There’s no denying that at some point, all of us have dreamed of having an entire cinema all to ourselves, along with the freedom to scream, shout and blabber all we want without anyone telling us to tone it down.
It’s great to know that AMENIC Film Space is that dream now made real.
Founded in late 2017, AMENIC Film space is located in Damansara Kim and is run by Jovy Low and Tay Shen Thuu (both 29)—two friends who met while working in advertising.
With Shen Thuu hailing from Negeri Sembilan and Jovy a Petaling Jaya local, the both of them now do various freelance jobs and passion projects in addition to handling AMENIC Film Space.
“After we both left our jobs, Shen Thuu had a couple of years in America leading a startup iPhone case company,” Jovy said. “In the meantime, I pursued my life’s goal of writing a sci-fi/fantasy novel.”
The idea of opening up AMENIC (a reversed spelling of ‘Cinema’, if you couldn’t tell) was birthed during a conversation the two friends had with the founders of Lat Tali Lat (who are also close friends and incidentally operate just downstairs of AMENIC).
“We talked with them about starting our own thing,” they explained. “About how it had to be unlike anything else in Malaysia.”
Then just like in so many Malaysian conversations, the question, “So, what did you watch recently?” popped up.
“We love our movies, and we doubly love it when they’re on the big screen,” they said.
“Some way, somehow, being trapped in a dark room with nothing but the story and you, some sort of magic happens.”
The conversation then led towards how they wished to be able to re-watch the classics and favourites on the big screen.
“The original Jurassic Park, The Iron Giant, Nolan’s Memento—all these were meant to be experienced on the big screen,” said Shen Thuu. “Even less mainstream films that never had the budget to enter Malaysia, like the ones from Studio Ghibli.”
The duo then lamented the fact that “once you miss it, you’ve missed it”, and described how only watching those films on a laptop or conventional TV is half the experience.
“After that, we asked the next big question—‘Eh what to do later at night ah?’” said Jovy. “If Malaysians don’t want to drink, there’s only yamcha at a mamak or cafe. It’s also not safe to go walking in the park at night.”
“Then to make matters worse, if you’ve already watched all the recent blockbusters, there really isn’t much left to do,” Shen Thuu added. “So, bam! It hit us.”
Currently, AMENIC Film Space allows patrons to enjoy classics and all-time favourites within a cinema-grade viewing experience while at the same time letting them feel like they’re at home.
“Come in your home clothes? No prob. Bring your smelly pillow along? Please do,” said Jovy. “And because the space is all yours, you can talk, laugh, and cry your hearts out without worrying about disturbing others.”
“We also have Eureka popcorn to complete the experience.”
However, do note that hanky-panky is not permitted in this space; they shared that they will politely escort you out if any such activities go on.
Customers can expect to pick from a collection of over 150 titles. These range from classics such as Citizen Kane and Mary Poppins to modern favourites such as The Avengers and Christopher Nolan’s Batman.
“It isn’t the perfect collection, but we’ll be adding more with the input of our customers,” they said.
AMENIC’s rates differ based on the size of the and day of the week, with special rates available to members (called MENIACs):
1. Cozy Space (1–4 pax) rental per head (Weekday/Weekend):
- Normal: RM18 / RM22
- Member: RM10 / RM14
2. Binge Space (up to 12 pax) rental per head (Weekday/Weekend):
- Normal: RM9 / RM12
- Member: RM5 / RM8
Additionally, AMENIC also has separate rates for larger groups and events such as company outings, trainings, and functions.
Speaking on the uniqueness of their business, the two friends mentioned how they were inspired by the co-working spaces that have now become more common around PJ and KL.
“We love the community feel that they attempt to bring,” they said.
“In a world of endless deadlines, we love to be able to give people the opportunity to breathe and talk as they are, to get lost in something they’re passionate about.”
So far, the duo have not yet fully considered the viability of their business in the long run, and prefer to first build up the business and find its niche.
“We try not to worry too much about the financial side of things if we can,” Jovy said. “Instead we look to build AMENIC as a wholesome community geek space and see where it gets us.”
“Movies know no age and status,” said Shen Thuu. “So in a way, we’re looking to cater to everyone who loves movies.”
Gathering The Audience
Considering how new their business is, Jovy and Shen Thuu detailed the challenge they face to attract and retain the interest of customers.
“To watch a movie is something that you have to plan for as it takes two hours,” they said. “So getting people to know and see our place, get interested, then come back is something we’re working on.”
“Customer behaviour is something we’re learning as we go along,” they added.
“No one has done this before so it’s interesting to see what reaction we get.”
To that end, they list social media and word of mouth as their marketing tools of choice, with word of mouth particularly favoured.
“Aside from the social media push, we feel that word of mouth works well,” they said. “It’s the best kind of advertisement when your friend brings you to somewhere totally fresh and shares the same passion.”
“Malaysians are always on the hunt for new places to hangout, and what better way than to share a beloved film with another.”
With a long journey ahead of them, the buddies feel confident about the future of their business.
“When we first started out, it was our dear friends from Lat Tali Lat that inspired us to dare to do our own thing,” they said. “They helped us understand how to plan and run a business, so moving forward we’ll work closely with them for cross promotions.”
On the idea of expanding, the both of them just plan on taking it step by step.
“As for what the future may hold, expansion is something we have at the back of our minds,” they said. “For now, we’re focusing on being your friendly neighbourhood film space, and it will be interesting to see how AMENIC can grow.”
Indeed, the journey of AMENIC Film Space will be one worth following, and it will be interesting to see what they eventually evolve into. In the meantime, we feel refreshed at seeing a new alternative to our entertainment options, and that hope more will follow suit.
- AMENIC Film Space is a business that lets groups of patrons have cinema-grade theatres all to themselves, with over 150 movies to choose from including Jurassic Park, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Avengers.
- Prices start at RM9 per pax, all the way up to RM22, depending on the size of the space and day of the week. Members will be entitled to discounts, while groups of 4 pax are treated to a special gift.
- You can check them out on Facebook and Instagram.
- Address: AMENIC Film Space
73A, Jalan SS20/11, Damansara Kim
47400 Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Feature Image Credit: AMENIC Film Space