THE National Film Development Corp (Finas) is focusing on setting the direction for the film industry and to ensure its foundation is sustainable to keep funding local creators, both experienced and newcomers.
Finas chairman Datuk Gerald Hans Isaac (picture) said there is a need to ensure filmmakers have the fiscal support they need in filmmaking.
“Obviously we have a lot of old practitioners, or filmmakers who have been present for many years and they have their ways — we understand that and we respect it.
“We also need to consider the newer generation of filmmakers that have their own method of storytelling that is coming up, but the truth is these storytellers need funds and they have to have the fiscal support to create,” he said.
Hans said at the moment, the team is made up of all different people and with different mindsets.
“But we try to work with the system to get good results by people management, getting people on board with what we’re trying to do rather than dictating. I think dictation does not work anymore today.
“It is getting everyone to invest in themselves, the industry and let them know that legacy matters,” he added. In terms of Finas’ direction, Hans Issac said there is a structural basis whereby the board of directors dictate the direction, with the Communications and Multimedia minister’s endorsement.
The management is tasked to execute the plans.
“We practise this structure very seriously and it has been in place for a while, but I think it wasn’t practised in the right manner of what the structure was,” he said. He also said, the board makes a lot of decisions on what happens to the industry.
“And on the topic of inheritance, I don’t complain about what has happened in the past or if anybody did wrong. The thing is, this is just what happens when a new team comes in to restructure, we are here to readjust the legacy from when we start to take these seats,” he said.
Additionally, he said the agency is yet to hold a dialogue with media-services providers such as Netflix Malaysia and iflix on licencing issues.
“We will get to that corner soon, but we have yet to see if we stand where they stand and as there will be changes to our licences and acts.
“Obviously they are much like another revenue stream like a broadcaster, and they are more accessible,” he said.
Meanwhile, in regards to how local filmmakers’ works, he said Finas will be present as a facilitator and will not dictate how a creator should work and tell their stories.
“Everybody’s creativity is different, and we are not here to dictate how to tell stories but we will try to facilitate the best manner that you can do it and guide our creativity to where the protection plans that’s in place in Finas, which will be changing in the next few months,” he said.
According to him, Finas had formulated ten packages to be presented to the industry that are expected to shift the dynamics of its ecosystem. “You’ve got your directions, but what are the packages that you plan to show to the industry?
“So, we’ve created 10 packages that we feel can change the dynamics of the film industry, and we will announce what these packages are when the time is right.”
He added that there are plenty of things to change due to the dynamic nature of the film being so closely related to multimedia.
“In multimedia, the industry changes, there is something new every year, so the acts and licenses we have will also have to change, but there is a procedure to go through,” said Hans Issac.
Hans Issac also believes that animation is a more cost-effective method to market a local movie internationally, citing Upin & Ipin: Keris Siamang Tunggal as an example.
“For animation, you can always change the lip-syncing and dub over to appeal to international markets while for local films to go far, it will require some thinking in order to appeal to the global audience,” he said.
He said the producers of the movie will be receiving an award in China in the coming week for their efforts in appealing to the international markets. “This is what we want. We want our content to move out of Malaysia and if Upin & Ipin can create a platform for the rest of us to follow, we welcome it,” he said.