KUALA LUMPUR, April 28— A small group of independent film-makers have used the human trafficking crisis in South-east Asia as the backdrop for an ambitious local science fiction action production.
The makers of Cahaya Terakhir (The Last Light), which is about a woman from another world who has to battle against ruthless human traffickers in order to return to her home, are targetting an international audience.
The film, which has been developed so far as a concept trailer, is helmed by Abhilash Chandra, a 29-year-old Malaysian producer who is currently in the production team for the sequel of Polis Evo, which is the highest grossing Malaysian film to date.
Jorik Dozy, a Singapore-based Dutch visual effects artist who has worked in numerous high profile Hollywood films including the upcoming Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, will co-direct.
Another Malaysian, 26-year-old Sean Lin, who works for a construction company in Klang, is producing Cahaya Terakhir under the New Frontier Pictures banner.
Sean Lin, 26, poses for a photograph after an interview with The Malay Mail Online in Kuala Lumpur April 24, 2017.Sean Lin, 26, poses for a photograph after an interview with The Malay Mail Online in Kuala Lumpur April 24, 2017.The trio won a grant from the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) to develop and conceptualise the project last year, and have taken the route of developing a two-and-a-half minute concept trailer to now pitch their project to investors and also attract interest from a larger audience.
They hope that the concept trailer would help them secure the financial backing required as they aim to start production early next year.
“I always wanted to make a science fiction film that is unique to South-east Asia… a science fiction film with real world issues. It is a commercial film with very topical issues,” Abhilash told Malay Mail Online in an interview recently.
Abhilash has been working on the script for Cahaya Terakhir for the past year, and his collaboration with Lin started while both of them worked on the set of Netflix’s Marco Polo when it was filmed in Johor three years ago.
Abhilash, an alumni of New York University’s Tisch School of Arts in Singapore, met Jorik while producing a couple of projects when he was based in Singapore.
Abhilash Chandra speaks during an interview with The Malay Mail Online in Kuala Lumpur April 24, 2017.Abhilash Chandra speaks during an interview with The Malay Mail Online in Kuala Lumpur April 24, 2017.The concept trailer was shot in Broga, Negri Sembilan and Carey Island, Selangor last year.
“It took three days to shoot, but it took us four months to prepare,” said Abhilash. But having made it with a “minute budget”, he is confident that even with modest resources, making a Malaysian film that will impress a global audience is not impossible.
“For us, the audience must feel something real and connect with the film, and we would be proud if we manage to do that. What we are doing should not only be good enough for Malaysia, it has to be good enough for the world,” he added.