Indie theatre company's drama ‘Mentega Terbang’ flies to Indonesian film festival

Theatre outfit Anomalist Production's ‘Mentega Terbang' was chosen for the Jogja-Netpac Film Festival's non-competitive Asian Perspectives programme. Photo: Handout

Mentega Terbang, theatre outfit Anomalist Production’s (Anomalist) first feature length film, is being screened at the 16th Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival.

“When my team called to inform me that Mentega Terbang got selected to join the Jogja-Netpac Film Festival, I remembered all of us screaming over the phone.

“We’re really grateful to have our humble film make its Indonesian premiere in the festival, and hopefully this will open up the path to many more film festivals moving forward,” says director Khairi Anwar.

Mentega Terbang, which deals with faith, death and reincarnation, was chosen for the festival's non-competitive Asian Perspectives programme that introduces and explores the diverse cultures of Asia.

A total of 19 films will be screened (Nov 27-Dec 4) in this category from countries like Bangladesh, India, Thailand and South Korea. Mentega Terbang was screened on Nov 28 and another session awaits on Dec 1.

It is an encouraging development for a local indie film, with a cast mostly from the theatre scene, that took shape during the early stages of the pandemic. Previously, Mentega Terbang emerged as one of the top five finalists in the Kuman Pictures Feature Challenge 2020 in August last year.

The script was written by a multiracial team of writers, including Khairi, Arjun Thanaraju (who plays Suresh in the film), Visshnu Varman and Ti Teng-Hui.

The 104-minute film centres on 15-year-old Aishah, who muses on what happens after death as a way to cope with her mother's impending death.

Mentega Terbang, done in association with Meng Kheng Entertainment, features theatre actors such as newcomer Syumaila Salihin, Arjun, Firdaus Karim, Nik Waheeda, Shyamala Kandapper, Khairunazwan Rodzy (founder of theatre company Revolution Stage), and Jesebel Lee.

Presented in English and Bahasa Malaysia, the movie, shot in six days in a KL neighbourhood last year, was recently screened to a limited audience at the GMBB mall in Kuala Lumpur. Anomalist had a series of private screenings last year.

“While I want this film to fly high and wide internationally, my biggest wish is for more Malaysians to be able to watch this film. It is a Malaysian story, made for a Malaysian audience,” says Khairi, adding that another private screening of Mentega Terbang is being planned for mid-December in Kuala Lumpur.

More info here.

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