TheJoshua Tapes reflects the evolving friendships among young people.
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 (www.indieflix.com).
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.
The characters played by (from left) Phoon, Baki and Ho realise that their friendships have changed since schooldays.