Malaysia is stepping up its presence at Cannes this year, unveiling a slate of international projects and organising a country pavilion in the Palais for the first time.
The booth, co-organised by Malaysia’s National Film Development Corp (FINAS) and Global Creative and Media Agency (GCMA), is hosting Malaysian companies such as KRU Studios, Flare Studios, Astro Shaw and Lineclear Motion Pictures.
Highlighting the rising ambitions of Malaysian producers, international projects being promoted at the booth include $3m CGI action adventure Mantera, $3-5m war epic Between Two Skies and $6m action adventure The Malay Chronicles: Bloodlines.
Mantera, about a boy with a bike that transforms into robotic armour, is a co-production between Flare Studios, Moscow-based Tanarm and Space Toon Dubai. Mantera is an acronym for Man Transformable Exo-Robotic Armour.
The project, starring Malaysian pop star Tomok, is also being developed as a game and TV series. The film is currently in post-production and will be completed in two months.
Lineclear’s Between Two Skies, a co-production with Australia’s A2K Media, revolves around Malaysian and Australian soldiers uniting to defend Malaya against Japanese invasion in World War II.
KRU Studios’ Malay Chronicles is being produced through a partnership between KRU and US-based Epic Pictures. Epic is handling international sales and has already closed multiple territories on the film.
“We always go to Filmart, MIP-TV and MIPCOM as our TV industry is strong, but in the past we felt our film was not up to international standards,” says FINAS director general Mahyidin Mustakim. “But we now feel we have product that can be accepted at an international level.”
Launched in 1981, FINAS is involved in the funding and marketing of local films and also acts as a regulatory body. GCMA is a new private entity that has a mandate to promote Malaysian content as a joint effort between the private sector and all the major government content-related bodies.
“As the quality of Malaysian film and TV project has improved significantly in the past few years, my goal is to help enhance Malaysian creativity and bridge international co-production and distribution opportunities across the world,” says GCMA executive director Adam Ham.
Malaysia’s local films have doubled their domestic box office to from ringgits 40m in 2008 to 83m in 2010. However they still only have a market share of only 12% due to competition from Hollywood and Hong Kong films.