This is a condensed chronicle about the production of a short film entitled Sikap in 2017, featuring Tun Dr. Mahathir, Malaysia’s 4th Prime Minister, and potentially our 7th…
The idea came about from a personal encounter with Tun and his wife Tun Siti Hasmah feeding koi fish in their handsomely curated koi pond every time they arrived or before leaving Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya.
This observation got stuck in my head and gradually developed itself into a story. I’ve always had this romantic dream to turn my observation into films (I called them romantic because one, I am not a filmmaker and two, I have no money to produce them).
Until I met a young man.
Nazirul Haziq or Naz is the founder of HASFA that stands for HAS (which is also another acronym for something that may sound like a terrorist outfit), and FA (i.e Filmmaking Academy). HASFA is now part of Naz’s many creative entities under HAS Production.
Naz is a huge bundle of talent. A young indie short filmmaker-cum-videographer-cum-photographer-and-a published writer too. I was introduced to him by my wife who had followed all of HASFA’s projects like a hawk (or a stalker). In term of age Naz is two decades younger than I am, so that says a lot about the depth, the quality of his vision and his talent, and I was more than happy to befriend him.
We collaborated in a few projects and planned for many more but to cut a long story short, one day Naz sets up an FB page called Tangki Idea (Ideation Tank), purposely built to collect and archive stories that are film-worthy. I was all for it and quickly uploaded my ‘Tun feeding the koi” paragraph into his Tank.
He liked the idea but I knew he was not too enthusiastic about converting it into a film. And I too was not yet ready to kill my dream, therefore I decided to give in a little to his fussiness. I remember telling him, “Naz, make your own story, as long as you include my Tun feeding the fish episode in them.” Immediately his face gleamed like a prophet and I knew then he had a complete script already prepared.
So then my synopsis became part of Naz’s script and later a storyboard. Naz started to assemble a team of crews and talents and worked up a practical budget of about fifty thousand ringgit. I, on the other hand, was beginning to experience sleepless nights, quietly blaming myself for my stupid ideas. How in the world am I going to ask Tun to act in a super short film, directed and produced by a bunch of young amateurs? And where in hell would I find the money?
I’ve seen Tun before in my capacity as an NGO activist and I’ve also hosted a couple of program with him either as the guest of honor or as a panelist. Heck, I’ve even written quite a few letters to him, drafted his speech for an event and wrote his foreword for a book. Wait, there’s a pattern here that I should follow! Let’s write him a letter asking to meet up and explain the idea. Hopefully, he’ll buy them.
I sent those letter out hoping to get an overwhelming response from the former head of state (I was still dreaming probably). In actual fact, it took us almost two months to get a reply and by then, all hopes to produce a film with Tun in it had almost died. I was actually very casual about sharing the news with Naz’s and his crew.
But the rest was history. Sikap 1.0 was well received by Tun and by the public. Did I mentioned earlier how Naz worked up a RM50k budget to produce his opus? Wel, in the end, we produced Sikap at a relatively zero cost, all thanks to Naz and his equally passionate crew, to WADI Malaysia for believing in the dream and to Perdana Leadership Foundation for trusting us to tell a little story about a great man.
Thank you all!
Post Script: If you notice the addition of the number 1.0 to the Sikap title, you’ve guessed it right, there will be sequels coming up very soon!
You can also visit this link to take a look at Sikap 1.0 premiered March 9th 2017! https://youtu.be/UkGvv-HRHe8