Modern romance is complicated. And most people aren’t great at it. To get anywhere in this day and age requires a polished social media account, fluency in emoji lingo and finesse in the art of sliding into the DMs.
To illustrate the knottiness of modern relationships is upcoming short film She’s The One, directed by Thivian Sivananthen and written by Dale Bashir.
She’s The One is a quirky tale of romance, that follows the relationship that develops between Akil (Amir Rahim) and Natasha (Farihin Ufiya), while exploring the nuances of modern dating and the dangers lurking within. The film’s crew consisted of fifteen local students from various backgrounds and disciplines and had its production sponsored by Red Bull Malaysia, Camp5 Indoor Rock Climbing One Utama, and local DJ Deadwood.
She’s The One will be showcased at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac) on the 7th & 8th of September as part of Short+Sweet Malaysia’s new film category.
Short+Sweet Malaysia is an arts festival that has been running for eleven consecutive years and showcases performances that are all 10 minutes or less. This year’s festival will run from the months of September to November and present works of theater, music, comedy, dance and film.
(Book your seats for the film screenings here!)
She’s The One will also mark the debut of director Thivian Sivananthen and his crew at a major film festival. Along with writer Dale Bashir, Director of Photography Ariff Hew, and Production Manager Harri Vishnu, the group have been producing short films together for 5 years. The film’s score was recorded exclusively for the film and made by Keith Noel, Teoh Wey Zach, and Joshua Ryan.
In gearing up for the film’s release, we spoke to its lead, Amir Rahim, who gave us some insight on the making of the film and how he’s progressed throughout his own career in acting.
Getting involved in film and his acting inspirations
You’ve been involved in several local and independent films since the start of your career. How did you first get into acting?
I first got into acting by accident. When I was about 14 years old, I studied in an international boarding school. During one of my semesters, I remember a drama teacher posting a casting notice. He was looking for actors for a play that he was directing. Not many people signed up, so he decided to go around every class and ask all the students if they were interested. So when he came into my class, and asked me if I was interested, I honestly didn’t know what to think of it.
Back then I didn’t know what theatre or acting was. But I signed up because I was curious. Then I regretted signing up because I didn’t realise how much of my time I had to sacrifice for rehearsals. So I dreaded going to every rehearsal until show day. Right before I went on stage, I felt nervous and uneasy because I didn’t know what to expect or if I could even do it. But the moment I stepped on stage and heard the applause from the audience, everything changed. I suddenly felt this wave of energy bursting and realized how much I loved acting. Since then, I’ve never stopped.
Was there anyone who inspired you to get into acting? And is there anyone in film you hope to be able to work with someday?
Tom Cruise made me want to be an actor. I love action films and the first time I saw Tom Cruise was in the film Minority Report. I didn’t watch a lot of movies growing up, but when I saw Tom Cruise, I wanted to be like him; fighting bad guys, shooting guns and jumping off buildings. It would be really great if I get the chance to work with him. I would also like to work with Bront Palarae, Remy Ishak, Iedil Putra and Shahiezy Sam.
On She’s The One and modern dating
She’s The One has been noted for its use of more ‘unconventional methods’ in its filmmaking process, such as recording some scenes in the director’s home and producing music right out of a bedroom. Tell us about your experience being a part of this film.
She’s The One is a low-budget film produced and directed independently by my friend Thivian Sivananthen, whom I’ve worked with before. He had to use whatever resources he had in order to make this film work with a very minimal budget. Hence, we used his house to shoot. His talented musician friends also helped out with the music recording.
It was really fun to shoot because, at the end of the day, I became friends with the crew and other cast members and I felt that we all gave a 100% to this project.
Was there a way you prepared for the role of Akil? What did you do to get into character?
There wasn’t much preparation needed because I could relate a lot with Akil. He’s a single guy who goes on a dating app to find a girl. I’ve had a similar experience with dating apps myself. The only difference is that Akil knows how to sweet talk the ladies, so I had to learn the ‘sweet talk lingo’ from movie clips on YouTube.
How is She’s The One different from other films you’ve done?
She’s The One is different because it has an unexpected plot twist in the end (that I shall not reveal). All I can say is that this film pushes the boundaries of what we usually see in cinema or television. If we were to sell this to a TV station, I think this film could easily be banned or have certain parts be censored.
On his background in theatre and future projects
Did your background in theatre help you transition into acting in front of the camera?
Yes it did. Theatre helped build my confidence performing in front of people. When I’m on set, I don’t feel nervous or awkward when people watch me perform on camera. However, there were some things that I needed to adjust for the camera, such as my voice projection. In theatre, I always needed to make sure that the audience could hear me. In film, I just wear a microphone. Also, my movements on stage are quite exaggerated compared to when I’m in front of the camera. If it is a close-up shot, you definitely can’t move a lot, otherwise you’ll be out of the frame.
You’ve also tried working behind the camera, doing things such as writing, directing and editing. Do you see yourself venturing more into these fields?
In the long run, I do see myself having my own production company. I don’t focus on directing because it is tougher than it looks. Also, writing is not my forte. Editing, on the other hand, takes a lot of patience, which I don’t have. It takes a village to make a film and I’d like to be the head of my own village. I like to work with people who I can trust. I’ve worked with several editors, writers, directors and actors that can get the job done. The idea of collaborating with talented people gives me excitement and confidence knowing that whatever I’ll be producing is going to be a good project.
Are there any future projects you’re working on that your audience can look forward to?
I recently finished shooting for a British TV Show called Strike Back. The show is about a secretive unit of a British military intelligence called ‘Section 20’. The production filmed the latest season in Malaysia, specifically in Kuala Lumpur, Penang & Johor. I went for the audition and was fortunate enough to get a small role in one of the episodes. You can catch the show on Sky (UK) and Cinemax (US) sometime next year.
I also did my first ever Malaysian feature film back in April, called Homestay. It is about an urban couple that gets lost on a road trip only to stumble across a quaint village homestay. I played the lead role in this film and it is currently in post-production. The producers target to release Homestay in cinemas either at the end of 2018 or early 2019. So keep an eye out for that.
She’s The One will be screened on the 7th & 8th of September at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (klpac).
Book your seats here!
Find out more information about Short+Sweet Malaysia 2018 here.
Featured Image Source: She’s The One