In a welcome move, Communications and Multimedia Ministry has appointed two experienced talents from the film industry to head the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas).
Actor-producer-director Datuk Hans Isaac is the new Finas chairman, while director-actor Ahmad Idham is the corporation’s new chief executive officer. Both Idham and Hans will serve their respective posts for a period of two years.
Datuk Kamil Othman, the former director general of Finas, has always championed the notion that people within the film industry should be the ones to lead the government film body.
In the past, it was mostly political figures who filled up the top positions in Finas. “I believe they can relate better to the ‘on the ground’ issues which they themselves might have encountered personally before,” Kamil commented on the appointment of Hans and Idham.
He continued: “This may mean many industry issues that affect the production ecosystem can now be addressed from the filmmakers’ perspective, at least in the short run.”
This sentiment is shared by Nam Ron, who was the toast of the recent Malaysia Film Festival where his film Crossroads: One Two Jaga won six awards.
“They’d be more knowledgable of the problems we face in the film industry. I hope they look into the aspects on how we could improve for the betterment of the industry,” stated Nam Ron, who is busy in post-production work for his next film.
Langsuir director Osman Ali agreed with his peer. “Since they understand the problems, challenges and difficulties that exist in the film business, I hope they can overcome these issues and be the voice of the industry.
“They have the credibility and the experience. For now, I will remain hopeful and not be sceptical (of this move),” Osman added.
Idham himself concurred that the appointments is a positive one. “With the appointments of Hans and myself, there is now a direct access between the industry players and the ministry, as well as the government.
“I think there’s room to take care of dilemmas and questions that have not been dealt with (in the past).
“With easier access, we can address issues that pop up immediately by calling various parties and respond accordingly,” he said.
Idham, who is known for helming comedies like Tipah Tertipu The Movie, Remp-It, Mr Cinderella and the 2007 horror flick Jangan Pandang Belakang, said that he and Hans have come up with 15 manifestos for the industry.
“There are plans but I cannot reveal them at this point as we will table them to the board next week, before presenting them to the ministry,” added Idham, 45, who calls himself a government servant now, taking a two-year break from directing gigs.
Hans, too, said he will be focusing solely on his job as chairman as a show of his level of commitment.
“In these two years, I will not be accepting any acting offers or get involved in any film and drama productions,” Hans, 48, told The Star’s Malay portal MStar at a recent press meet.
Hans added that he had only wanted to serve as chairman for a year when the position was offered to him.
“The minister asked me to stay on for two years. So, during this period, I want to be free of any other commitments, just so to be fair to all parties.”
According to MStar, Hans thought about the job offer for four months before finally agreeing to it. While Hans was mulling over it, Datuk Samsuni Mohd Nor was Finas acting chairman.
“I want to do a lot of things in my life; I have certain targets I want to achieve,” said the actor who got his big break in the 1995 film Ringgit Kasorrga. “But I am putting my own interests aside to further our local film industry alongside the 20,000 artistes (in the country).”
One of those artistes is Datuk Afdlin Shauki, who has always been vocal about the film industry. Afdlin and Hans had worked together on numerous projects including last year’s music production, Baik Punya Concert 4D.
When asked for his comments on the appointments of his colleagues, Afdlin said: “Personally I am excited that two relatively young (laughs) industry players are representing us. Because of this I have decided to make films again because I believe, this time, change will come.
“These two are hard-working individuals who know exactly what the problems of the industry are because they’ve experienced the problems first-hand.
“They have complained and proposed change before to the powers that be, but sadly because the past administration did not have the passion (for the industry), we never saw any urgency nor change that was required for the betterment of the industry.
“I see these appointments as our best and last chance to make a real and effective change.
“If this doesn’t work, our industry is doomed for the current players and the young ones who are entering the business.
“More power to (Hans and Idham) and we will help them if needed,” Afdlin stated.