Monday, 30 June 2008


My three lovely "biatches" from the TV movie

Hi folks!

Hope you all had a nice weekend. Mine was alright. Since our TV shoot is on a one week break, I got a chance to do a few things.

On Saturday I attended the KL Urbanscapes, organized by KLUE. Went to KLPAC for the second time, and there were loads of people. My film, "Kurus", played there, along with some of my short films. I sneaked into the screening and it was quite a full house. The only thing was people were coming in and out of the theatre (including meself haha), since it was an "all day fest" like atmostphere, but people were laughing at the right places and it was a light and jovial mood all around. I was happy to see lots of old and new friends.

Also, Da Huang set up a booth to sell dvds, and of course my dvd THE FOUR, which you can get at, sold like hot cakes! When I left, the 500 or so copies they brought were almost completely sold out! I also had the chance to sign a few copies that people bought.

Here I am posing with my dvd. A BIG thank you to Da Huang for all the hard work in designing and putting out the DVD!

On Sunday, a more important event was happening... A DOG FAIR! I brought my best pal/dog Oscar to the dog olympics in Central Park, ONE UTAMA. This is like the 6th or 7th time he's been to the fair (which is held every quarter or so), so when I asked him to get into the car yesterday morning, he was excited like all hell broke loose!

This is not Oscar.

Of course, Oscar's main objective in these events is pretty straight forward: to mount as many willing female dogs as he can. I have to say though, his success rate is pretty low. Most owners, especially those with snotty dogs whom they treat like humans, won't really take to Oscar trying to "mount" their "baby". Once when my pal Chelsia brought along her shih tzu, Oscar had a go at her for almost an hour, and still failed. Oscar has short legs. Or he must not be that smart. I don't know. But I feel for him in these kind of situations. Anyway he's a friendly dog and wants to get to know everyone. If you ever see Oscar and gave him a smile he'd come to you wagging his tail and jump all over you. He don't care who or what you are. If people were all like him, this would be a great place to live in.

Oscar the gangsta dog with unidentified pom.

LASTLY, below is the artwork for the tickets to "THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA". We will be preselling these tickets to the public in the next few weeks! Anyone interested in helping me sell tickets, please tell me! Your help is totally appreciated from the bottom of my heart and I'd sing a song here if I could.
Ticket stub that says "BUY ME! BUY ME!"

I like the artwork. That's essentially the poster too. I'm a little worried that people might mistake the film for a cartoon, and when the see the film they'd want their money back... mmm... I must remember to leave Edmund's tel no. in the ticket stub... haha... kidding.

Saturday, 28 June 2008


It's pretty hard maintaining a blog while in production. For the past 2 weeks, I had been knee deep in another production. We shot for 8 days straight, from break of dawn, to dusk and beyond. I reached home on average around 11pm, and was awake the next day at 6.30am (very early for me). I lost around 2kgs in that period, and got a cold I'm still trying to shake off.

Well, that's the life of a filmmaker, they say. You're a brick layer, more or less. I do like physical work. Somehow, I much prefer it to say, sitting in an aircon room looking at some paperwork. Or being in meetings. That must be a reason why I like shooting outdoors. Most of my films are shot outdoors. Of course, the advantages of shooting outdoors are many:

1. If you find the right location, say a fishing dock, the production design work is done for you.
2. If you shoot in the mornings or at dusk, You will probably not need many lights. I am a fan of "the light of God". It is natural and beautiful.
3. You can somehow move faster and cover more ground when you are outdoors because there is more space and you are not restricted to say, a room, or a narrow hallway. Indoor shoots tend to be draggy, and people move slower. The air begins to thicken after a few hours in a room, I can tell you that.

The disadvantages:
1. Noise.
2. Weather. You can't control it.
3. People you can't control. Say if you shoot in a market. People keep looking at your camera. For this reason, I like to find sort of isolated locales.

For me, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. I can deal with noise. The weather will be decent sooner or later. People in general are nice (well, I'm an optimist).

I like to drive around places and just find stuff. I have a fascination with old stuff; basically anything that's kinda old and cool looking. I like new stuff too, of course. But old stuff photograph better. Old stuff look better on film and video. There's a history, unspoken stories in say, a dilapidated hut, or an abandoned whore house. (I believe you can find a few of those in Brickfields- haha).

In this posting, I would like to point out the folks of Kuala Selangor, some of whom participated in the film.

Above is a picture of a guy who plays a "lottery result slip" seller. He's one of those guys who photocopy results of the day's winning lottery numbers, then cut them up into strips and sells it to people for 20 cents or so. Back in the day, I suppose before cell phones and internet, you'd see these guys at traffic lights walking the aisles of stopped cars with their hands stretched out, displaying the result slips. If you had put some money on some 4D number and can't wait till tomorrow morning's paper to tell you you've lost, you could get the answer right there and then.

Somehow, those guys don't exist anymore. One of those occupations made obsolete. Anyway he's really a cool guy. If you come to Cathay Cineleisure to watch ELEPHANT AND THE SEA, you'll see him in a few scenes.

This older gentleman above here is a blacksmith. We were shooting right next to his shop, and once he'd finished work, he decided to sit outside his shop and read the papers, and hence, became our free extra! He wore these really big reading glasses which made him look funny. But he's quite a blacksmith. It's too bad we didn't included any footage of him shaping iron, cause he really looked like he's been doing it for years, which he has I'm sure. And here's another thing I like: Old bicycles, like the one beside him.

These are a bunch of kids whose parents owned a tailorshop. We were shooting a scene in front of the shop. It's a really cool and old shop. I think it has probably been there for a few generations. Maybe a few hundred years. Well maybe 50 years.

Here is the tailorshop in the background. Sitting with Berg Lee is a local Kuala Selangor man who plays a "client" of Berg's character.

And finally, here is a pictures of some kids, from Yun Ding's (the character Berg plays) "house". The house is next to the river, and the owner is a clam farm worker. These are his kids. If you've been to KS, you will know that clam farming is a big thing there. I used to dislike clams. These clams, called Sea hum in Cantonese, is bloody in taste and overloaded with iron. When I was young, my mother used to tell me that if I ate sea hum, I would probably die of iron poisoning or something of that sort. So I avoided it. In KS, they put sea hum is a lot of stuff. In their Laksa, all kinds of noodle and rich dishes. When you walk the banks of the river, you'd be stepping on millions of the shells. When waves hit the bank, you'd hear the symphony of shells crashing into each other. It's some kind of music, I can tell you that.

Anyway, that's a part of Kuala Selangor for you. The village here is called Pasir Penambang. A nice place to have some sea food. Or shoot a film.


Saturday, 21 June 2008


"The Elephant and the Sea" has just won the BEST DIRECTOR award at the recently concluded DIBA Digital Barcelona Film Festival in Spain. This marks the 4th award for the film!! After more than a year touring the international festival circuit, the film will hit the Cathay Cineplex at Cineleisure Curve this 21th August 2008!

Here is a link to the award listing on the site. It's in Spanish.


Q: What is your name?

A: Lesly leon lee.

Q: Are you related to Leon Lai?

A: No.

Q: Describe your role in the film The Elephant and the Sea.

A: I helped to build props. The fish cage, bazooka. And I crew for parts of the film.

Q: How did you build the bazooka? There were rumors you bought it from the Thai black market.

A: Of course rumors are not always true. Actually I used two pvc pipes.

Q: Does the bazooka actually work? I hear it was fired in the film.

A: Yes it did fire. But it wasn’t actual explosives. We used some fireworks.

Q: You WHAT? Fireworks? I thought film productions will usually fire real explosives. Not fake them. That's really disappointing to hear.

A: Actually we did fire some real bazooka rounds, during the preproduction period. But we lost too many extras. So we decided to use lower grade fireworks.

Q: By “lose extras” do you actually mean people died?

A: No comment.

Q: Were you disappointed that the scene did not make the final cut?

A: No. I had fun doing it.

Q: Did you enjoy watching The Elephant and the Sea? I heard you fell asleep during the movie.

A: I was a bit tired and there were some slow bits...

Q: Well I’ll be happy to inform you the new version is 14 minutes shorter and has more music. Would you pay to see this film in the theaters?

A: I would.

Q: Would you pay to see it twice, even if you are invited to the premiere?

A: Ming Jin asks me to say I would and I would bring my friends with me.

Q: Do you personally feel that this movie will set a record in the Malaysian box office?

A: I hope it will. I want it to. But… I don’t think it will happen.

Q: Are you a half empty or half full kind of person?

A: I used to be a half full kinda guy. Then I grew up.

Q: Thank you for your time.

Monday, 16 June 2008


We shot 3 stories in the film THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA. Only TWO stories made it in the final cut.

Here now, we present, THE LOST SCENES. Well, ONE lost scene. I'll call this one "AH NGAU GETS A BAZOOKA POINTED AT HIM".

In this scene, AH NGAU, the fisherman, gets kidnapped by two pirates/immigrants, who take him to the jungle in hope of a ransom payout. The pirates carry a homemade bazooka, which my prop master Lesly found on EBAY and bought for a few bucks. Or at least that's what he told me. I hear you can purchase homemade bazookas made out of sawed off pipe and other stuff for a couple hundred Ringgit near the Thai border. I tried to ask a pimp I knew back from the day while I was there, but he didn't have any on stock, so in the end, Lesly did what he had to do to acquire one.

Shooting the kidnapping scene was extremely difficult. We had TWO boats, as you can see from above (bigger boat is AH NGAU's one, smaller boat, the pirates'), and we had to coordinate a perfect entry. The water was choppy, and the tide was a bitch that just kept twirling our boat around so that we could never get the framing right. This is one of those scenes that look cool and easy on paper, but in reality was really difficult to pull off. Plus it was hot as hell.

I wanted the kidnapper's boat to ENTER the shot in the scene. And it's a WIDE SHOT. So it had to be away from the horizon, or far off to the side. But because our boat's position kept shifting, as the tide knocked us around and further out to sea, we couldn't get the trajectory of the kidnappers boat's entry consistent. It look almost a dozen tries to get a decent take.

And it isn't easy to stand on a small boat holding a homemade bazooka. A couple of times, Hariry, the actor holding the bazooka, stood up on cue, and then stumbled down again as a wave kicked the boat.

One long afternoon for a scene that got cut out. But now it's on this blog!

Tell me if you like the pictures.

Saturday, 14 June 2008


Here are some animal thoughts on a Saturday night.

I've used a lot of animals in my films. I like animals a lot, dogs the most (though I have rarely put them in my films, if ever), also fish. In my first "real" short film, Mina in Perfection (MVA Gold Award Winner!) my animal of choice was a goldfish. There is a scene in the film, towards the end, where the fish appears to be floating in the fishbowl- dead. But instead of killing the fish, my prop guy fashioned a "dead fish" out of black gaffer's tape (the goldfish was black). It totally fooled everyone, and the fish survived the shoot- I returned it to the pet shop afterwards.

I've used TWO of my cats, Snowy and Buffy, in several of my films. Snowy starred in Love for Dogs, my first short in Malaysia. Buffy was in a couple of film, if I'm not mistaken, including Cinta Tiga Segi (a tv movie). Snowy, however, is no longer with us. She disappeared one night (no she did not run away), and we suspect a pack of wild dogs attacked and killed her. Buffy is still chilling with us. I like Buffy. She's cool. I named her after the Sarah Michelle Gellar character of course, but Buffy doesn't kick butt. she's chilled and laid back. And she doesn't whine like other cats.

And then there's Popi, my rabbit. I was not a big rabbit fan until I got married to my first wife, Tomoko. She loves rabbits. She draws them in her diary. Anyway, long story short, we got a rabbit. We went to a pet store, the lady said, this is a female rabbit, and we took her home. We named her Popi cause Tomoko had a rabbit called Roppi back home. Anyway, Popi is really cool. She's kinda like a cat, except she poops every 3-4 minutes. Popi is also in Cinta Tiga Segi. Then when we mixed Popi with another female rabbit, we discovered Popi was a MALE rabbit. Now Popi resides with us in the apartment. He's as cool as a rabbit can get.

Other animals that have not been so lucky: My beloved flowerhorn fish, Butachan, seen in Cinta Tiga Segi, succumbed to some weird disease a few weeks after the shoot, and... died a horrible and painful death. The diseased wiped out my entire fish collection in my apartment!! DO not confused Butachan with the OTHER flowerhorn fish in THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA, who is now 2.5 years old and still kicking it in my 4ft tank (in my parent's house).

Here is a picture of my dog OSCAR. I named him not for the Oscar statuette, but after a type of my favorite fish, the Oscar fish, which is tri colored and looks like Oscar if it were a dog. the Oscar fish originates from the Amazon, and they are one of the most responsive fish you'll ever see. You can teach them tricks! Anyway I'm not making sense. but Oscar THE DOG is the COOLEST dog in the world, and one day I will put him in my film. Oscar has got one helluva story to tell: One day last September, Oscar was kidnapped by some immigrants, and after a long and heartbreaking search, and posting a BIG reward for information on his whereabouts, we recovered Oscar via a ransom exchange. The whole drama played out like a real kidnapping scenario; I got a call, negotiated a price, was told to wait at a meeting point, then brought to a hillside location, and made the exchange. That's the short version. This all would've been very exciting, under normal circumstances, but it really wasn't. I was just so eager to get him back, I would've paid any amount. Anyway he was near death, dehydrated when we got him back, but he's back to normal now!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008



Been a busy few days. Have been immersed with a few projects. One of them is a tv movie we're shooting next week! It's a cool and fun comedy that is inspired by Ugly Betty and Mean Girls (it'll be on ASTRO), and it's the first time I'll be shooting something with song and dance numbers! We've been prepping, doing all the last minute stuff like prop hunting, rehearsals, storyboarding, basically just getting all the elements in place.

Making movies is hard work! And people always say it's not really a "real job"... which I have to agree. I don't really consider it work, because I like what I do. So it's great to do what you like, and make a living out of it. Saying that, sometimes it really IS hard work, and like they say in film, "rush and wait"; you're either hanging around with nothing to do, or it's crazy time! And when the going gets tough, it can be really tough. Actors drop out. Schedules conflict. Props get lost. Locations can't be found. People fail you. Things can fall apart like dominoes, and the job of the producer (this is also my first time as a hands on producer, phew I miss you Edmund!) is damage control, and making sure everything is in its right "place".

But yea, as a filmmaker in Malaysia, sometimes you get the looks, especially if you are hanging out in say The Curve's Starbucks at 2pm on a Monday morning with your laptop (that's "work" for me). If you bump into a relative or acquittance (who undoubtedly is in a tie and meeting with other people in ties), the first look they give you, since you're in your sandals and t-shirt, is the "I-didn't-know-you-were-a-bum" look. And then when you tell them you make films, they give you the "I-didn't-know-you-were-a-bum" look again. Haha... And then when they say goodbye, they give you this half sad smile, which is the "It's-too-bad-you're-a-bum" look.

The worst thing for me is during Chinese New Year, with my relatives. Once I had a short film shown on TV, and in it, an actor has constipation and tries to take a dump several times. For YEARS, all I heard from relatives was "WHY MUST YOU MAKE FILMS ABOUT PEOPLE TAKING DUMPS?". Tough times.

Ok, I'm babbling! Moving on! The actor I'm introducing you to is none other than... CHUNG KOK KEONG.

He is the coolest "old timer" in Malaysia. Seriously. He's been around so long I believe they didn't have televisions here when he started in the business. That's how long he's been around. So he started in radio shows. And now he's in my film. Non Malaysians who watch the film tend to like Chung Kok Keong more than Berg (the younger guy), while locals prefer Berg. I don't know why this is. For me, I think CKK has that look that just tells you he's been through so much, it's not worth telling you his story, but you can try to read it off his face. I knew when I saw him, I didn't need to do much. In fact, I needed him to do LESS.

Anyway he does a pretty cool job in THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA. I'm happy with the performance. In the film, he plays a fisherman whose wife dies, then has a spiritual "awakening" of sorts. A couple of critics say that "he has the fisherman role in his bones"... which is a great compliment, because Chung Kok Keong is no fisherman and he doesn't particularly like water too much. But he's a trooper.

Here is a picture of Chung Kok Keong with some diseased chickens... Avian Flu anyone?


Monday, 9 June 2008



After a long weekend, where I drove to Ipoh and back (for a wedding), and did not check my email or the internet for more than 24 hours (a record!), here I am in front of my laptop again. To be honest, I am not so "tech savvy", and have relied on the charity of others to help me get anything computer related going (Edmund designed and started this blog, and posted the videos- if it were left to me, this site would still not be up!).

In short, I'm an old school guy who missed the whole computer game/ps2/xbox wave, who dislike cell phones, and prefer to kick back by the beach or go fishing and hang with my dog Oscar than... well, just about anything else. Once I went on a diving trip to perhentian island, and did not use my phone for 6 days. I was in a state of constant bliss. When I travel to festivals I will turn my cell phone off, and voila, I'm free. Now, when my phone rings, I get a slight anxiety attack; who is calling me and what is wrong?

But technology has its uses, like right now, where I can write this and post it up and possibly have more than 2 people read it. That could mean two new friends, or two more tickets! haha... Seriously, Greenlight's intention of releasing the film is merely to let it be seen. We'll be offering ticket prices at cost (or close to it) to students and aspiring filmmakers. We are under no illusion that this release will in any way provide us with positive cash flow (that's a nice way of saying we won't make any money.) This release will make us rich... but only in "heart".

But I'm not complaining. I could be worse off. I could be working an office job. I've been more than fortunate. As I've said, this is a dream come true (though there are other dreams).

Anyway I digress. In this posting, I would like to introduce to you one of my actors in the film:

NG MENG HUI. She plays the leading female role, SU LING, in THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA, the possible love interest to Yun Ding, BERG LEE'S character in the film.

I found Meng Hui in Tan Chui Mui's film, Love Conquers All, where she had a small role. Her expression and large eyes reminded me of... Vicky Zhou, of Shaolin Soccer fame. Those eyes: they were large and deep and you could dive into them. I didn't know if she had much acting experience, but I thought she was suitable to play a teenage girl in a small town. She had that rawness that I found essential to the role. So we cast her, and I saw no one else.

I generally don't audition very much. I prefer to go on people's recommendation or scout actors on my own. And for Meng Hui's role, we rehearsed only a few times, with berg. Just to get the chemistry right. I read a posting on some yahoo group about this production that "trained the actors specially for the screen, as opposed to the theater", and had "training of an international standard", like that actually means anything... It cracks me up sometimes when I read about how one's "special acting training" is going to make the performance of an actor "superior". Truthfully, 80-90% of it is in the casting. Any good director will tell you that. And you don't need "superior" performances. In fact you don't want the performances to be "superior". You want it to be sublime, and if possible, not a performance at all. And if you cast the right people, your job is done. They do the work for you. This is a very hard lesson to learn, even for me. The urge to cast the wrong person, or the prettier person, is very strong. Sometimes too strong.

Anyway, I like Meng Hui in the film. In a Seoul festival last year, a famous Iranian director saw the film and wanted to cast her in his next film. I was very proud. (For the record, I do not know if anything happened, after I gave him her contact information and an introductory email.)

So I hope you'll like her too. She does a lot of TV work now, and I hope I will have the chance to work with her again.

Btw I have to say these are not great stills of her. You should come watch the movie, to see her real potential. Ok, I'll be posting more stuff later!


Friday, 6 June 2008


Tomoko Ueda (Co-producer and Chef) Interviews Woo Ming Jin, (Director)

Tomoko: What is your name, and vital statistics?

MJ: Woo Ming Jin. I'm 5'5"-short i know, about 65kgs.

Tomoko: What does your name mean in Chinese?

MJ: Ming means "bright", "smart", and Jin- pronounced Chun in cantonese- means " progress", "to advance" (chun po).

Tomoko: Your name sounds likes "Carrot" in Japanese. Nin jin.

MJ: Thanks. I don't like carrots.

Tomoko: How many films have you shot so far?

MJ: Feature films or shorts?

Tomoko: Both.

MJ: 2 or 3 features- it's 3 if you count the one I disowned, a few more tv movies, about 8-10 shorts.

Tomoko: What does the title mean "The Elephant and the Sea"?

MJ: It means... the meaning of the title is not as important as the image and emotion it is meant to evoke, which is that of slight melancholy and nostalgia, for the things and moments that are lost, and the realization that it will never be the same again.

Tomoko: That's deep.

MJ: Well, people ask me that a lot in film festivals. I had to come up with something. I can't very well say "I like the way it sounds, I don't know what it means".

Tomoko: Do you like this film? Did it come out as you imagined?

MJ: I do like it. I do not dislike it. Though I am unsatisfied. There is a sense of slight regret. No, the final film is vastly different from what was in my head.

Tomoko: Why is that?

MJ: Well, apart from cutting out 1/3 of the story, there were some changes, and then some reshoots. I was younger, and less sure of myself then.

Tomoko: I've seen your newer films, they're not any better (makes a snoring sound).

MJ: You're nice.

Tomoko: Somebody needs to be honest here.

MJ: Next question.

Tomoko: What are your hopes for this film?

MJ: Well, I hope the film becomes the highest grossing film ever in Malaysia, beating Transformers, which made more than RM20 million.

Tomoko: How many people will need to watch the film for that to happen?

MJ: I don't know. A lot. More than a few hundred at least. Maybe even thousands. And if each person pays Rm5000 a ticket.

Tomoko: You're funny.

MJ: It's early. I haven't eaten breakfast.

Tomoko: What would you like? For breakfast.

MJ: Nasi Lemak sotong (squid).

Tomoko: That only makes you fat. You want to be fat?

MJ: No. You're sidetracking.

Tomoko: Ok, what is your plan for the next film?

MJ: No concrete plans so far. I'm still writing the next one.

Tomoko: Is the film also set in or near the sea?

MJ: Yes.

Tomoko: Why do you like the ocean so much?

MJ: I just do. I like water. I like being in water.

Tomoko: Can you swim?

MJ: Yes. I used to swim competitively. Represented the state in that and waterpolo.

Tomoko: You seem a little short to play waterpolo.

MJ: Well actually I was pretty good at it. I kicked ass in waterpolo.

Tomoko: Do you think after reading this interview, people will be interested in watching the film?

MJ: Um, probably... not. But they should. I'd like the film to set some sort of record in Malaysia, since we're all obsessed with records. Please help me make this film the highest grossing film in Malaysia!

Tomoko: I hope you weren't drinking last night.

MJ: No. I'm deadly serious here. I want that entry in the Malaysian Book of Records. I want to be listed along with other entries like "Largest group of people that ever walked backwards while holding hands", and "Longest dodol ever produced".

Tomoko: Thank you for teaching me about your country.

MJ: You're welcome.


Yesterday, the first trailer of THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA had its world premiere on one of my favourite film sites, Twitch.

Frankly, I never really thought of putting together a trailer until Ming Jin saw my previous posting of the soundtrack preview video, and suggested that I should try to make one. So, what I did was expand upon the previous video by throwing in hints of the film's plot, while doing my best to retain its melancholy atmosphere.

The music I used for both videos is my favourite among all the new pieces I composed for the theatrical version of the film. But I might still make some shorter ones (trailers) using different music of mine.

Edmund (Swifty)

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

June 5th, 2am musings

Well, today the price of petrol goes up by 40%. Never great news when that happens. I tried to get my cars filled up but only managed to get one- I guess everyone in the Klang Valley wants to get that last "cheap" tank of gas...

I guess right now the ol' saying "everything goes up, but the budget/your salary stays the same" is on a lot of people's minds... time to tighten that belt again...

I suppose no one's in a great mood right now, or for the next few days, or ever. Nah.

BUT I'll try to stay upbeat, and as we move forward, I do have interesting news. ONE- a short film compilation of mine, called THE FOUR, will come out next month! It's being distributed by Da Huang pictures and right now I'm giving you a sneak peak at the art work. And yes, there are FOUR short films in the compilation.

Outside of that, I'm thinking, wow it's been like almost 10 years since I said to myself, "I think I want to be a filmmaker, for real." Well, about 9 years ago. The turning point was in late 1998 when I was working a desk job, and one day I just woke up and thought, screw it. I'm just going to quit, go back to school, and try to become a filmmaker. Of course I really didn't know what that meant or where I saw myself 10 years later, or whatever... I never really thought about how to make it into a career... to be honest, I'm still trying to figure that out.. haha...

Anyway I guess I'm pretty impulsive, like how I quit my teaching job in MMU (Multimedia University). I woke up one Monday morning, after having a dream I no longer recall- and I just suddenly had the urge to quit. I went to work that afternoon, and talked to my boss, and that was that. Easy peasy. Sure I'd thought about quitting many times before, but I think about quitting filmmaking many times too, but that hasn't happened - yet.

Anyway I'm rambling. So yeah, I guess I have some storyboards to do (for this tv movie I'm shooting in a couple weeks) but instead of doing that I'm writing on this blog... that's one of my other talents, procrastinating. But every Malaysian is talented in that.


Monday, 2 June 2008

Variety's Review

Hi guys,

Here's another update! We just got our poster approved by the censorship board (I'll post the final offical movie poster soon!), and yesterday I went to Cathay to hand them the keyart for the poster, along with our release strategy! As mentioned we will be preselling tickets soon!

I thought it's be nice to post some reviews of the film. Elephant and the Sea has traveled to more than 20 festivals. At last count, I had 21 or 22, some I'd forgotten, but here's a partial list:

Torino International Film Festival
Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival
Rotterdam International Film Festival
Los Angeles International Film Festival
Seattle International Film Festival
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
Taiwan International Film Festival
New York Asian American International Film Festival
Hong Kong International Film Festival
Santiago International Film Festival (SANFIC)
Vancouver International Film Festival
Flanders International Film Festival
Denver International Film Festival
Warsaw Film Festival
Blackmovie Film Festival Geneva
Las Palmas International Film Festival
Istanbul International Film Festival
Osian’s Cinefan Film Festival
New Zealand International Film Festival
DIBA Spain International Film Festival

So many festivals! Yes there are hundreds if not thousands of film festivals in the world. Some are better than others. Obviously Cannes, Venice, Berlin are the big three. Then there's Rotterdam, Sundance, Toronto, Karlovy Vary, and so forth. These are good festivals, and they are pretty big and cool too.

Then there are smaller, niche festivals, but this doesn't mean they're "bad", just that they are lower profile, but often times they screen very very good films. my favorites so far: Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, Spain, and Blackmovie Film Festival, in Geneva. I went to both, and had a blast!

For those who don't know, Variety is an American Entertainment based magazine, considered to be the film magazine for everyone in the film industry.

Here are some excerpts from the review:

"The varying effects of an epidemic on a young vagabond and an older fisherman inform Woo Ming Jin’s brilliant “The Elephant and the Sea,” the work of a striking new voice on the East Asian film scene..."

"Pic is consistently marvelous to watch, not only in terms of Woo’s patient staging but also his apt choice of long and closeup shots (superbly lensed in digital video by Chan Hai Liang)..."

Here's the link to the review online:

As Edmund mentions, we've refined the film for the local release, adding more music, some editing, shortening of scenes, etc...

Ok, give me your feedback, if you'd like to help us promote the help! thanks!


Heya all,

I'm the associate producer of the THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA. I came in during post-production, many months after a rougher cut of the film had already made its world premiere in last year's Rotterdam Film Festival. Joining Greenlight Pictures nearly a year ago, my main task was really to secure a local theatrical release for the film, and also to 'clean things up' before sending the film to the Censorship Board.

I snipped off 15 minutes from the film. Aside from two sex scenes which we knew wouldn't make the cut, I snipped off a minute or so from many different scenes, which were really unnoticeable cuts that was to help tighten the pacing of the film. THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA was noted in foreign reviews for its minimal use of music (one at the middle, one in the end), there's already a really moody guitar track composed by Ronnie Khoo. Ming Jin and I figured that we want to make the theatrical version slightly different from the festival one, so I also composed additional tracks for the film.

The video below is a preview of one of the tracks I composed.

THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA soundtrack preview

Edmund Yeo
Associate Producer (and Composer :P)