Director’s Think Tank pay tribute to the vibrant culmination of the many contrasting facets that make us truly Malaysian
Director’s Think Tank (DTT), has produced four films this Merdeka and Malaysia Day, celebrating the coming together of past and present, unlikely collaborations, and our melting pot of diverse ethnicities.
Even with four distinctive spots, a common message stands true: It is the coming together of the many uniquely contrasting perspectives that unite us as Malaysians.
Axiata’s Getaran Pertama: Senada Selamanya, by Rajay Singh, highlights a monumental moment from our rich history, focusing on the untold origins of our national anthem Negaraku. The film travels back in time to 1957 when Tan Sri Ahmad Merican and the late Tony Fonseka’s created the first Merdeka choir, as requested by Tunku Abdul Rahman. The storyline documents their long journey, from the challenges to the triumphs, of finding the right individuals to be a part of the iconic multiracial choir group that were the first to sing Negaraku to a new Malaysia.
“Portraying such an important time period in our nation’s history, we were meticulous in making sure that we respected the accuracy of the details,” said Singh, Co-founder and Director at DTT. “A significant amount of research went into studying the era’s fashion, setting, vehicles, and down to the smaller props. We constructed all sets with careful attention and detail, spent time sourcing the right props, and having Tan Sri Ahmad Merican’s input certainly made the storytelling more seamless. ”
Also musically driven, but with a modern day Malaysian street culture feel is KFC’s collaboration with homegrown fashion brand Pestle & Mortar, 11 Finger Lickin’ Good Goods, directed by Carolyn Chon. A collision of cultures, the spot features the specially created streetwear collection that is proudly Malaysian. In what may seem to be unlikely yet unique partnership, the film features the talents exploring and expressing themselves on the vibrant streets of Kuala Lumpur.
Expanding on the theme of different cultures, backgrounds, and ethnicities coming together is Maxis’ 100% Malaysia, by Maurice Noone. The film features a star-studded cast of gymnast and SEA Games gold medalist Farah Ann, actor and comedian Douglas Lim, celebrity chef and Malaysian Food Ambassador Chef Wan, Miss Universe Malaysia 2011 and children’s rights activist Deborah Priya Henry, artist and theatre icon Tiara Jacqueline, football legend Datuk Santokh Singh and writer and activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahatir all exploring their individually diverse ancestral origins via a DNA test. Despite these differences, the common thread that unites everyone is that they are 100% Malaysian.
“Despite the different storylines and production techniques applied into our work this season, it is evident that a common theme prevails – that while there are so many uniquely different aspects of our country and its people, it is the coming together of these differences that makes us so uniquely Malaysian,” said Noone, Co-founder and Director at DTT.
The final piece to wrap up the season is a Malaysia Day initiative film initiated by Marina Mahathir to inspire greater unity amongst Malaysians. The music driven spot, directed by Kelvin T, interweaves user-generated content with anthemic footage featuring Malaysians of different races and ages coming together to sing their version of the song. Malaysia Milik Kita invites viewers to submit their own rendition of the catchy tune, an original score by Canang Studio.
“When we reviewed the submissions and went out to shoot the footage, looking for different community groups willing to participate, what came across was their genuine love for the nation,” said Kelvin T, Director at DTT. “Regardless of who we asked, they didn’t hesitate to sing their love for Malaysia. If anything, it is this passion that truly unites us. It is our duty as Malaysians to recognise and capture these moments. We are honoured to have played a part in bringing these stories to life,” he added.