Saturday, 29 January 2011

NST article : Tiara aims for the moon

Showbiz: Tiara aims for the moon


Tiara Jacquelina says she has a few ideas waiting for the right moment
Tiara Jacquelina says she has a few ideas waiting for the right moment
She captured our hearts in Puteri Gunung Ledang seven years ago. Today, Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina still has her keen eye above the creative horizon, writes AREF OMAR

“AIM for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.”

This inspirational quote by W. Clement Stone was used during Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina’s talk, entitled PGL: Folklore Storytelling And Its Adaptation Into Modern Culture, at the recent Kre8tif Digital Content Conference in Putrajaya recently.

An apt description of the award-winning actress, producer and arts activist. She had refurbished a beloved folk tale and successfully etched it into the country’s popular culture.

Released as a feature film in 2004, Puteri Gunung Ledang became the first Malaysian film to be considered for an Academy Award. A year later, it was adapted into a stunning musical, which ran for four successful seasons, one of which was staged in Singapore.

During her talk, organised by Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), the mother-of-two explained that the country has a treasure trove of unique stories with universal appeal and a distinctive Asian flavour.

She said local folklore, legends, history, news and even grandmother’s stories can be explored as potent subject matters for creative productions.

As managing director of Enfiniti Vision Media, she has produced TV content, films, musicals and various events, including the biographical P. Ramlee: The Musical, which won six awards at the Boh Cameronian Arts Awards in 2007.

Here, Tiara tells Life&Times more about her craft and plans.

PGL has gone from film to many other things. Any further plans?
The sky seems to be the limit these days as technology and new media platforms continue to evolve. My team and I are constantly looking to make the PGL brand fresh and relevant. I have some new ideas after meeting many interesting people at the Kre8tif conference, so we’ll see how it goes from there.

Describe the whole journey of getting PGL off the ground and the success it has become.
It has been a humbling and eye-opening experience. It has allowed us to believe in the possibility of fulfilling a big dream on many levels, including a national one. It’s wonderful to see how PGL has changed the way the game is played for our local industry. As an industry, we’re now more confident about competing with the world’s best, moving away from a mindset of mediocrity to slowly getting recognised for producing world-class creative products.

After the success of PGL, do you find it much easier to get funding for similar projects?
It was impossible in the beginning, but now corporations have come to believe in the Enfiniti brand. I hope this year will see more and more corporations supporting creative projects through CSR (corporate social responsibility) so the arts and entertainment community will continue to survive in this country.

Will, passion and determination aside, it takes a lot of money to put on a show or film of international quality, one that will continue to keep our local audiences entertained and in the process, inculcate a cultured and well-rounded society.

What role can the government play in supporting the arts?
The government can play a huge role, like pass a ruling for tax exemptions for companies that support local arts and entertainment. I’m sure we will see more corporations come forward to help if that happens. That’s how the Korean creative and entertainment industry has become so big and can afford to take on the world.

What are your thoughts on local animation productions? Any plans to get into that?
During the Kre8tif conference, I got a sense of a wonderful new energy from young local talent who attended my talk. It’s reassuring for producers like me to see how a government agency like MDeC is working with the industry to support and grow local talent.

I also got a sense that we’re not short on craftsmen and actual animators, but the animation industry needs more producers and content developers to move projects.

I hope to embark on our first animated feature film soon — if I can get the support of the government and the funding. I have a few good stories up my sleeves that are ready to go when the time is right.

As an individual who dares to dream with many mountains to climb, what are some of your upcoming projects that you’d like to share?
This year marks a new decade and the beginning of many exciting new ventures for my team. We aim to be more actively involved in the industry’s value chain, from training and development of new talent, to providing platforms for talent to grow. Ultimately, we hope to move our content into the regional sphere in the coming years. That’s as much as I can share right now, but wish us luck!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

"Champion Of The Arts" - an article by Dennis Chua of the New Straits Times

Gosh... I've come quite a way, it seems. I THINK that black and white photo of me was taken at my very first ever press conference, for the Indonesian-Malaysian film Irisan-Irisan Hati. I was such a kid then.

But I have a story about Irisan. My company was chosen to do the casting for the Malaysian actors in the film, and I remember we combed through every film and TV actor, then every singer, then we looked at models and TV commercial talent, before arriving at the final selection of the Malaysian actors you see in the film. But Bustal Nawawi, the film's executive producer, still hadn't found the right girl for Ipah, the Malay Kampung Girl from Johor who finds Hadi (Deddy Mizwar) washed up on the shore and saves him and later they get married and she discovers he had a wife in Indonesia (Christine Hakim). Anyway. He finally said, "You audition." And I said NO. I said I didn't want to be an actor. I'd done like one Malaysian film once and I was NOT impressed and I said to myself that acting was SO not for me. Firstly, filming was stretched over 2 long years, it was ridiculous. I didn't like the way actors weren't allowed to have any opinion, and were just TOLD to do this, move like that, say it like THIS, feel like THAT. Stuff this, I said. I wanna do what I want to do. But I wouldn't mind being the gal who calls the shots. Who moves and shakes the business, who shapes the projects, who makes things happen. I wouldn't mind being the producer.

Anyway. Pak Bustal knew that I was on my "I wanna-be-an-entrepreneur" trip then, and he said to me, "OK I'll make you a deal. You audition, and if you're right for the role, I promise you I will personally teach you the business of film-making. I'll teach you to become a PRODUCER." B-I-N-G-O. That's really the story of how I started out. Sign up for 4 Indonesian films, I'll teach you the business. Done deal.

And man, look where all that has led me today. "Champion of The Arts", eh? That's a SUPER way to kick off 2011. Thanks very much Dennis. I'm all fired up, and I ain't gonna be hangin' up my cape for a long, long time. The year has only just begun.


Sunday, January 16, 2011, 08.17 PM

THEN AND NOW: Champion of the arts


By Dennis Chua

Tiara then...and now
Tiara then...and now

THE name Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina is synonymous with the acclaimed musicals Puteri Gunung Ledang and P. Ramlee, both staged at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur, over the last decade.

From a model, dancer and actress, she has worked hard to become a champion of the arts.

During her schooldays, she was active in theatre and had appeared in many print and television advertisements, most notably Hazeline Snow. This ad, which used American pop star Cyndi Lauper’s award-winning song Time After Time as background music, had Tiara running on the beach with a white horse.

Tiara later hosted talk shows on RTM such as Selamat Pagi Malaysia.

In 1995, she appeared in popular director Datuk Paduka Shuhaimi Baba’s acclaimed film Ringgit Kasorrga with Hans Isaac. The role earned her Best Actress at the 12th Malaysian Film Festival.

She also starred in the Hollywood film Beyond Rangoon with Oscar-winning actress Frances McDormand.

She produced Puteri Gunung Ledang The Movie in 2004 and starred as the title character, alongside M. Nasir (as Malay warrior Hang Tuah) and Adlin Aman Ramlie (as Sultan Mahmud Shah 1 of Malacca).

She produced Puteri Gunung Ledang The Musical a year later, with British-Malaysian actor Stephen Rahman-Hughes taking over Nasir’s role.

P. Ramlee The Musical won six awards at the Boh Cameronian Arts Awards 2007. It also marked pop queen Datuk Siti Nurhaliza’s musical theatre debut.

In 2009, Tiara became the first female principal of Astro’s popular reality talent show Akademi Fantasia’s seventh season.

Last year, she became Malaysia’s adviser for the performing arts section of the new Guide To Malaysia. The book, in its eighth edition, is published by Leisure Guide Publishing.

Tiara, a mother of two, is managing director of Enfiniti Productions, which produces musicals, films and television programmes. Her dream is to set up an academy for the performing arts that caters to all Malaysians with talent.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Star interview - Dare to Dream

Happy new year everyone, and welcome to a wonderful new decade. Here's wishing you all unlimited dreams, unlimited passion for everything you do, and good friends around you, above all.

The Star published an interview with me about the year that was for me - lessons learnt, and dreams for the next 10 years. Thought I'd share them with all of you.This is the link for the full story, but here's the little bit about me:

Tiara Jacquelina, managing director of Enfiniti Vision Media

In the last 10 years or so, I spent my time doing the things I loved most — travelling the world, bringing up my two wonderful kids and working on meaningful projects.

Travelling has opened my mind and my eyes to a new perspective on life and living meaningfully, novel ideas and different ways of doing things. I always return inspired and re-energised. It makes me want to do better in my personal life and pushes the boundaries in the work I do.

Bringing up a “tween” or a teen in this day and age comes with a whole new set of challenges, but my two kids are as perfect and complete as they come; I can’t ask for more. They are intelligent, creative, artistically inclined, spirited, opinionated, but at the same time respectful, kind and loving. And I have the full support of a wonderful husband to thank, for helping me in this area.

Career-wise, the last 10 years have seen my best work ever as an actor and producer, and I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the most talented and passionate individuals in the country and even in the region.

The greatest lesson I’ve learned about life is to live it fully every day, making each moment really special, and spending it with the ones who really matter. Very often, we get so caught up chasing dreams that we forget to smell the roses.

Goals and ambition are important to have, but I really cherish precious moments like watching my children grow up, having the freedom to be impromptu enough to read a brochure, pack a bag and travel with my husband, spending quality time with my mother, making time for good conversation with good friends over a cup of coffee, and setting enough time aside for myself, too. Sometimes, you just need to BE.

photo by Chris A