of Creative Arts! I’ll be talking and screening clips from my films ‘I’M MUSLIM TOO!‘ and ‘THE LIFE & TIMES OF AN ISLAMIC INSURGENCY‘. Come and you might even get the chance to touch me!

Date & Time: 18th May (12:30pm), 19th May 2010 (2pm)
Venue: Conference Hall 2, Level 3, KL Convention Centre
(Click on the images below for more details)

Marketplace Schedule
Marketplace Speakers

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]