Monday, 1 August 2011

With Thanks from BEFF 2011

How cool was it to have a rare 12-foot long King Cobra attempting to participate in the BEFF 2011 at the Rainforest Discovery Centre! And how appropriate that Cede Prudente was talking about the “Wild Wonders of Sabah” in his talk in BEFF 2011.  We know his photographs are amazing and beautiful but we didn’t know he has a following from wild creatures, too!

We were half wondering whether the sun bears will also be in attendance during Wong Siew Te talk on “The holistic approaches to Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) to conserve sun bears in Sabah”. 

 Photo source: BSBCC website

You can go to BSBCC website for further information about BSBCC work and Bornean sun bears. Watch the BEARTREK demo reel here, one of the film screened in the BEFF 2011. Not many people are aware of the plight of the Bornean sun bears. BEFF 2011 is pleased to have been able to at least provide some sort of avenue for creating awareness on the great work of BSBCC and the plight of Bornean sun bears. It is amazing to see and be in the presence of someone so passionate about his work in protecting the sun bears. It was indeed a privilege to have Wong be a part of BEFF 2011.  Save sun bears!!

Nikon Malaysia gave an interesting presentation on “Movie-Making with a Nikon DSLR”, and some goodies giveaway for those who can name international and local film directors. Nikon Malaysia also sponsored the prizes for the lucky draw during BEFF 2011. Thank you Nikon Malaysia!

These three talks launched the BEFF 2011 on Friday 29th July. Then it was a mad dash to Nak Hotel for the film screenings which began at 7pm. The screenings were held at Balin Rooftop Restaurant and Bar, an open air area on the roof top of Nak Hotel. And what a view!! The sunset, the sea, the shop buildings and there was a huge navy ship docked at the bay about 200 meters from the BEFF venue. 

Husband and wife team Anton and Linn (BEFF main organizers in Sandakan) did a wonderful job of setting up the venue and providing the space for BEFF 2011 film screenings. 

BEFF 2011 saw the screening of 15 thought provoking films by Abdul Hamid Abdullah, Arry & Fizzah, Joe Pontecorvo & Chris Morgan, JICA & Scubazoo, BorneoColours, Mai Iskandar, Ikhwan Rivai, Cassia Mary Itamoto & Celina Kurihara, Audrie Yeo, Patrick Rouxel, BBC & Roger Munns, WWF & Harun Rahman, Dario Novellino & ALDAW Networks, ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity Conservation, and Thorfinnur Gudnason and Andri Snaer Magnason. The screening was made extra special by the presence of some of the filmmakers to answer questions about their films. Now that is what we call "access"! The questions posed were equally thought provoking and we are sure many who were there at BEFF 2011 left with greater awareness about our environment and how we can all contribute towards the protection and preservation of our natural habitat.

Here's one of the film screened during BEFF 2011. Thank you Harun Rahman for sharing this important film with us.

The film screenings were made even more special with the presence of talented and award winning musicians Christopher Aban; Amir Yussof and friend; Roger Wang; Angelina Perete; Hezekiah Asim and wife Kalina who performed a Borneo Orang Ulu dance. Strong wind, dark clouds and lightning did not stop the audience from clapping their hands in rhythm with the music elegantly sang by Angelina accompanied by the masterful sound of Roger Wang on the guitar, and what looks like a wooden-vase-cum-drums (Udu Vase?) played by multi-talented Hezekiah who also played the Sompoton (Bornean flute), Hulusi (Chinese flute made using bamboo and gourd), as well as the Sape (a traditional lute of Bornean Orang Ulu). Amir Yusof performed his excellent and meaningful song "Calling on you". Here's a clip of Amir singing the song (clip taken from Youtube):

The final day was a closed session, the SUARA Workshop: Community Filmmaking, which was facilitated by Ulu Papar Community Researchers, Inanc Tekguc, Artiso Mandawa and Global Diversity Foundation, and filmmakers Chris Chong Chan Fui and Ikhwan Rivai. This year's community is HUTAN, a non-profit organisation working to develop and implement innovative solutions to conserve the orang-utan in Sabah, Malaysia. BEFF 2011 is very grateful to Panasonic Malaysia for the generous sponsor for this year's SUARA workshop. Thank you Panasonic Malaysia!

Overall, about 300 people, from Malaysia, U.S.A., Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, England and others, the Minister of Youth and Sports Sabah, Sandakan Municipal Council President, and representatives from organisations such as Sabah Society, Kota Kinabalu International Film Festival attended BEFF 2011 from 29th to 31st July 2011. On average about 35 participants attended each sessions on film and documentary making by Harun Rahman of Novista, Chris Chong Chan Fui of Tanjung Aru Pictures, Ikhwan Rivai of Wildman Pictures, and Roger Munns of Scubazoo. Each one of the esteemed speakers generously shared with the participants their knowledge, acquired through years of experience, on film making. These include pre-production and post-productions matters, equipments, writing proposals, research, difference between a subject and story, the importance of using good tripods, how to ensure the sound recording for your film is good, story arc, where to start, how to get your film out there, plots and characters, character arc, importance of good storytelling, funding, pitching, legal matters and many more, about documentaries that make audience ask questions, about telling your own story your way, and as Chris puts it "why not?". Roger's talk on underwater filmmaking left the audience sitting on the edge of their seats as Roger shared the thrills, tribulations and fun of underwater filmmaking. 

At the end of the day, each filmmakers were unanimous in their message that if you want to be a filmmaker, the best way to start is to just go out there and start filming. Let your imagination run free, be creative, just have the mindset that you just have to do it right now and you have what it takes to make things happen. Be the filmmaker that you are right now!

Finally, our sincere gratitude to all who believed in the BEFF 2011 and made it possible! Join us again for the BEFF 2012!