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Wednesday, September 01, 2004


Puteri Gunung Ledang::Nationwide Screening?

::The film which has been billed as Malaysia's biggest and most expensive, Puteri Gunung Ledang[PGL], hits the cinemas nationwide today. Bernama reports that the film has recorded a sell out in all 39 cinemas nationwide. The expected box-office stampede has started but not for all, see below to understand why.
The film has a website here, this site provides info regarding the film and has downloads too. But it is not fully functional and parts of it is under construction.
This RM15 to RM20 million drama film is based on a local legend and it carries with it, hopes that it will hit the box-office big time and will be screened overseas and gain Malaysia international recognition and acclaim. It will be the first Malaysian entry in a major film festival and the only Southeast Asian movie to make it to the prestigious Venice Film Festival this year, [does this calls for an entry in that Malaysia Book of Records?] PGL is the maiden production by entertainment company Enfiniti. Enfiniti's executive director Shazally Ramli hopes that PGL would spark a 'reel revolution' in Malaysia's near moribund film industry. The total box office takings of all 10 Malay movies screened in 2002 amounted to about RM18.5mil and it is estimated that there are only 500K regular cinema-goers in Malaysia. So for PGL to make it big time, BolehLand is just too too small, PGL has definitely got to go international.
GoPBI.com reports that expectations soar high for this film and describes it as telling a story that's beloved by many Malaysians about a princess, PGL, who is betrothed to the 'cruel ruler of a maritime empire' but loves one of his bodyguards, Hang Tuah, instead.
Directhere.com, a location-based on-line business directory, talked to the director and producers of Puteri Gunung Ledang to discover how does one go about making a movie that has become the costliest ever in Malaysian film-making history. The report has the executive producer Datuk Shazally Ramli saying ::
"We didn’t want to make a movie just for the locals. That is shiok sendiri (pleasing oneself). You will not go anywhere with it commercially. We need more eyeballs and Malaysia, with only 500,000 cinema-goers, would not be sufficient. We want to screen the movie world-wide."

Co-producer and female lead star, Tiara Jacquelina added ::
"It will pave the way for Malaysia to be on the world map of filmmaking."

As for the director, Saw Teong Hin, he has this to say ::
"RM15mil sounds like a lot of money. But given the film we were trying to make, it is not. Everybody just looked at the figure and said ‘Oh, so much money.’ But we had to achieve a lot with that RM15mil. Look at Troy - it costs about US$200mil (RM760mil) to make."

Well, the people of Taiping and the district of Larut, Matang & Selama(LMS) [population more than 250K] certainly wishes the film well and hope that it will receive all the recognition, both local and international, which it deserves. As there are no cinemas in the vicinity, the last to close was burnt down some 7 to 8 years ago, the people will have to wait for our local DVD/VCD producers to start producing this local blockbuster before they can get to see this biggest and most expensive of locally produced films. The nearest cinema happens to be just some 70 to 80 kilometers away in nearby Ipoh or Pulau Pinang. Most likely PGL will make its Taiping & LMS debut [courtesy of our local DVD/VCD BolehLand entrepreneurs] after it has been screened for international audience on 5th September.



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