Monday, March 06, 2006

Hot Docs & Herzog


Lelaki Komunis Terakhir will make its North American premiere in competition in Toronto's Hot Docs , the largest documentary festival and market on that continent. I look forward to visiting Toronto for the first time in late April not only to present the screening and take in a few films, but also to meet with one of my filmmaking heroes. Yes, Werner Herzog will be getting a special award and giving a talk. Will he be as drolly strange and wondrous as his films? Only time and a very long flight can tell.

The only drawback will be the painful process of getting a Canadian visa. The locals who man the process here in Kuala Lumpur are total jerks. It's a truth nationally acknowledged that the biggest assholes in Western-owned organisations here are not the mat salleh themselves but the uppity Malaysians in them. I had to deal with them when applying to attend another festival 2 years ago and the resultant hassle was of the kind that inspires suicide bombing as a career option.

But as Herzog once said: "The world is not easily accepting of filmmaking. There will always be some sort of an obstacle, and the worst of all obstacles is the spirit of bureaucracy. You have to find your way to battle bureaucracy. You have to outsmart it, to outgut it, to outnumber it, to outfilm them -- that's what you have to do."

But then again, he also once said, of the ending of one of his films: "When I saw the dancing chicken, I knew I would create a grand metaphor -- for what, I don't know."

So in that spirit, it will be off to Toronto I go.

10 Comments:

Anonymous lil ms d said...

congratulations amir! hope to see it in kl soon!

8:41 am  
Blogger Maya said...

While I await its arrival in San Francisco. Amir, I'm delighted to discover your blogsite this evening. We met during the SF International Film Festival last year. I've started blogging myself these days and look forward to profiling you in the near future!

1:46 pm  
Blogger Ambient Noise said...

Wow! Hope you get to chat with Herzog. Got a boxset that could sure use his signature on it....

3:23 pm  
Blogger Maya said...

The near future has arrived, Amir. Check this out if you're so inclined:

http://theeveningclass.blogspot.com/2006/03/malaysian-cinemas-amir-muhammad.html

May I have my poster now?

I'm so glad to have a place to find out what's going on with you. I look forward to checking in here regularly.

5:08 am  
Blogger XMOCHA! said...

Just applied for Canadian visa a few weeks ago, wasnt that bad, but I do know what you mean.

Did we get edited out?

10:44 pm  
Blogger Amir said...

Hey Micheal,

I am humbled by your praise, which I am sure will chill when you get the chance to finally watch one of them movies...No plans for a San Francisco screening yet (I would love to return someday to visit the Green Apple bookstore alone) although there are other US playdates which shall be hyped on this blog in due course...

9:28 pm  
Blogger Amir said...

Hey See Ming
Your "Gemilang Komunisme" performance was apparenly one of the highlights of the Berlin screenings...

9:28 pm  
Anonymous aw said...

Dear Amir,

It has to be said that I will forever associate you with a phrase you wrote in Perforated Sheets when I was still in school: "surreptious thrill".

I think you were writing something about sneaking off to the library.

At the risk of sounding like a dork, whenever I think of that phrase, and Fauzi's accompanying cartoons, I laugh gleefully at how funny it is.

I remember thinking, this guy is the funniest Malaysian writer, ever. Then you disappeared for a few years in the Malaysian consciousness. (Or maybe because I shipped myself off overseas)

I'm glad I found you back.

10:36 am  
Anonymous aw said...

um.. surreptitious. Pardon my star-struck-ness.

10:37 am  
Anonymous silky said...

Aww, congrats amir for getting a general release on your doc!

I hope you'll get a proper chat with the man himself, Mr Herzog! Can't wait to read your thoughts here.

11:46 pm  

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