9 Dec – The daily struggles and challenges faced by the current younger generation who strive hard to make a living in the Kuala Lumpur city became the catalyst and inspiration for artistic director Muzzamer Rahman, who helmed the film, "Prebet Sapu" or its English title, "Hail, Driver!"
Cinema Online met with the director at the premiere of "Prebet Sapu" at TGV Cinemas, 1 Utama, Petaling Jaya on Wednesday 8 December.
"The idea came to me in the early 2017 while I was looking for a plot for the first film that I wanted to produce. This film is inspired by Hollywood's "Taxi Driver" (1976) whereupon I wanted to showcase the problems and struggles of the youngsters who live in Kuala Lumpur," said Muzzamer.
"'Prebet Sapu' does not give the answers and solutions. On the other hand, it raises many questions about how would we face a challenging future."
Even though there were budget-constraints, nonetheless this issue was not an obstacle for the young director to produce a quality film. "I wanted to prove to the filmmakers out there that we can and are able to make any films that we want in spite of a tight budget. If we believe in our work and we have the drive, Insya-Allah those will be realised," he further shared.
Muzzamer with lead actors Amerul Affendi dan Lim Mei Fen
Interestingly, "Prebet Sapu" is in black and white due to the reason that the lead character, Aman is colour-blind.
Explains Muzzamer, the black and white concept would not only project the aesthetics and tranquil serenity of the film, it would also show that the different races and skin tones of the lead characters are unimportant.
Muzammer is absolutely elated that "Prebet Sapu" has been selected to represent Malaysia for the Best International Feature Film category at the 94th Academy Awards (Oscar) in Los Angeles next year.
"I am honoured because we know that the panel of judges for the Oscars are well-renowned. As such, we know that our film was selected based on requirements and criteria. Indirectly as well, it will ease the promotion and marketing of our film overseas," he further added.
The film has also represented Malaysia at other international film festivals including the Udine Far East Film Festival, Italy; Jogja-Netpac Asian Film Festival (JAFF), Indonesia; Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival, Canada; Asian Film Festival Barcelona, Spain and Innovative International Film Festival in India.
The film follows a young man named Aman who moves to the city of Kuala Lumpur after the death of his father, and embarks illegally on a ride-hailing service ('prebet sapu'). His life changes when he meets Bella, a young ethnic Chinese lady.
"Prebet Sapu" stars Amerul Affendi dan Lim Mei Fen, and features Bront Palarae, Sharifah Amani, Nam Ron, Nadiya Nisaa, Chew Kin Wah, Jay Iswazir, Anas Ridzuan, Roslan Madun and more.
"Prebet Sapu" will be released in Malaysia on 16 December 2021