KUCHING: Sarawak’s natural setting for filming is almost impossible to recreate in the studios, say movie makers at opening day of the Asean International Film Festival and Awards (Aiffa) 2015 being held here this weekend.
Bea Tanaka of 42nd Pictures, the producer of a movie shot in Bako National Park, said Hollywood did not know what it was missing.
“This natural setting you can’t find in Kuala Lumpur. Hollywood cannot recreate it,” said Bea about the national park, which she and her husband first visited in 2007.
Bea and Yasu Tanaka were actually stranded on a sand bar when travelling in and around the park back then.
“The tide got too low and our boat was trapped. It was there and then that we were inspired to make a movie about relationships set here,” said Yasu, who wrote the script and directed Nota.
Billed as a movie about a “relationship on the edge”, the movie was shot at Bako and Mount Santubong in 2013.
It stars Maya Karin and Hans Isaac.
“Lots of people asked us, ‘Why are you trying to make a movie in Sarawak?’ I asked them back, ‘Have you been to Sarawak? It’s so beautiful. You don’t have to set design the scene. The scene is already there,” added Bea.
Nota is the first feature film set in Bako, which is about an hour’s drive and boat from the city centre.
Aiffa festival director Livan Tajang told reporters she was incredibly proud of bringing a film production to a national park.
“Nota the movie was first announced during Aiffa 2013 and by Aiffa 2015, it’s ready for release. After here, it will be screened at Festival de Cannes in France this May,” Livan said.
“This is one of the objectives of having a film festival in Sarawak. Film makers will come, possibly shoot films here, and because of those films, draw attention to us all over the world.”
The first movie of 42nd Pictures, Lari, Sayang, Lari, was for Astro Prima. It is currently producing a mini-series of that movie.
Nota opens nationwide in August.
Meanwhile, state Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg announced a committee had been set up to follow through on film ideas with Chinese production companies.
“We talked about making action films, thrillers or making documentaries here. I told them that our Bakun dam and indigenous cultures make for good story ideas,” Johari told reporters on the sidelines of Aiffa, after a meeting with a delegation from China.
This afternoon is the highlight of the Aiffa 2015 weekend. Hong Kong action movie star Datuk Jackie Chan will meet and greet fans at the Old Court House here, together with Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh.
From 6pm at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, the Aiffa Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony will be held.
Aiffa is held in Kuching once every two years.