Tuesday May 24, 2005

World screening for Puteri Gunung Ledang:
Buyers snap up rights at Cannes fest

By Amir Hafizi

LEGENDARY LOVE STORY: A scene from the movie.
Soon, the world will be able to watch Malaysia’s epic movie, Puteri Gunung Ledang (PGL). The RM20 million feature was sold to distributors in Britain, Thailand, Greece, China and Germany at the Cannes Film Festival in France.
Enfiniti Productions which produced PGL, sent a four-man team to the festival to sell the film worldwide.
One was its public relations and communications executive Allan Ananth Pandian.
“I had better not mention the price yet, but this is the first time that a Malaysian film has been sold to commercial cinemas overseas,” he said.
“The buyers would have cinema and video rights, beginning June 1 this year. The deal is for five years.
“We are not selling television rights yet, but we plan to do that in the near future,” he said.
Pandian said he has not been told when the movie will be screened in the respective countries. Other details, such as the identity of the buyers from each country, will be revealed later.
Enfiniti Productions will, however, arrange for some of the cast and crew to go to each of the countries to help in the promotions.
Pandian said PGL was well received in Cannes.
The buyers were especially impressed with the relatively ‘low’ budget of PGL – Malaysia’s most expensive movie to date.
“When we showed the trailer, the people were very impressed because they never thought something worth US$5 million (RM19 million) could look that good!
“We even managed to get a buyer from Germany on the last day of the film market.”
According to him, they are also in talks with distributors from the United States, Japan, Italy, Russia and South America.
Producer Tiara Jacquelina said the sale was the result of extensive marketing efforts.
“When we finished the movie, we had mapped out an approach for overseas marketing which included strategic film festival participation.
“We even hired a publicist because we knew from the start we had to position ourselves differently from art-house films,” said Tiara who was in Munich, Germany, yesterday.
“We were just too new to the game to do it alone. Fortunately, people like (director) U-Wei (Shaari) advised us on the film festivals and the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage submitted PGL for the Academy Awards. That helped a lot.”
“It’s very gratifying to hear all this,” said PGL director Saw Teong Hin. “I thought the movie was dead in water already!”
The Cannes Film Festival, from May 11-21, is one of two major annual international film markets. The other is the American Film Market.

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