It began with a story in Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s autobiography A Doctor In The House. Actor-producer Bront Palarae was reading a chapter on how Dr Mahathir was part of a plan to acquire a profitable Malaysian company from the British government back in 1981. The top secret operation was known as Dawn Raid.
“I was like ‘Wow, this is a cool story’. Then I encouraged a few friends who are executives in major production companies to turn the story into a movie. But none of them saw the potential,” he said in a WhatsApp interview with Star2.
Bront, 39, couldn’t let the idea go. So he decided he would make the movie – titled Dawn Raid: The Hands That Rattled The Queen – under his own production company Pixel Play.
“After years of telling people about it, I thought maybe I should try putting it together. MDeC (Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation) helped us with some fund to develop the idea. We interviewed a few individuals including Tun Mahathir during the research and development process. Tun himself admitted that he only played a minimal role in the operation,” said Bront who will direct the movie.
The Dawn Raid story will be told as a heist movie. It follows the story of Khalid, a banker, who is roped in to be a part of corporate take-over mission at the London Stock Exchange.
Bront said audience can expect elements like “clock-ticking” and “big stakes”.
“Our idea is to run away from the museum-tour kinda presentation or a reenactment. At the end of the day, we still have to serve the film medium and entertain the audience. So we think the heist genre works best for the story.”
Then Pixel Play released a four-minute Dawn Raid: The Hands That Rattled The Queen teaser video on May 11. The clip featured Shaheizy Sam, Sofia Jane and Redza Minhat acting as key players in the Dawn Raid operation. It received some positive feedback on social media with most applauding Bront and his team for taking on an ambitious project.
However, Bront still needs additional funding to begin principal photography in January 2019.
He started a crowdfunding campaign seeking RM2mil. Overall, Dawn Raid: The Hands That Rattled The Queen would cost RM4mil to produce.
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It would also be equally awesome if you would share it with your friends too!
— Bront Palarae (@Bront_Palarae) July 1, 2018
In a lengthy Twitter thread posted on May 14, Bront explained why crowdfunding is necessary to help maintain the integrity of his story.
“Some crazy offers were being thrown at us, with crazy numbers. Of course with kickbacks and terms to omit certain names of out of the picture. We got tempted, but we resisted,” he said on Twitter.
The crowdfunding project has thus far collected over RM8,000. With less than a month to go before the crowdfunding project meet its deadline, Bront is appealing for more donors. He hopes to release Dawn Raid: The Hands That Rattled The Queen in August 2019.
“This story fits the bill perfectly within the context of Malaysia Baru. It’s a good time to draw some inspiration from our past in order for us to move forward. In some ways, this movie will make you feel proud to be a Malaysian,” he concluded.