LOCAL media and entertainment company KRU Studio has chalked up a new milestone for Malaysian cinema with the country’s first film shot in stereoscopic 3D (S3D). The 110-minute movie, titled 29 Februari, will open nationwide in 79 cinemas today.
Directed by Edry Abdul Halim at a cost of about RM3 million, 29 Februari has a cross-cultural story that spans over a century with the nation’s history as backdrop and heading the cast are Remy Ishak and Jojo Goh as forbidden lovers.
“We carried out technical studies in S3D production since January 2011 before embarking on 29 Februari,” said KRU Studios founder and 29 Februari executive producer Norman Abdul Halim at a Press preview of the movie on Tuesday at TGV Cinemas in Sunway Pyramid, Petaling Jaya.
“Typically, S3D films are mainly produced by the major Hollywood studios and our production of 29 Februari proves the ability of the Malaysian film industry to match the technological advances of foreign studios. Moving forward, 29 Februari sets a new chapter in our film industry and in the digital aspects of making movies.”
Edry, whose musical movie Magika won Best Film at the 23rd Malaysia Film Festival, said: “We started shooting 29 Februari in August last year and it took 40 days and we used two cameras for the 3D effects. Postproduction, including to synchronise the 3D effects, took about eight months, so that means we spent a year to complete this project.
“The in-depth plot of 29 Februari covers our country’s history from 1896, British colonialism, the Japanese takeover during World War II and more recent events like the May 13, 1969 racial riots. The cast delivered brilliant performances and I am satisfied with the musical score, sound arrangement and the original music sung by the actors themselves.”
In producing 29 Februari, KRU Studios receiving financing under the Special Fund Effects by the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) whose aims include helping develop the local film industry to achieve international standards.
When The Malay Mail asked Edry on how they acquired the S3D technology, he said: “We have an animator who had worked on James Cameron’s 2009 movie Avatar, and he collaborated with us on Cicakman 2. He introduced us to the technology but we did additional research in Germany.
We have a joint venture with a 3D company in Germany and also another company in Bangkok, Thailand.
Before we starting shooting 29 Februari, we did a 10-minute test shot to make sure the outcome of our product didn’t make audiences dizzy. This involved a lot of shooting techniques and I’m glad that we managed to overcome those little problems. For those who want to shoot 3D movies in the future, you can contact us.”
29 Februari revolves around Budi (played by Remy Ishak) who was born on Feb 29, 1896 and magically this makes him age only one year for every four years. As such, Budi ages slowly and this proves to be both a blessing and a curse as he experiences the birth of a new nation in 1957 and beyond. Romance for Budi comes in the form of Lily (Jojo Goh in the role) whose family forbids her and Budi from being together.
Also starring are Izzue Islam (as Razak), Fizz Fairuz (Johan), Dian P. Ramlee (Budi’s mother Sakinah), Riz Amin (Budi’s father Halim during British era), Ramli Hassan (Halim during the Japanese Occupation), Chew Kin Wah (Lily’s father Mr Ho), Teng Ti Chan (Lily’s mother Mrs Ho), Jing Ling (Lily’s younger sister Julie), Muniff Isa (Arif), Namron (Salam), Wan Hanafi Wan Su (Khalid), Johan Abdullah (Johnson) and Khathir (Maniappan).
At the Press preview, TGV Cinemas screened 29 Februari in GXM Inc’s Hollywood studio-qualified 3D system called X-Mirror in which movie-goers are immersed in a hyper-realistic film viewing experience.
“TGV Cinemas realises the importance of being technologically competitive to offer the best film viewing experience,” said TGV Cinemas chief executive officer Kenny Wong.
“The introduction of XMirror technology is just one of our continued commitments to lead the cinema industry with innovative and unique products and services. Our IMAX digital theatre system, also TGV Club and the Beanieplex, reinforce our passion and commitment to continuously remain relevant to our customers, and we are confident in offering Malaysians incomparable experiences when watching 29 Februari.”
Negri Sembilan-born Remy, who turned 30 on April 11, said of his lead role: “Budi is a sweet, charming and very loyal person by nature and his aging very slowly makes him special. I think such a role of a person has not been done in local movies before.”
Kuala Lumpur-born Goh, who grew up in Alor Setar, Kedah and turned 29 on March 29, said: “My character Lily is constantly pressured by her family who has plans on what she should be, so she feels locked up. But she’s a very imaginative person and her dream is to be a singer.
After she meets Budi, he opens up her dreams as he encourages her in subtle ways and this makes her comfortable with herself and with him.”
Edry, who turned 36 on April 28, added: “The message of 29 Februari is that we shouldn’t take time for granted. Budi thinks that just because he ages slowly, that means he has all the time in the world.”
What’s his next project?
“Magika was a full musical and 29 Februari has three songs which are used in a different context. My signature talent is music, so I want to do more musicals,” said Edry who, together with Norman and Yusry, are brothers who first gained fame in 1992 as rap trio KRU.
29 Februari will premiere at two cinemas in Singapore and two cinemas in Brunei on Sept 6.