Good Storytelling Overcomes Language Barriers

Published by Mila Ismail @ 02/03/2016

(L-R) Bernard Chauly, Tan Chui Mui, Dr. Norman Yusoff, Sandosh Kesavan, and Wong Tuck Cheong.

Malaysian film directors; Bernard Chauly, Sandosh Kesavan, and Tan Chun Mui concluded that good storytelling overcomes language barriers in the local film industry, at the recent ‘Malaysian Films in the Context of Today's Community' seminar and forum held at the Content Malaysia Pitching Centre last Saturday.

Moreover, they believe that the Malaysian audience have matured and are more receptive towards films of all languages and genres, as long as the film is of high quality. Hence, it is a must for the industry to set a benchmark for Malaysian film makers to produce high quality films, especially ones with elements of Malaysian culture and identity.

"Language should not be a barrier for the audience to feel, appreciate and watch a movie. Ultimately, it all comes down to quality. If a film is well-made, it should be able to appeal to all kinds of people, no matter what language it is in," urged Sandosh Kesavan.

That being said, industry veteran, Wong Tuck Cheong expressed his concern over language as a barrier to watching a movie. “In Malaysia, because of our sociology, we are divided into distinct racial groups – and unfortunately, the same logic was applied to film where it was categorised into different groups based on its language, producers, and talents which mean that some good films are left unwatched because of the language factor,” he added.

However, Bernard Chauly, whose film garnered two awards at the 27th Malaysia Film Festival last year was optimistic that today’s filmgoers are more amenable. He said, “I look forward to the day that local films get accepted by the local audience no matter what medium of language it uses, and I think this can happen sooner than we thought based on the audience’s acceptance that we saw recently."

Also present at the forum were Dato' Kamil Othman, Director General of FINAS and Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar, former Chairman of Media Prima Berhad.

Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar and Dato' Kamil Othman with other attendees of the seminar and forum.