Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Someone in Europe likes our films. Alhamdulillah.

Monday, April 28, 2008

They've agreed to sell the rights for this achingly beautiful song to us for "Talentime". Alhamdulillah!

The latest developments in the pre-production of "Talentime":

One, my young Singaporean actor has pulled out, due to some family problems. He will be replaced by Mohd. Syafie Naswip of "Mukhsin" fame. (Poor Syafie had been pleading with me to put him in another film, so he was well pleased when I told him he was on.)

Secondly, this song entitled "O Re Piya", which I've so badly wanted for "Talentime", is now available to us. Sung by Rahat (nephew of the late Nusrat) Fateh Ali Khan in a way that makes the hair on my arms stand every time, the lyrics of this haunting piece sounds like it was just written for one crucial scene in "Talentime".

"Feels like I've been walking barefoot on burning embers
Feels like I've been growing up among total strangers
O beloved, take me away to your destiny
This blind, narrow-minded world is my enemy"

Sigh. Heartbreaking...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lunch with the Stars!

This afternoon, nine months after shooting that Petronas commercial with Tan Hong Ming and his objet d'amour, Ummi Qazrina, I took the little sweethearts to lunch.

How quickly kids grow!

To date, the commercial "Tan Hong Ming In Love" has picked up a total of 10 international accolades, nine in the Asia-Pacific region, and one in the United Kingdom.

And it has already made it to the finals at two international advertising award shows in the United States. Of course I don't know if it will win anything there, but you know what? Even as things stand right now, my cup runneth over.

"Look what God can do!"


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What the Media Spikes thought of Tan Hong Ming.

Fifteen judges from the United States, Europe, and Asia were faced with hundreds of TV commercial entries from the Asia-Pacific region.

In the final rounds, only 38 commercials from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia had survived.

Of the 38, 20 remained as Finalists, 8 were given Bronze Spikes, and 10 got Silver Spikes. (At that stage, the Tan Hong Ming campaign had already received 3 Bronzes and 3 Silvers.)

Now the competition was heating up. Only one Gold Spike winner was to be chosen from the Silver Spike recipients, and that commercial would be declared THE best one in the region for 2007/2008.

After a secret ballot, Jeff Goodby, the Chairman of the Jury, declared that a far second was a brilliant commercial from Japan entitled "The Non-Blinking Woman" from Dentsu Tokyo.

And the Gold Spike winner of the year was a little commercial entitled "Tan Hong Ming In Love".


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Love is...

Friday, April 11, 2008

What on God's earth was he talking about?

He was Kobayashi Issa. Born in 1763 and died in 1828, he is widely regarded as one of the four great haiku masters of Japan.

He wrote chiefly about the world around him. Mountains, snow, spring, insects, animals, leaves, rivers, ponds.

And yet, in these brief poems of limited syllable count, he captured moments of love, compassion, inspiration, and even epiphany.

In my quiet moments of despair and disillusionment, apart from turning to the Noble Koran, I often read Issa's haiku. In them, I find a rare sort of calmness, amid the storms of my daily life.

Below are 23 of my favourite haiku. Can anyone here tell me what I see in them, and more importantly, why they are a source of calm and peace for me?

"Don't worry, spiders,
I keep house

"I'm going out,
flies, so relax,
make love."

"A huge frog and I,
staring at each other,
neither of us moves."

"Last time, I think,
I'll brush the flies
from my father's face."

"A cuckoo sings
to me, to the mountain,
to me, to the mountain."

"Asked how old he was,
the boy in the new kimono
stretched out all five fingers."

"Having slept, the cat gets up,
yawns, goes out
to make love."

"Hey, sparrow!
out of the way,
Horse is coming."

"These sea slugs,
they just don't seem

"Even with insects--
some can sing,
some can't."

"Children imitating cormorants
are even more wonderful
than cormorants."

"Not very anxious
to bloom,
my plum tree."

"That wren--
looking here, looking there.
You lose something?"

"The distant mountains
are reflected in the eye
of the dragonfly."

"A world of dew,
and within every dewdrop
a world of struggle."

"The dog walks by
with a hat...
fallen leaf."

"O flea! Whatever you do,
don't jump;
that way is the river."

"O owl!
Make some other face.
This is spring rain."

"That gorgeous kite
from the beggar's shack."

"I'm going to roll over,
so please move,

"A firefly
creeping up my sleeve.
OK, I'm a blade of grass."

"Singing high ---
A cricket on a log
floating down the river."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

One of the songs to be featured in "Talentime".

It was a hit in Korea.

When I first heard it, the hair on the back of my neck stood right on end. I knew then that this would be the perfect song to follow a very painful scene towards the end of the story, and immediately gave Pete Teo a call at a few minutes past midnight.

He said yes instantly. Thank God!

Another song that will be featured in "Talentime" is a beautiful mood piece called "Just Hold On", written by Azhar, a Malaysian in Melbourne who has been winning awards in Australia for his music.

And of course, my father's "Kasih Tak Kembali" will somehow find its way somewhere in the film.

I'm terribly excited about it all at the moment, because the plot has taken several unexpected twists as I'm writing it. It's almost as if it has a life of its own now.

Actors that have said "Yes" so far are Mahesh Jugal Kishor, the three Sharifahs (Amani, Aleysha and Aryana), Hafiz (a brilliant young actor I saw perform on stage in Singapore), Azean Irdawaty, Harith Iskandar, Harith's mum (an English lady in her 80's possessing of a deadly deadpan wry sense of humour), Mislina Mustaffa, Tan Mei Ling, Adibah Noor, Zahim al-Bakri, and Noor Khiriah.

And of course about seven to eight songs which might later be compiled into a soundtrack album.

Inshaallah, inshaallah, inshaallah.

Anyways... here are the lyrics to this song:

"So long, fare thee well
The dancer and the dancing days have taken leave and fell
So turn down this bed of stone
Quench me with the deadly nightshade from the rose that you belong
The long December rain is falling now
Running down on streets to nowhere
Music is my life - you're my sweetest nightingale
But I can't hear it here no more
And I go...
Hush now, don't shake or break
Words have fallen silent like soldiers to the grave
No matter what they do or say
Lay me on the sleepy meadows by the tracks upon your face"

[Words & Music by Pete Teo. All rights reserved 2007]