We all know about the tragedies that have struck Malaysia and MAS this year. Blow after blow, MAS have been through a lot in just a mere few months. And while some have criticized them and others still pledge their loyal support, this video will make you see Malaysia and its challenges in a new light. Vulcan Post had the amazing opportunity to interview the directors and discover more about the production and message of the film.
Watch the video aptly entitled Terbang below which is accompanied by a beautiful song by Yuna called Langit (‘sky’ in Bahasa Malaysia). As you watch it with the lives lost on MH370 and MH17 in mind, you might just want to prepare some tissues with you.
Journey of producing the short film Terbang
Based on a short story written by Mohd. Hisham Saleh, Malaysia Airlines’ Head of Social Media & Innovations, the original story was more of an uplifting tale of meeting the challenges of handling adversity. With the plight of Malaysia Airlines in mind due to the incident of MH370, Malaysia Airlines decided to work with Linus Chung on making it into a script for a short film.
The whole journey began on the 7th of July with the creation of the short story and with just a month’s duration with Hari Raya in between, Linus Chung and Hisham Saleh worked on the film screenplay and the development of the characters.
During the discussions of their project, unfortunately the tragedy of MH17 struck and so they worked with the script to incorporate that as well. Since the release date of the short film was close to Malaysia’s Merdeka Day, August 31, they also weaved in Merdeka elements to further tighten the storyline.
The directors also emphasized that the themes of MH370 and MH17 is inescapable in the film and they are identifiable to observant viewers. “Not only that, we have also included links to MAS’s history as well, so you may want to watch it twice or more to catch all the references,” hinted the directors.
Casting of the Actors
“Originally, we were going to go for a more anonymous cast, the nameless-man-on-the-street type of people. However, as it was developed, we tried asking established actors like Jeff Omar, Beto Kusyairy (whom Linus lovingly miscalls as Bento), and Marina Tan if they wanted to join the cast and I guess we were blessed that they said yes,” the directors of Terbang told Vulcan Post in an e-mail interview.
The directors explained that the casting process was a detailed and thorough one, as the whole story hinges on the two main young boys’ (Ahmad and his dad’s younger self) ability to perform. “We spent hours rehearsing with some of them to check if they could do it, we rejected many,” they said. Although they did not have a casting director, Chung himself personally worked with the boys so that they are able to identify the boys’ real self and ability before finally making a choice on who should be selected for the roles.
Wise words from the directors about facing difficulties
When asked about the difficulties faced in producing the film, they wisely replied, “In any human endeavor, there’s always difficulties. We are not perfect and as they say, ‘to err is human’. Imperfection was also a key element in the film.” The directors pointed out that although there were difficulties and human error during the shoot, they worked across them and never pointed fingers at one another; instead they helped each other through out, which was true to the narrative of the film.
It is easy to tell that Terbang indeed has a special place in the directors’ hearts. Chung said that not one single moment, but the entire journey was memorable. “Reacting with the team being in the midst of people working together to achieve something, I think Hisham said it best when he said he felt so happy watching the credits of the film as they are all names of his new family, the family that is behind the film Terbang,” Chung told Vulcan Post.
Their hope for the viewers of Terbang
“It’s nice to see short films like these that warms your emotions and gives you some life advice, but too often we have the intent to make things better but it just stops at the intent,” Chung said. They hope that Terbang will be more than just a short film, but rather it will also offer us a mirror to reflect upon ourselves and that it will be taken in and serve a a catalyst for a better world. They request for viewers to not just watch it, but share it as well, to achieve that goal.
We at Vulcan Post wish the best for Malaysia and Malaysia Airlines, and we sincerely hope that they will continue to soar high.
To read the director’s notes and more about the #FLYINGHIGH campaign, go to the Malaysia Airlines Facebook page.
“We should always realise we need each other. And whatever our weaknesses, it’s never to late for us to help each other to better ourselves. Stay strong and fly high.”
— Ahmad, Terbang