Terbaik Dari Langit has a good chance of following in the footsteps of the successful KIL.
IF the thunderous applause and my painful jaw (from laughing too much) as the credits rolled were anything to go by, then Terbaik Dari Langit (TDL) is the must-see movie to end 2014.
The movie was a labour of love for everyone involved; it was made to entertain the audience, and entertain them well.
TDL or Nova (as it’s titled for international market) revolves around Berg, a filmmaker who reunites with his school friends – Ali, Ijam and Toyu – after being apart for 15 years, to go on a trip to prove that UFO is real.
Berg’s ultimate goal is to turn the adventure into a film.
Together, the four friends embark on a journey across Malaysia to search for the truth. However, along the way, tension arises when conversations veer into the good old days and everyone seems to disagree over what happened when they were in school.
Soon, the UFO-chase they’ve embarked on becomes more than what it is.
TDL marks the first time director Nik Amir Mustapha is working alongside who’s who in the local movie industry. In the cast are Bront Palarae (Berg), Iedil Putra (Ijam), Amerul Affendi (Toyu), Megat Sharizal (Ali), Nadiya Nisaa (Sofia Jane), Sharifah Amani (Sara) and Siti Saleha (Zelda).
The film also features Anne James, directors Mamat Khalid and Dain Iskandar Said in cameo roles.
Nik Amir, 29, is the guy behind last year’s box office hit KIL. The film – that tells the story of a depressed young man who hires a hitman to kill him – bagged four awards at Anugerah Skrin 2013 and five awards at this year’s Malaysia Film Festival, including for Best Film and Best Director at both events.
KIL was Nik Amir’s first venture into directing a feature film. And he did it with a small-scale production crew and budget.
Working for TDL, however, was a bit more daunting – it was a bigger production involving more cast and crew, with different filming locations (Selangor and Perak).
The initial idea of the movie came from executive producer Tuan Faisal Azmy who had thought of the base of the film – a group of friends shooting a movie.
Then Faisal, scriptwriter Redza Minhat and Nik Amir sat down and started developing the plot and the chararacters further.
It took the trio six months to finish writing the script. It was only 10 drafts later that the three men shared the script with the cast. Even then, they were still accepting feedback from the actors as they wanted the film to be a collaborative effort.
“What we tried to do in TDL was to showcase friendship and childhood memories.
“We also included a homage to Malaysian films – films that inspired us to be in the industry in the first place,” said Nik Amir, who switched into filmmaking after completing a bachelor’s degree in engineering in Sydney, Australia.
He spent an extra two years in Sydney to study and explore filmmaking and enrolled himself in film school for a year.
“I can proudly say that this movie is a collaborative effort of like-minded people who believe in it,” said Nik Amir, citing Asghar Farhadi and Wes Anderson as among the directors whose work he admires.
“Similar to KIL, we are trying to find the balance for different markets with this movie; you know, between commercial and something less accessible,” he said.
He must’ve achieved that very quality because in October, the film travelled to the 27th edition of Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) as a contender in the Asian Future category.
Terbaik Dari Langit opens in cinemas nationwide today.
Terbaik Dari Langit actors talk about their roles
The cast of Terbaik Dari Langit give an insight on the making of the film.
Bront Palarae (Berg)
The 36-year-old actor said the film’s script is one of the best scripts he’s ever read and that he was hooked immediately.
According to him, the script reminded him of his own childhood friendships. He lost about 11kg for the role.
“With Amir as the director, anyone would want to do anything, even getting painted blue like the cow (in the movie). I really hope to see more scripts with a difference like this one in the future.”
Megat Sharizal (Ali)
Meanwhile Megat, 35, had to do the exact opposite to play his character.
He said: “I put on 15kg for the role! When I spoke to Bront, he had to lose weight, so I decided to do the opposite.
“If you notice, most road trip movies have a fat guy. And I wanted to be the fat guy of the group!”
Iedil Putra (Ijam)
Iedil, 30, who went to the same boarding school as director Nik Amir Mustapha said he loved being part of the movie as everyone involved was passionate in the process of making it from start to finish.
“From brainstorming session, to the end of filming, it was like a family.
“All of us share the same mindset and the same vision, which was really great!
“All this process created the much-needed chemistry and dynamism among the actors.”
Nadiya Nisaa (Sofia Jane)
Nadiya, 27, is grateful that she got the chance to be part of Terbaik Dari Langit.
She said: “Out of so many talented Malaysian actresses, I got to be the only girl travelling in that van!
“My character is different from the character I have played before. Sofia Jane, to me, is someone who is quite inspirational as she becomes someone who pushes these four friends to see things beyond their past disagreements.”