Showbiz: Tiara aims for the moon
“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!