AS Kamil Othman‘s two-year term as director-general of the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS) draws to an end, rumours have begun floating about the fate of the film development authority.
Some quarters allege his replacement has been made — a toss up between one politician and another FINAS personnel — while others believe Kamil will retain hold of his position for at least one more term.
Local filmmakers and members of the public however have decided to voice out their support for Kamil while waiting for an official announcement from authorities. Having collected over 470 signatures and 160 comments since it circulated on social media yesterday, online petition Industri Perlu Kamil! is currently generating awareness about Kamil and FINAS’s role in the local filmscape over the past two years.
The petition summarises Kamil’s contributions to the local film industry since coming into office in November 2014. Among Kamil’s highlighted efforts include his attempts to restructure FINAS, revamp the compulsory screening scheme and establish connections between local and international filmmaking talent. The petition also brings into light Kamil’s strong performance in his previous role as vice president of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDeC).
Initiated by iPetitions user Steve Irwin on 6 November 2016, Industri Perlu Kamil has already garnered the support of numerous local thinkers and creatives. Filmmaker Tunku Mona Riza, George Town Festival‘s Joe Sidek, scholar Zainah Anwar, BFM‘s Ezra Zaid, producer Bea Tanaka, playwright Nam Ron and actress Dawn Cheong are just some of 479 notable individuals who have signed the petition thus far.
The petition’s goal is for the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM) to take heed of Kamil’s efforts as director-general of FINAS and allow him to stay in his position for another term. It hopes that Kamil’s continued leadership will bring FINAS on par with respected film development entities such as Screen Australia and the Korean Film Council.
Industri Perlu Kamil!
We, the producers, directors, actors and members of the Malaysian film industry,
Wish to extend our deepest appreciation, support and confidence in the continued governance of Dato Kamil Othman as Director-General of FINAS based on the following grounds:
1. The establishment of the Content Malaysia Pitching Centre (CMPC), which has simplified FINAS funding application processes unifying sectors of the Malaysian film industry, which were previously divided. The establishment of CMPC has provided for the inclusive empowerment of our film industry.
2. The process of funding applications emphasising ‘development’ before production as a necessary step towards elevating the quality of Malaysian film narratives.
3. Producing a “Technology Unit” for industry players to keep abreast with the rapid worldwide development of industry-related technologies and to train the next generation of filmmakers. The success of this unit has benefited countless Malaysian filmmakers through the CILL program, Next New Wave and Astro Shortcuts.
4. The ‘Tanya KP’ (Ask Director-General) event which takes place one Friday of every month. This event has allowed for FINAS and filmmakers to better understand each other’s roles and to bring the two parties closer together.
5. Providing a space for World Cinema through the Cinematheque@FINAS, which has played host to Kelab Seni Filem Malaysia, which is Malaysia’s oldest and most established film club in the country.
6. The rearrangement of FINAS’ structure to place emphasis on the role of the film industry as a significant contributor to the Malaysian economy and not solely as a source of entertainment for the public.
7. Formulating a sustainable financial plan for FINAS for the years 2014/2015 and 2016/2017 earlier on. Decisions and planning of this nature cannot be left to the final hour.
8. Invigorating the creative industry in Sabah Sarawak through the Jelajah Pitching Micro Fund and ‘Development Fund Pitching’ whilst announcing the establishment of the Kinabalu Creative Centre to ease the burden of Sabah Sarawak filmmakers who have long had to travel to West Malaysia for official film-related processes.
9. Improved and elevated the status of Skim Wajib Tayang.
10. The establishment of the Museum of Moving Image and Mediatheque.
11. Introducing local filmmakers to international production funders and corporations.
12. Emphasising on the strategic exposure of local films through international film festivals at a scale not yet seen before in Malaysian film history.
13. Nearing the structure of Malaysian filming to CNC France and the European Union.
14. His proactive membership within the Asian Content Business Summit and also his recent re-appointment as the Vice President of the Asian Film Commission Network, Korea this October 2016.
15. Enacting Co-production Treaties that will smoothen the processes of co-productions between local and International Producers.
16. Providing for more enticing incentives behind shooting in Malaysia for International Film and TV Producers.
The Content Creation industry and the future of the Malaysian film industry requires technical leadership that can position Malaysian cinema both on a local and global frontier. Since Dato Kamil Othman’s appointment as Vice President of MDeC, he has proven himself as a competent innovator, bringing Malaysia’s animation industry to the international stage. This also includes the establishment of the Sabah Animation Creative Content Centre (SAC3), which within a short period, has successfully prepared students in East Malaysia for working on international animation productions.
The dedication and accolades of Dato Kamil Othman cannot be understated anywhere in Malaysia nor on a global front. With this, we kindly request that the Ministry to continue the leadership, efforts and contributions of Dato Kamil as the Directory-General of FINAS.
Lastly, we implore FINAS as an internationally respected entity that is globally on par with the Korean Film Council, Screen Australia, Film France and the British Film Commission. We believe that Dato Kamil Othman is the only person for the position who can competently and clearly realise our industry’s full potential, and the dreams for Malaysian cinema.
Majulah filem untuk Negara.
Check out Industri Perlu Kamil! to participate and sign the petition. Got something to say? Make sure to leave a comment below or join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #industriperlukamil.