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Nadiah Hamzah’s journey to her silver-screen debut


motif filem malaysia nadiah hamza

Nadiah Hamzah (L) and Sharifah Amani (R) from “Motif”

Nadiah Hamzah, an award-winning Malaysian director whose anti-bullying film for Save The Children went viral online recently, came to IACT College to share her journey in making her debut feature film, “MOTIF” (in cinemas on 24th September 2019). Joining her at the talk were Malaysian actress Sharifah Amani and producers of “MOTIF” Muhamad Bahir and Farah Al-Amin from Wayangworks.

“Before you start making a film, start by writing down that idea you have – whether it’s 1-page script, or a 196-page, just start and develop your idea from where you are!” Nadiah said. “However, don’t be so fixated on the story idea when you have one. Share it with others, collect feedback and let it evolve because a good story idea can be organic, and it can be bigger than you eventually!”

motif filem malaysia nadiah hamzah sharifah amani iact college

Nadiah Hamzah, the award winning director behind “Motif”

Nadiah Hamzah also screened two of her works in the sharing session. “Hi, I’m Julia”, a short film produced in 2012 for Astro My Hometown and “Projek Eid”, a 2019 Raya Commercial for Axiata. Both films offered students a glimpse into Nadiah’s mind behind crafting a story. “I’ve always wondered whether people will like the film I make. It’s true!” Nadiah confessed, “However, this rule I abide to has been working so far: Always hook people with emotions, and develop your story around it, because emotion is universal and everyone can relate to it!”

Producer Farah Al-Amin also shared with the students how to get funding from investors and Malaysia Film Board (FINAS). “FINAS has some grants for films and it’s a good place to start! Go with a plan, prepare a treatment deck and know your target market plus the return of investment (ROI) well. Most of all, believe in your story, so strongly that it shows when you meet your potential investors!”

motif filem malaysia nadiah hamzah sharifah amani iact college farah al-amin

Producer of “Motif”, Farah Al-Amin

Lead actress of “MOTIF” Sharifah Amani also encourages the students to tell good stories. Being a filmmaker herself and having worked with legendary Malaysian director – the late Yasmin Ahmad before, Sharifah Amani urged the film students, “We are the keepers of our stories, and we should be that truthful storyteller for our future generation! Be of purpose to other people, do something bigger than yourself – and always encourage positivity, love and acceptance in your stories! It’s not easy and I won’t sugar-coat it for you, so be clear of what you really want before you get into this industry, and be willing to pay the price!”

MOTIF”, a crime thriller that sits at the intersection of genre and critique as claimed by “Hollywood Reporter”, is the latest passion project by Wayangworks starring Rosyam Nor and Sharifah Amani. The team took 6 years to produce, went through 50 drafts to arrive at the big screen today. Catch “MOTIF” at local cinemas near you starting 26th September 2019.

motif filem malaysia nadiah hamzah sharifah amani iact college

IACT students engage with the filmmakers behind “Motif” over Q&A session.

motif filem malaysia nadiah hamzah sharifah amani iact college

The big group picture!