New generation director Waan Hafiz, who previously helmed 2013's horror comedy "Hantu Tok Mudim" and last year's cross-dressing comedy "Mat Tudung", returns with its third movie, "Puaka Balai Gombak".
The talented director is well known for his fresh ideas and works that bring about a much needed boost of creativity to the local movie scene.
Waan Hafiz recently attended the horror movie's premiere screening and took the chance to share with us about the making of his latest movie.
Read on to find out what the director has to say about "Puaka Balai Gombak".
Hi Waan, would you mind sharing with us why you decided to make this documentary-style movie?
I want to present a movie different from my previous ones. This was a new thing for me and I was excited to film the movie even though I faced many challenges while filming it. Alhamdulillah, the filming wrapped up successfully.
How did you come up with the idea to make the movie?
This genre has long been done by other countries and we want to make one too. There are already many movies of this genre in Malaysia, so there are bound to be similarities between movies of the same genre. I got inspired to do one as well based on the stories of true occurrences experienced at the location.
Was it difficult to direct the film since the concept is different from your previous work?
It definitely challenges me to be more creative. It also demands us to be more open-minded; realistic and creative as it deals with something we cannot see such as ghosts. The concept is definitely different whereby we cast aside the storyboards and did everything spontaneously. We also worked with new actors so it won't look so much like it was staged.
What were the challenges you faced while filming the movie?
We did research and scouted more than ten locations deemed as the scariest in Malaysia. However, most of them were not suitable for filming or were just not interesting. For example, the long-abandoned Gombak police station which is shrouded by trees, even the moonlight does not stream through them during the night. Some locations are private properties that allow no access while some are occupied by residents who would not let us enter. They were unwilling to cooperate with us and would not give us permission to do any filming there for fear that the place would turn into an attraction. The filming for the movie was very hard as it was tough to get what we wanted.
After going through a scary filming experience, what are your opinions now on supernatural entities?
I don't believe in ghosts. But after filming this movie, honestly I was spooked. My most unforgettable memory is when we were there, we saw the entities but they did not show on camera. That was frustrating. They do exist, the camera never stopped rolling but we were not able to capture them on film.
How committed were the actors in filming "Puaka Balai Gombak"?
According to the film's story, the Puaka X group sparks controversy as the members often visit locations that are clearly stated as haunted. In the film, they will go against any prohibition and later make a statement of it on their Facebook page. We chose to use new actors so that it will look like a true paranormal occurrence. Imagine if we were to use somebody famous, like Fizz Fairuz, no one will believe the incidents really took place.
What are your hopes and targets for your latest movie?
As a new generation director, I often receive questions about our local film industry and I can see people are starting to lose faith in local filmmakers. [The questions are] a good thing because now we know what we did wrong and what exactly fans are hoping for from us. I hope that Malaysian moviegoers will watch this movie first before forming any opinion on it. Judge it based on our effort to produce the movie. We will accept criticisms openly to improve ourselves in the future.
Thank you Waan!