What makes a good arts ecosystem? It is not always about the highest achievement or global success. It is more internal and begins with a social group that shares the same common ground and sense of belonging, working together towards a goal, and embracing friendship, in other words, it is called a collective.
In Johor, collective groups are not a new approach to building up a community ecosystem – we always hear this in music, sports, theatre and sketchers but not a filmmaking collective.
This is where Johor Street Film School (JSFS), a nonprofit initiative by Kapsul Studio Sdn Bhd steps in to create an alternate filmmaking universe in Johor Bahru, beginning with a small collective style of work in order to achieve a healthy ecosystem, especially in filmmaking.
Youth nowadays are always looking for something as escapism, not only in music or sports. This is where JSFS explores these needs right here in JB.
Filmmaking involves a variety of work; producing, production management, directing, screenwriting, graphic design, sound design, music scoring, editing, special effects and etc. Everything needs to be under a safe hand and a good team is needed. JSFS scouts people from a circle of close friends, auditions and casting. Crafting good collective work is partly designing good friendships towards a healthy ecosystem.
JSFS not only exposes the youth to the industrial film scene but more importantly, develops its own film in order to practically teach the industrial line of work. In the first phase, JSFS builds an A-team squad for an omnibus film project. It is called “Another Johor Story” and it features four short films written and directed by Cech Adrea, and produced by Haziqah Azemi.
The production team involves experts in their respective lines of work.
Hafiza Wahab, who worked for wedding video production previously, now can continue her creative work. This is how good collective works, to continue a good circle in an arts ecosystem.
The same goes for another videographer, Atiq, who had to be back in Johor from KL since the COVID-19 pandemic, and now, he is JSFS’s main director of photography.
The youngest teammate, Nabil Zaini who was previously active in theatre groups while in college thinks it is an opportunity for him to expand his knowledge to manage film productions. The same goes for Putera Harith, an Aswara graduate who left the city for good – young blood who is eager to work in a collective.
For Akiff Mohamad and Amir Hamzah, musicians based in Johor Bahru, JSFS is the opportunity for them to expand their skills in music into filmmaking.
Johor has so many talented people, with easy access to the Singapore scene and crowd as well.
It is a waste if there is no film collective in Johor because the industrial film environment here is very engaging and supportive. In the first period, JSFS had a chance to join a field trip to Iskandar Malaysia Studios, a studio known for Hollywood productions such as Marco Polo and Strike Back. This kind of support is a good move to create momentum for a fresh collective group to move forward. Moreover, Mubi Malaysia also wants to be part of the movement. JSFS is also on the radar to create collaboration with Shattuck-St. Mary International School and a few universities in EduCity in Iskandar Puteri, Johor.
The first mission is to create an omnibus film, and JSFS has wrapped the first film, out of the four scripts, and has already been offered a screening hall for the premiere screening.