‘Edge of the World’ wows Malaysian International Film Festival 2022

The cast and producers of ‘Edge of the World’ show the film's Best Director statuette from the Septimius Awards in Amsterdam. From left to right are Chan, Ho, Peter, Haussman, and Palarae.

KUCHING, July 12: ‘Edge of the World’, the film shot exclusively on location in Sarawak in 2019, has opened at the Malaysian International Film Festival 2022 on July 10, bringing a touch of Sarawak magic to Kuala Lumpur.

According to a press release issued today, the film’s first official screening in a Malaysian cinema was held at the Dadi Cinema at Pavillion in Kuala Lumpur, where the producers and cast of the film met fans and supporters on the red carpet.

“With one international award already under its belt from the Septimius Awards in Amsterdam, ‘Edge of the World’ is also up for a people’s choice award, to be decided at the close of this year’s festival,” said the press release.

The ‘Edge of the World’ contingent included producer husband-and-wife team Conroy Chan and Josie Ho, who also takes a role in the film as Madam Lim.

Director Michael Haussman and producer Rob Allyn also graced the stage, along with well-known Malaysian actor Bront Palarae, who is this year’s MIFF Official Ambassador.

Peter John Jaban, who acted in the film as Orang Kaya, completed the line-up as the only Sarawakian actor with a speaking role and the only Sarawakian to join the premiere from the creative team.

“He gave the KL crowd the full Sarawak experience, wearing the Iban traditional dress from feathered headdress down to his antique ‘sirat’ and ceremonial ‘pedang’.

“The Kuala Lumpur crowd gave the group a warm welcome, with Ho and Palarae already commanding many loyal fans across Malaysia. This was supplemented by several Sarawakian dignitaries and supporters, including the Sarawak Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, and Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chairman Dennis Ngau,” it said.

(From left to right) Sarawak Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee, Dennis, and Abdul Karim showing their support at the film’s official screening.

The producers and cast members shared that one of their greatest joys in making this production had been the chance to film in Sarawak.

Peter commented: “As a Sarawakian, it was amazing to have a Hollywood production like this come to our home State. I got the chance to work with so many amazing and talented people. This film will hopefully bring Sarawak to the world so that more and more people will know about our story and what we have to offer. I hope more films like this can be made in Sarawak so everyone can see how beautiful it is.”

The film, featuring the life of Rajah James Brooke and his close relationships with the Sarawak people, was initially released online during the pandemic but is now beginning to make the rounds at international festivals.

‘Edge of the World’ has already scooped one award for Best Director at the Septimius Awards in Amsterdam. Through exceptional cinematography, it shows a range of incredible Sarawak locations, displaying the beauty of the State and its many cultures.

Ho stands with Peter, representing Sarawak in his full Iban regalia.

The team described the challenges of making a feature film in the Sarawak jungle with its unpredictable downpours, saying that this only added to the magic of the final result.

Peter laughed at the situation, joking with the others: “Of course, I am used to jumping in the river. If the rest of the cast knew how many crocodiles live in that particular stretch in Siniawan, I don’t think they would have dared!”

With the state eyeing similar projects for the future, the film industry could prove to be a boon for destination branding and visitor arrivals.

“Peter hopes this will be the start of a new era for Kuching’s film and creative arts, giving opportunities to its many talented people.

“With a little touch of Sarawak style already making its mark on the Malaysian capital, Sarawak might be the ‘Edge of the World’ no longer,” said the press release. — DayakDaily