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Quick, get that script doctor!
Ironically, it was the MSC's No. 1 salesman, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who recently lashed out at "Entrapment,'' for "distorting the truth" by splicing the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur as if it were rising from the slums of Malacca 150 km away.
Dr Mahathir was upset at what seemed like typical Hollywood creative license.
"The distorted view of the skyscrapers will certainly make movie audiences in rich countries conclude that Malaysia is one of those developing countries which wastes public funds, perhaps even foreign aid, on useless grandiose monuments," he reportedly said.
Detractors commented that Malaysia cannot hope to woo Hollywood if it continues to adopt such a non-liberal stance to filmmaking.
"Censorship will hamper our aim to become a film hub and prevent us from becoming a regional or international player. It deprives the young exposure to both local and foreign work," said Chan.
It is also uncertain whether Malaysia will allow the making of, say, adult films or animation, creative ads or violent games, even if these are solely for export markets.
Rampant piracy may also be a serious obstacle to the E-Village. Movies are often obtained, illegally, in pirated VCD formats sold at popular night markets, sometimes days after their U.S. debut.
Another concern is whether or not the clustering of so many production houses and filmmakers in the E-Village will defeat its very purpose, due to duplication and excessive competition.
Bill Buxton, the chief scientist of Silicon Graphics Inc's design software company Alias|Wavefront, suggested that it was only natural for such companies to congregate in one area.
"I cannot think of any industry where this kind of clustering does not take place. You can see it in fashion in northern Italy, automotive in Detroit, furniture in Michigan, mining in Toronto, and of course, film in Hollywood and high technology in Silicon Valley," he noted.
Buxton conceded it would be competitive as other countries had the same idea. "But from what I have seen, Malaysia has the right business climate and technological infrastructure in place. The question is how can it differentiate itself? How can it have that special value add that makes it attractive and not vulnerable?"
Buxton said two critical factors needed to make Malaysians reach international standards are creating a pool of creative, artistic and technical talent; and building a track record. "The hardest thing to do is to get started. Begin by doing joint productions to gain experience, and develop a reputation as a quality place to work," he suggested.
Julian Matthews is the Malaysian correspondent for CNET Malaysia.
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