Metrowealth Movies Production, Malaysia's most active Malay-language film producer in 2003, is making a foray into foreign language films targeted at the regional markets.
In April next year, cameras will start rolling on an as yet unnamed Thai-language film. Professor Madya A Razak Mohaideen, who has made eight films for Metrowealth since 2002 and will start on his ninth 7 Perhentian this week, will divide up the directorship with a Thai director.
The $660,000 (RM2.5m) film will be shot in Thailand starring a local cast. It is a romantic comedy - a remake of Cinta Kolestrol, a box office hit produced by Metrowealth earlier this year with Erra Fazira, a former beauty queen and currently Malaysia's highest paid actress, playing an overweight woman.
Metrowealth CEO David Teo says that he also has plans for other foreign language films such as Indonesia-language and Chinese-language pictures at a later stage.
The company is currently preparing to break into the Indonesia market. Cinta Kolestrol and an earlier film Mistik will be screened in 20 cinemas in Jakarta in January and February 2004 respectively. Three years ago its first production Syukur 21 was also released in Jakarta.
Teo adds that both Cinta Kolestrol and Mistik have already passed the Indonesia's censorship board and will be distributed by PT Metro Movies Production, a subsidiary of the Metrowealth International Group in Indonesia.
So far, Metrowealth finances all its films. But it will soon be going into co-productions, its first partner being Malaysia's TV channel TV3. Their first project is a comedy thriller directed by the same Madya Razak and scheduled to start shooting from 15 January 2004. A second co-production project with TV3 is in the pipeline.
Metrowealth operates three cinemas, one in Kajang and two in Alor Star, with a total of five screens.