Tag 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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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).

How a documentary filmmaker and a TV news anchor ended up together! Aww… how sweet!


An article in the Malay Mail about how a documentary filmmaker and a news anchor ended up together! Aww… how sweet! My favourite part is where the writer stated my age being 26! Muahahaha! [Click here or here to read the article]

Okay… you can throw up now!