Grow­ing pain

TheJoshua Tapes re­flects the evolv­ing friend­ships among young peo­ple.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By RIZAL JOHAN JoshuaTapes. The JoshuaTapes. S’kali The TheJoshuaTapes

The Joshua Tapes re­flects on the evolv­ing friend­ship among young peo­ple.

BE­ING an in­de­pen­dent filmmaker is a road fraught with hard­ship and heartache yet there are those who per­sist on the ar­du­ous jour­ney. They may not know what lies ahead of them but it is of­ten the jour­ney, rather than the des­ti­na­tion, that makes their ef­forts worth­while.

This week marks the open­ing of lo­cally made, in­de­pen­dent fea­ture The Joshua Tapes, star­ring Baki Zainal, Phoon Chi Ho and Matthew Ho Tien Li as three guys whose friend­ship is tested when they em­bark on a road trip across Malaysia, and they end up dis­cov­er­ing more about them­selves.

The film is di­rected by Arivind Abra­ham and pro­duced by Per­an­tauan Pic­tures, the out­fit he co-founded and which pro­duced his fea­ture film de­but S’kali in 2006. Also in­volved in The Joshua Tapes are pro­ducer Bahir Yeusuff, who has worked with Abra­ham since the be­gin­ning of their film­mak­ing en­deav­our, and Lim Benji.

Bahir, who gained recog­ni­tion for mak­ing Me­ter as part of last year’s 15Malaysia project – the se­ries of short films about Malaysia, di­rected by young lo­cal film­mak­ers – came up with the idea for The Joshua Tapes. He shares writ­ing cred­its with Lim, who co-di­rected it with Abra­ham.

The movie was shot last year in Malaysia but in true in­die film­mak­ing fashion, the team shot two fea­ture films back-to-back. The other movie is 5.13, which Abra­ham con­sid­ers his sec­ond fea­ture film and con­cerns “two in­di­vid­u­als in a des­per­ate fight against para­noia (and) ter­ror”. The movie did not make it to the

Di­rec­tor Arivind Abra­ham (far left) giv­ing in­struc­tions to the main ac­tors (from sec­ond left) Baki Zainal, Matthew Ho and Phoon Chi Ho in cine­mas but is avail­able through Amer­i­can on­line dis­trib­u­tor IndieFlix (

Abra­ham, who is based in London, cor­re­sponds via e-mail re­gard­ing The Joshua Tapes and gives an in­sight into the mak­ing of the film and why you should watch it. You shot two films back-to­back last year – 5.13 and

What was that like? You had a very small win­dow of time to fin­ish both films so what com­pelled you to do it?

Do­ing them back-to-back was purely down to sched­ul­ing and also to give us a chance to test all the new equip­ment we were us­ing be­fore get­ting onto Joshua, as well as to make sure the crew was work­ing like a ma­chine by the time we got onto Joshua. Your first film was cen­tred around a re­la­tion­ship and friend­ship and I’m get­ting the same vibe here with

How per­sonal are your sto­ries and is this based on your per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence?

Well, to be­gin with, I was very wary about do­ing Joshua for pre­cisely that rea­son but the ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer picked this project out of the ideas we had pitched to him and the cin­ema chains liked it as well. It took me a long time to find the emo­tional way in but I even­tu­ally did and I was look­ing at it from the con­text of how friend­ships will die un­less you al­low them to evolve and adapt with time, and ac­cept that we all be­come indi- What would you say to peo­ple here to make them go watch your movie?

The Joshua Tapes was a hard film to make. I ini­tially felt the ma­te­rial was a lit­tle too close to S’kali for my lik­ing. In essence, we were once again mak­ing a movie about the re­la­tion­ships be­tween young peo­ple.

At the same time, of my own ac­cord, I was learn­ing that my friends and I had changed. Where once we all seemed to read off the same page, now there were opin­ions and less of a ho­moge­nous point of view.

And that’s how I found the emo­tional truth of the film ...

You see, when you’re in school, you spend al­most ev­ery day to­gether. You ex­pe­ri­ence al­most the same things to­gether and, thus, you share the same highs and lows, cre­at­ing a bond like no other. It’s why your school­mates tend to be your life­long friends.

But then you all split up, you go away to study, to work and you grow, you be­come your own per­son. And so the next time you all come back to­gether, each has his own stake to claim, his own point of view.

This is where the char­ac­ters of The Joshua Tapes are. They ex­pe­ri­ence that same points of tran­si­tion in the film, of re­al­is­ing that un­less they ac­cept that the friend­ship will grow and change, they will never be happy ... That is why you might want to give this movie a watch. It is a story about all of you. n is cur­rently show­ing in se­lected GSC cine­mas in the Klang Val­ley. For screen­ing de­tails, check the lo­cal list­ings.

On set:


The char­ac­ters played by (from left) Phoon, Baki and Ho re­alise that their friend­ships have changed since school­days.

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