ACTRESS TAKES AIM AT DIRECTOR’S CHAIR
While eager to have her big screen directorial debut, Sharifah Amani is equipping herself to become a great storyteller, writes BIBI NURSHUHADA RAMLI
HAVING served as assistant director for Yasmin Ahmad’s 2009 award-winning film Talentime, actress SharAmani’s ifah interest to sit in the director’s chair had been mounting ever since. To learn the ropes, she started small by tackling short films. Sharifah directed Sangkar, Kampung Bangsar and Hawa. She was also stunt assistant director for Yusry Abdul Halim’s 2011 Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa.
Calling these endeavours as “practice” before attempting something bigger, she said: “All this while, I’ve been busy acting, writing, speaking to (those within the) industry and observe their work process. That’s how I prepare myself for the big league.”
Recalling a conversation she had with Yasmin before she died, Sharifah, 30, said: “I remembered expressing to Yasmin my desire to direct a feature film. She turned to me and said, ‘What do you know about life? How are you going to tell a story if you don’t know what it is all about?’
“She had a point. ‘How can you tell a good story if you didn’t live it?’ So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few years — living my life. Yasmin was a great storyteller. Her stories touched people’s hearts, whether they were films or television commercials. I hope to become that and more.”
The youngest recipient of the Best Actress award at the 19th Malaysian Film Festival in 2006, Sharifah had her big break in Yasmin’s ground-breaking 2005 movie Sepet. She then went on to star in Yasmin’s three other films.
The daughter of actress Fatimah Abu Bakar may have not embarked on her film project yet, but one thing she is adamant about, is its theme.
“It’s got to be about humanity. Awardwinning American actress Viola Davis once said that acting was the only profession that celebrated (what it meant to live a) life. I want to present something along those lines through my films.
“I have ideas that I can’t share yet, but they’re going to be about a story centering on women’s empowerment,” said Sharifah, who was inspired by how Malaysian women, who in general, were mentally strong, yet gentle emotionally.
“This is also the type of role that I prefer to take on as an actress. I think our films should highlight strong, confident and independent women in their stories,” she said at the launch of Asian Three-Fold Mirror 2016: Reflections at GSC The Gardens, Mid Valley City in Kuala Lumpur recently.
Asian Three-Fold Mirror 2016: Reflections is a series of three omnibus movies, which is part of an endeavour to deepen the mutual understanding as well as enhancing cultural exchange among Asians.
Sharifah starred in one of the movies, titled Pigeon, directed by Japanese filmmaker Isao Yukisada. She plays a care worker who develops a warm kinship with an elderly Japanese man suffering from dementia.
‘Talentime’ assistant director
Sharifah Amani says she plans to direct a movie about humanity.