Friday, 30 May 2008

Elephant and the Sea Production Stills and Fun Facts

Hi guys,

Here are some cool never before seen production stills (courtesy of James Lee, who was our unofficial still photographer), plus some interesting things about the shoot that may or may not interest you.

Fun Facts

#1 - The final film tells two intersecting stories, but in actuality, we shot THREE stories. The other one concerned an elephant trainer, Balak, who loses his elephant and must either find it back or pay back its owner, who is a local mobster. The third story starred Azman Hassan and Juliana Ibrahim. During editing, i decided that the story didn't really fit with the other two. So I cut it out. It pained me to do it, especially after capturing all that cool footage of Azman and the elephant in the jungle! (we shot at an elephant sanctuary). Some of the footage actually turned up in a tvmovie I did last year (cinta tiga segi).

#2 - Another story arch we cut in the film is a 20 minute side story of Ah Kau (the fisherman) getting kidnapped by pirates, and brought to a jungle location where he meets 2 japanese girls (also kidnapped) experiencing Stockholm syndrome with the kidnappers/pirates. The sequence ends with a homemade bazooka (I'm not joking - we actually had one made) being fired. And yes there was an explosion. And no, you won't see it in the final version of the film. And yes I clearly did not know what I was doing.

#3 - Tan Chui Mui, director of "Love Conquers All", plays TWO roles in the film; one as an eager fish store sales person, the other as a prostitute. James Lee has a blink-and-you'll-miss cameo as a thug in one of the brothel scenes.

#4 - We took 20 days to shoot the film; production was divided into two parts. After a rough cut was made, I decided to do re-shoots (with additional funding from Hubert Bals). By this time, we'd lost Berg Lee's main shirt, and his hair was longer. Our leading actress, Meng Hui, had recently cut her hair VERY short (for a tv role). If you look closely enough, you'll be able to tell.

#5 - Berg Lee, who plays Yun Ding, the young hustler, had a boil on my nose that was oozing pus before and during the production. He was worried that it might make him "unpretty", so I wrote his "ailment" into the story. However, the mark on his nose is only visible in closeups... and there are barely any closeups in the entire film!

#6 - The camera we used for the production (my own) broke down on the FIRST day of shoot. A near mental breakdown later, my very hardworking production manager GAN HUI YEE drove back to KL and acquired another camera for the shoot.

#7 - For the opening "lots of fish on the beach" scene, we used 50kgs of fish bought from a local wholesaler and scattered them on the muddy beach. Later, we offered the fish to some of the foreign workers there for free- which they declined, on account of the fish being "kotor" (dirty).

#8 - Animals used in the film: fish, monitor lizard, elephant, chicken, child. The "auspices" flower horn fish used in the film is mine (I brought him from Ipoh a few months before the shoot) and he is still alive today. He certainly is a lucky charm!

#9 - In Kuala Selangor during the mornings, there is a stall that sells shark meat rice, a chinese styled nasi lemak like dish which substitutes rendang or currry chicken with minced shark meat. my verdict: gawdawful!

#10 - In the afternoons, a REAL nasi lemak stall opens near the market, and the kerang and sotong nasi lemak is to die for.

#11 - The most important lesson I learned making this film: It's only a film, stupid.