You Can’t See Me: The Anonymous Filmmaker

For all of our filmmaking talents in Malaysia, there’s not many outlets for short films in our own country. Filmmaker Anonymous, then, is one of the few that provides much-needed oxygen to our short filmmakers (not necessarily filmmakers who are short, though 🙂 ). In light of the upcoming 6th edition of the screening, we collar the organiser, Filmaholic. Despite our best efforts, he (she?) really didn’t want to reveal anything about him(her?)self.

Not even his (her) gender.

First of all, who are you, really? What do you do?
I am an anonymous filmmaker. I make films, anonymously, until it ceases to be anonymous.

You run the Filmmakers Anonymous (FA) screenings. Why? What do you want to achieve with them?
Actually, a bunch of us sort-of anonymous filmmakers run the FA screenings. Like any other anonymous meetings (eg: Alchoholic Anonymous etc), we want to share our tragic tales with other people who would understand or want to understand this obsessive-compulsive filmmaking disorder. And we like being observed while doing that.

What’s the difference between your screenings and other screenings like Malaysian Shorts?
Since it is an anonymous meeting of sort, we can’t go “eh, your disorder not that bad, you no need to share”, or, “you are way beyond saving, don’t come la.” We welcome anyone who is willing to step up and share a piece of herself. We just want to provide a safe space for people to do so.

What kind of movies have you screened thus far?
Heahahah all sort of strange, tragic to noble tales. You have to check it out for yourselves at our blog.

Are there certain movies that you wouldn’t screen? Must it fulfill certain criteria, like the use of original music?
No no, this is not a competition nor a mass media screening, it is a very informal and even intimate sort of screenings that reflect FA philosophy of having a non-curated safe space. You can screen anything there, as long as you are there to share about it.

Moving on to the filmmakers, the proliferation of DV technology has given the power to the people to make films and videos. How, then, would you define a filmmaker? Is it someone who has worked at it consistently, or is it just any Ali who made a short video and calls himself a filmmaker?
Well, since I am anonymous, I would naturally not care about definitions. I would even go ahead and say f*ck definitions, if making films is all that you want to do, if you have to use a phone camera to do it, you’d do it. If you want to get on the red carpet every time you make a film, then I think you are better off working in a carpet shop. Really, it doesn’t matter to anyone what you call yourself, but what your film made the audience feel and think.

The filmmakers, for the most part, attend the screenings and no longer become anonymous. Isn’t that self-defeating?
And the point is??

Err, moving on. Thus far, you’ve rotated between diverse locations like The Loft, La Palette, and Central Market Annexe. Why is that?
We’d go anywhere where people are happy to have us for free as we are a zero-budget screening session. So far, the aforementioned places have been very kind and sympathetic towards our cause. Just give us a buzz if you want us to bring you FA sessions.

A recent screening of FA was themed ‘Take Back The Tech’, looking at the issues faced by women today. Why did you choose to do so?
FA was approached by ‘Tech’ organisers to take a look into digital medium, in this case, digital film and gender issues. Since we are anonymous and very low-key folks, we are easily excited when people say hi to us, and want us to share films. Of course, some of the more intelligent FAian would say, “The artists’ role is to comment, reflect, critic and challenge culture,” so looking at issues of people is part and parcel of being an artist. Thus, for ‘Tech’ to approach us on this theme is something we FA embrace fully as artists…if we are indeed artists. We could just be obsessive-compulsive filmmakers that get excited by ideas.

You also hosted ‘Express Filmmaking 101’, a filmmaking workshop at the Youth ’08 even in January. Are you planning to go further along on this path, teaching others how to make films, as well as to show them?
Well, that was requested by Youth Malaysia to 3 Malaysian indie filmmakers actually, and we just helped to promote it. FA is also being asked to organise some interesting indie short film showcase-competition sort of thing, which will be revealed soon, so watch this space! As for what path we are on- i guess just as long as the path is about giving support and exposure to local indie films without fear nor favor, then we would give it a walk.

What else holds for you in the future? Is it just going to be screenings (themed or otherwise), or will you be expanding on activities such as the workshops?
Maybe, if we feel like it, if there’s reasons to, if the moon and sun align and pieces fall into place and things feel right.

We’ve gone through the entire interview, and you still have told me who you are. Can you at least reveal whether you’re a man or a woman?
To tell you the truth, most of us don’t really identify as a man or a woman. Seriously, don’t mind the definition, just come for the session.

If you want to probe further, or to submit your own films for screening, drop shim (she+him) a line at filmaholic@gmail.com. FA 6 will be screening on Friday 25 April 2008 at Central Market Annexe. The screening starts at 8pm.

Featured image credit: Medical Media Training

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