Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mamak Cupcake Press Conference

Finally, "Mamak Cupcake" was officially revealed to the world this past Wednesday. The press conference was held at House Restaurant at e@curve and it was great to see a huge turnout by the press.

Almost all the key cast members were there, together with our director Woo Ming Jin and Grand Brilliance GM, Tengku Iesta.

And here's the official synopsis for Mamak Cupcake:

Filem ini berkisar tentang seorang anak jati Penang berketurunan Mamak iaitu MJ (Shaheizy Sam) yang mempunyai konflik minat dan matlamat hidup yang sangat berbeza di mana MJ amat meminati pembuatan kek cawan atau cupcake.

Malangnya, hasrat beliau terhalang kerana terpaksa bertarung hasrat bapanya yang menginginkan beliau untuk mewarisi perniagaan tradisi keluarganya. MJ hampir berputus asa sehinggalah beliau berjumpa dengan seorang gadis iaitu Juliana (Siti Saleha) yang mengembalikan semangat beliau.

Jadi, yang mana satukah pilihan MJ? Adakah MJ akan terus meneruskan perjuangan beliau demi minat ataupun meneruskan tradisi turun temurun perniagaan keluarganya? Nantikan kesudahan filem Mamak Cupcake yang bakal menemui anda tidak lama lagi.

And lastly, here's the official first look at the film. ENJOY!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Short Film: "Tweet"

The CD arrived from London last week, so here it is; "Tweet". This is the short film I wrote and directed while doing the film-making course at Central Film School London last September. I worked with four other students and we were given a budget of GBP200. The inspiration for it? Well, have a look and you'll probably see someone you know in here... : )

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Jalan-Jalan Cardiff, Wales

A day before I left for home from London in September, I headed out to Cardiff for one last day trip. I had initially thought of going to Dublin, but as they say, "Kalau tak dapat ke Dublin, Cardiff pun jadilah" (OK, I totally made that up).

Anyway, as opposed to my other day trips to Brighton and Oxford, Cardiff was a tad pricier. I mean, it was another whole different country and stuff. And oh, forgive me if I can't recall all the details of it in this post. But I do remember that the train ticket was GBP67.50 (RM337.50). Dah cakap dah, mahal sikit lah.

And yeah, I've learned my lesson from previous trips well and got to the train station early (was it Paddington?), to ensure myself a nice and comfy seat. The journey itself was a pleasant one with only a few stops in between.

I think I got there around 11am, and the sun was shining brightly, although the temperature was low. First thing I noticed was of course the Welsh language which was on all signboards and notices. I tried pronouncing them but gave up due to the lack of vowels.

Anyway, I exited the train station and immediately saw the Millennium Stadium. But of course my first mission was to find the Hop On Hop Off bus station.

I didn't have any maps or guides so I decided to explore the area around the Stadium first. It was a Saturday but the city centre area was rather quiet and deserted.

From there, I stumbled upon the entrance to Bute Park, one of the most famous landmarks in Cardiff. And yes, of course I wished I had my running gear on; I mean, it'd definitely be cool to have "Wales" on the list of Larian 40 Taman!

The views here was just wonderful and I also stopped at a cafe to have a plate of vegetarian lasagna while getting freaked out by the numerous large dogs the other restaurant patrons decided to bring along for their lunch!

After Bute Park, I saw the red Hop On Hop Off bus going in the general direction of Cardiff Castle, probably THE most famous landmark in the city.

I decided to do the castle thingy later on and got on the bus instead. And yes, I remembered that bringing a used City Sightseeing bus ticket would get me a discount for this trip, so I actually got 10% off.

We got a "live" commentary on the bus and the dude was indeed entertaining, especially with his anti-English jokes. Hehe.

I finally got down near Cardiff Bay where loads were happening. For one, there were tons of international restaurants here, so you could just take your pick (I ended up by crisps at Waitrose though).

 And the views of the Bay were simply wonderful.

Also interesting here was the Roald Dahl plass and of course the Wales Millennium Centre, the city's premier arts centre.

I finished the tour after that and got down at Cardiff Castle. And I must say that the castle is a must-visit of you're ever in town.

A medieval castle and a Victorian Gothic revival mansion, there's so much to discover here, especially with the help with the audio guide.

My last stop was the shops right opposite the castle. Blew most of my money here but it was really worth it as I got to bring home the famous Welsh Love Spoon, and the obligatory tees, keychains and other knick knacks.

There's plenty of restaurants around here as well, including halal ones and I had some pretty good Thai noodles here, while listening to some Malaysian kids from Taman Tun telling their Mat Salleh friends how Malaysian public transportation sucked. Seriously, I'm not making this up.

Then, it was a walk back to the train station for the journey home. Overall, a good day trip with plenty to write home about. But oh yeah, one very weird thing was; because of the Cardiff's football team's Malaysian connection, it's a pretty common thing to see people walking around wearing jerseys with the name "Malaysia" printed on their chests. For sure it made me feel damn proud :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mamak Cupcake: And It's A Wrap!

The SMS from the producer came at 4.17am, Monday morning: "Syukur Alhamdulillah... MAMAK CUPCAKE wrap sudah. Amin : )". Yup, after a colourful 28 days, "Mamak Cupcake" is "in the can".

And what an experience it has been for me, personally. I was on set almost every day during the final week where crucial mamak restaurant and ballroom battle scenes were filmed, it was valuable hands-on experience for me as the writer. Thanks again to our director Ming Jin who shared a lot of his plans and vision with me, as well as giving me the opportunity to talk to the actors about their lines and performances.

The ballroom scenes, especially, were very challenging as we worked with over 100 extras, and not to mention, the complicated camera angles required to fully tell the story during those fast and frantic moments.

And of course, the cupcake scenes! We had hired professional baker Satira Diana whom, along with her team, came up with some truly inventive and eye-catching cupcakes.

One of the best parts about the film, as you will find out when it hits cinemas next year, is the wonderful cast itself. And it's great to note that they themselves have full confidence in the story being told, and their total commitment was nothing less than fantastic.

And oh, apart from our excellent cast, we also had a slew of "delicious" cameos by the likes of Dato' Chef Ismail, Adibah Noor, AG and, get ready for it, Dato' Hasbullah Awang!

Yup, I can't wait to watch it myself!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Chillin' In Kuching

So, with the fam away on an overseas trip, I decided it'd be a good idea to fly over to Kuching for a writing retreat recently. Yup you read that right; I'm working on a new screenplay and I just thought that a completely different environment would help me crank out the words with a clearer mind.

And seriously, I can't for the life of me recall when was the last time I was in the Cat City. I'm pretty sure I've been back there after my judiciary days in the late 90s, but when? Cracked my head over it on the flight but still I had no answer. Ah well, at least I was on the way now.

Reached Kuching at 6 plus in the evening and on the way to the hotel, I got rather annoyed by all the roadworks. Haha. OK lah, sign of progress, what? But everything else looked like how I remember Kuching... until I got to the city and saw some new structures around the city. I mean, when did Pullman popped up here?

Anyway, I checked-in to the Grand Magherita (formerly known as Holiday Inn) and attended to the first order of business. Dinner! And just across the road was the famous Top Spot Seafood place.

Ah, I am sure I've had some good memories there. Hehe. But really, going alone was a bit of an awkward thing. But the food was too good to resist. So I took a seat and ordered a seafood dinner for one that had midin goreng belacan, buttered prawns and ambal in curry sauce. Salivating already, huh? :)

The bill came up to RM59, and I was wonderfully stuffed. I actually picked out a random stall, but I've been told that stall no 25 would be anyone's best bet.

Then it was back to room and to write the night away. And with a magnificent view of the Sarawak River in the background, it turned out to be a productive night indeed.

The next morning, it was time to head out for my Larian 40 Taman. And the park of choice was the Taman Budaya, a nice, smallish park right smack in the centre of town.

Then it was time to hit the shops and do some shopping and sight-seeing. Restricted sight-seeing that is. Since I didn't have my own transport, all I could do really was just walk along the waterfront and the main bazaar area. Which actually proved to be rather nice.

The Sarawak souvenirs they have now are rather well-designed and reasonably priced. I mean seriously, I never planned on buying kain songket when it wasn't even Raya period!

I also had a pretty delicious bowl of Laksa Sarawak at the Brooke Cafe along the waterfront.

But wait, there's a rant coming up. I got to the old High Court building, and I was not happy.

I mean, this was one of the most important buildings in the state and what do they have here now? Some restaurants and a travel agent/car rental space!  And to make things worse, the construction around the building was shoddy and disrespectful to this wonderful piece of heritage!

What a downer! But that didn't stop me from enjoying the rest of my walk.

And although this wasn't too Sarawakian, I did enjoy stopping by this cafe for a piece of cake and coffee.

The rest of the stay was mainly spent indoors, with fingers firmly on my Mac keyboard. I must say it was a much welcomed respite, and the weather was great too. Only bummer? I couldn't find a place for some great-tasting Mee Kolok. Arghhh...


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