13 Jun Lalu by We Are Kix
If you have never heard of We are KIX, then you have now. We are KIX is a film company based in Kuala Lumpur, founded by directors Ion Furjanic and Jessica Richer. KIX’s first short film experiment in collaboration with Seeing Eye Films, Lalu is a hyper-stylised Malaysian thriller directed by Ion Furjanic.
The world “Lalu” is used to refer to the passing of time or to pass through something. Our INK team was privileged to catch the premier of Lalu at Uppercase, APW in Bangsar. The atmosphere was bursting with life and energy. Everyone was buzzing, waiting in anticipation. Once Ion gathered the crowd and introduced the film, the time finally came! Lalu was as brilliant as brilliant can get – constantly keeping its audience on their toes and wanting more. We shall keep the details sealed so that you can watch it, and experience the intensity for yourself.
We managed to get hold of Ion to ask him some questions about Lalu. Check out his little interview below.
Tell us the story behind Lalu. What was the inspiration for it?
The idea for LALU has been swirling for a while. It came to me about 10 years ago when I was back in New York with some friends sitting on the banks of a lake just as the sun was setting and the stars were starting to peek out. We saw a truck pull up to the banks and a few people got out in a hurry… We were just far enough away to not really know what was happening but my imagination filled in all the details right away. That feeling of not knowing is sometimes the scariest of them all. I decided to set the film in the daytime when we were shooting it, because nighttime darkness is inherently scary, but if you can make something scary in the daytime, it is even more unsettling.
The style of LALU comes from an attempt to recreate the way that memory works. Time crossing over on itself…Flashes of darkness and periods of calm. Wondering if this was your mind distorting the reality of what happened and filling in the gaps. Not knowing if something really happened or if your mind manufactured the whole experience.
What were some of the difficulties that you faced while filming?
We had an amazing and experienced crew for all the technical parts of the film, so even though we were trying some crazy new ideas, I wasn’t really worried. The big difficulty for me as a director was to get across reality with the actors in such a crazy stylised story. This was my first film as a director, and it was really a mystery how to coach the actors into just the right frame of mind for each shot (especially shooting out of sequence). By the end of the shoot, I already felt like I had learned so much about how I would direct differently, but it was already over! That is the way that art works I think. You can only learn by doing and making tons of mistakes.
Could you tell us more about what you learnt from producing the film.
So many many many things, about filmmaking and about myself as an artist.
Here is a tiny list.
1. When making a film, story is THE MOST important. Once the story and the emotion is there, the rest can fall into place around it. I wish I had workshopped the story (opening especially) more, to make the audience connect with the characters even more before madness sets in.
2. Always shoot more angles. I love the craft of editing. I liken it to being a painter. By shooting different angles and concepts of the same scene, you have so many more colors to use when painting the final painting. Even if you choose to make it black and white in the end… at least you made that decision totally on purpose.
3. Experiment. I’ve always experimented with new ideas for shots with our We are KIX. But this was a different level of experimentation. I wanted to make a completely new style of editing and flow for a film. It might not be sustainable for a long piece, but these experiments are golden!
4. I’m not sure I’m a filmmaker! I really love making all kinds of art, and even though I really love LALU, I might not be in love with film the way other people are. I’m all grown up but still searching for my passion!
Do you have any helpful advice for aspiring filmmakers and artists?
Make things. Lots of things. And put them out in the world.
Experiment always, and always push harder.
Especially in Malaysia, there are so many amazing and inspiring artists. The more we all make, the more it inspires each other to go bigger.
I didn’t make this film for festivals in other countries. I really wanted to make something for a 13-year-old Malaysian who dreams about making magic right here at home.
If nothing else, I hope Lalu can just inspire people to think and create a little differently.