Forget Finas, critic tells local filmmakers
INTERVIEW | The time has come for the local film industry to forget the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas), according to film critic Hassan Abdul Muthalib.
He said it was because those appointed to lead Finas had no idea of their responsibilities within the agency.
“If about Finas, it’s simple. Forget Finas. They all don’t know what they’re supposed to do.
“Why am I saying this? It’s simple, just take any senior (Finas) officer and ask them to talk spontaneously about Malaysian films,” Hassan said in an interview with Malaysiakini.
He lamented that the level of Malaysian film executives is far below that of their counterparts in other countries who are more familiar with the Malaysian film scene, even for spontaneous conversation.
“But in Malaysia, I’m sorry to say… If you’re in charge of an organization, you need to know your stuff so that when you attend an event, let’s say a foreigner comes to talk to us, we can talk about the Malaysian movies.
“That’s how you convince them (foreigners), not like now if there’s an event where they (Malaysian cinema officials) don’t show up or mingle,” Hassan said.
He said the inability to converse with foreign film developers was compounded by poor English language proficiency.
“That’s why since 2006 I stopped being involved with them (Finas),” he added.
Besides individuals within Finas, Hassan said the agency as a whole was created 41 years ago solely to promote the interests of a privileged few.
Having been involved with Finas in its early days, Hassan noted how he began to keep a distance following political appointments made to lead the agency.
“They (Finas) appointed a new general manager of Umno… they all ‘cheated money’. Do you know who sits on the Finas board? What are they doing? They don’t know anything “, he pointed out.
Further commenting, Hassan, who is also known as the “Father of Malaysian Animation”, said that political appointments and interference had led to the general decline of Finas and its predecessor, the National Film Agency ( Film Negara).
“The (Malaysian) animation started at Filem Negara because it had the equipment, and coincidentally I was there, so I know a bit of its history from my research.
“In 1995 I took early retirement. I said I was 49 and even if I waited I can’t grow and I can’t develop Filem Negara,” said Hassan whose credits of the film as an animator include 80s hits Mekanik and Mat Gelap.
“Employees back then were all about their salaries, when to take their leave, what cars could they buy next, and that’s all they do.
“When by right they were the ones who had the responsibility of starting the film industry in KL,” he said.
Recalling his time with the organization, Hassan said he was the victim of sarcastic remarks after failing to offer any gift to the person claiming to have pushed for his promotion.
“Even an acclaimed director like U-Wei Haji Shaari received no recognition.
“That’s why I said forget about Finas,” he said.