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An Interview with KLEFF 2017 Winners: Special Merit Award – Lessons From Disasters


An Interview with KLEFF 2017 Winners: Special Merit Award – Lessons From Disasters

The KLEFF team caught up with the winner of Special Merit Award – Norhafizzah Razak, who was part of the film-making team of ‘Lessons From Disasters’, which was screened during KLEFF 2017. Check out our interview with this inspiring film maker as she talks about films, involvement in KLEFF and challenges in film-making.

Norhaffizah Razak (centre), posing with her award.
Norhaffizah Razak (centre), posing with her award.

How did you hear about KLEFF and what inspired you to submit your film to KLEFF?

I was first introduced to KLEFF during its first ever event back in 2008. Back then I was majoring in Filming and Television from ASWARA Academy and their Student Affairs Department helped to guide my colleague Mohamed Fazry and I in undergoing an ‘Idea Pitch’ session and Alhamdulillah, our idea to submit the short film titled ‘Wasiat’ was accepted and subsequently nominated as the winner for the Best Sound and Editing award.

However, during the 10th KLEFF awards in 2017, I once again attempted my luck by submitting a film in the genre of short documentary, which was a joint-production along with my colleague from Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (IKIM). Alhamdulillah, our short documentary titled Lessons From Disaster grabbed the Special Merit Award.

Participants of the International Workshop towards Building a Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Asia by IKIM. From left: Nor Haffizah Razak; director, Rosmidzatul Azila Mat Yamin; Felow at KIAS IKIM and Azrina Sobian; script

Can you tell us about your film and what inspired you to tell the story?

Initially, the inspiration came from my experience as a Filming and Television student and a programme producer at IKIM TV thereafter. One of my main inspirations is Datuk Prof. Dr. Azizan Baharuddin, the Chief Director at IKIM who also happens to be an environmental activist and Islamic philosopher. He helped inspire me to produce environmental-related films. Through this medium, we managed to spread awareness and also gain further cooperation from various parties to help preserve the environment.


Were there any challenges in the making of the film? Can you share one with us?

In this modern technological era, the mindset of ‘going green’ is still very much an issue that should be pressed on. Mediums like the film Lessons From Disaster for one has managed to generate awareness amongst the youths of today. However, creating awareness through films of the environmental genre will then further pose the question of whether the film produced could further capture their attention? Therefore, this could lead to “touching their hearts”, in a way getting the current generation to appreciate the beauty of our ecosystem and more.

A mangrove tree planting session at Kuala Selangor along with delegates from Japan, Philippines and Indonesia.

If you attended the KLEFF awards in 2017, how was your experience at the festival? Could you describe your audience’s reaction to your film? Did you think the audience understood their role in the issue highlighted in your film?

Whilst attending the KLEFF 2017 awards at Black Box Publika, I managed to talk to many other film producers and in this case; from Singapore and Sarawak respectively. We shared our different experiences in producing our respective films as we were from different backgrounds. However, I felt as if despite our differences in backgrounds, we shared one common element; the journey to spread the awareness of the importance of the environment through storytelling amongst society as we felt it is still not too late to make a change.


Are you currently planning to make any more environmental-related films? If yes, would you be able to share a bit of the plan with us?

In 2018, I planned to produce another environmental-related film as I thought the general public’s perception of preserving the environment is still in its early stages. However, films like these will help the public develop a greener mindset and practice, as the latter may be associated with plants; they both grow individually but within intimate distance with each other. Hence, we will finally have that sudden realisation that it is of utmost importance that we should do everything we can within reach to help preserve the environment as we come from the same roots.

Another point I would like to add is the fact that I did invite a lot of my friends to also join KLEFF to help instill a sense of preservation of the environment. As a consequence of results, they perceived KLEFF to be the best platform to hone their talents in producing films whilst also understanding nature.

A group photo of the delegation at the Kuala Selangor Nature Park.

What is your message to all the filmmakers out there about making environmental films?

I believe that any person that appreciates any respective film will do so due to the fact that they managed to develop an emotional feeling towards the latter itself. Hence, my message to other filmmakers is to produce films that may prove to be the stepping-stone that will ultimately help change our perception to do something good for the better of our environment.

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