Published by Kevin Chong @ 07/12/2020

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Episode IX) still shot

Base Digital Production Sdn Bhd (Base Digital Production) announced that its team of homegrown talents produced visual effects for The Mandalorian TV series and the ending episode of the Star Wars trilogy. This engagement was made possible because of the continuous support from the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) and the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS). Malaysia is now gaining recognition as a preferred destination for film production and post-production activities by filmmakers worldwide.

En. Shakib Ahmad Shakir, Deputy Secretary-General, Minister of Communications Multimedia (KKMM) delivering a speech

En. Shakib Ahmad Shakir, Deputy Secretary-General, Minister of Communications Multimedia (KKMM), highlighted that "amidst this pandemic, it is of paramount importance to KKMM that business sustainability and employment is secured. The FIMI incentive has substantially aided in keeping businesses afloat and retaining steady employment, especially in the digital business industry, such as the visual effects and animation sector. The ministry also emphasizes the training and upskilling of Malaysian talents to ensure they are well equipped and proficient in this digital era. I am confident that with the commitments and inspiring outcomes of Base Digital Production, we are on the pathway of shaping a viable future for Malaysia's digital industry with world-class talents."

The recent premiere of The Mandalorian Season 2 on Disney+ caught the attention of many Malaysians after learning that the USD100mil TV series received financial support from FINAS under the Film In Malaysia Incentive (FIMI). Through FIMI, the Malaysian Government awards international production studios with a 30% subsidy for all expenditures made in Malaysia, be it for filming or post-production activities. By doing so, the Malaysian Government has allowed for the cost of production to be competitively comparable with neighboring countries while producing exceptional visual effects and providing Malaysian talents with the opportunity to work on Hollywood films. A total of 78 artists in Malaysia produced a portion of the visual effects for Season 1 and 2 of The Mandalorian TV series with Qualifying Malaysian Production Expenditure ("QMPE") of USD1.5 million. A total of 70 artists produced a portion of the visual effects for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Episode IX) with a QMPE of USD700K.

The Mandalorian still shot

Dr. Ahmad Idham, CEO of FINAS, said "FIMI has attracted big titles to invest in Malaysian-based production companies, and there are more to come. With that said, Malaysia is now gaining recognition internationally as a preferred hub for visual effects and post-production activities. FINAS will continue in its efforts to develop the film and creative industry in Malaysia and develop local talents to position Malaysia as the preferential destination for international productions."

Dr. Ahmad Idham, CEO of National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS)

Mr. Sailash Kumar, General Manager of Base Digital Production, said "over the years, Base Digital Production has taken the time to train local artists to be able to produce high-end visual effect shots of Hollywood standards. Local talents are also holding supervisorial and management positions in Base Digital Production, which is no simple task as it takes years of experience across different studios."

In a virtual press conference, two artists representing Base Digital Production, Edmund Wong and Nicole Maria Nonis, shared their insights on the creative industry in Malaysia and their journey as artists.

Dato’ Azmir Mutalib, General Manager of Frequency Productions; Mr. Sailash Kumar, General Manager of Base Digital Production; Nicole Maria Nonis, Producer at Base Digital Production

Edmund, a local talent, launched his career as a trainee under Shawn Kelly and Kevin Martel for Lucas Film before transferring to ILM SG to work on the animated feature, Rango, where he remained in Singapore for ten years. With big titles approaching Base Digital Production, the accomplished artist can now add on to his already staggering list of high-profile films while residing in Malaysia. Muhammad Hafeez Salleh took the opportunity to join Base Digital Production in 2018 and was hired as a compositor after seven years of working independently as a freelancer. The Mandalorian project proved to be an important milestone for his career.

Edmund Wong, Lead Animator at Base Digital Production

Nicole rapidly rose through the artist ranks for her skill and resourcefulness with experience on set and post-production. She began her career in VFX with Double Negative Singapore and moved to Rising Sun Pictures in Australia before joining Base Media in Beijing. Nicole is experienced in both the client and the studio side of VFX. She is currently a Producer at Base Digital Production leading the training of the production team as well as resource management. Her credits include Aquaman, Peter Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok, Logan, Alien Covenant, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Star Trek: Beyond, Terminator Genisys, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II.

Mr. Sailash added "with FIMI, we are also able to bring back Malaysian talents that left their families behind and travelled abroad in search of a career in the field of visual effects and animation. Base Digital Production has now recruited approximately 10 Malaysian artists that have been working overseas and provided them with a sustainable platform here in Base Digital Production, allowing them to pursue their passion in visual effects and animation."

Malaysia has also seen a spill-over effect as a result of FIMI's successes as local universities such as, Multimedia University (MMU) and The One Academy (TOA) have started to enrol programs on visual effects.

In time, with the continuous support from the Ministry and FINAS, we will welcome a bigger pool of local talent that will drive the creative industry in Malaysia to greater strength and international recognition.

Kindly visit www.filminmalaysia.com for more information on The Film In Malaysia Incentive (FIMI).