Turn­ing point

Di­rec­tor Tony Pi­etra finds his voice through col­lab­o­ra­tive pro­ject Train Sta­tion.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Showbiz - By AN­GELIN YEOH en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

BACK in 2012, di­rec­tor Tony Pi­etra par­ticipro­ject pated in the Train Sta­tion, a film by Col­labFea­ture where 40 film­mak­ers from all over the world con­trib­ute a two-minute scene to make the en­tire movie.

Malaysia’s con­tri­bu­tion came from Pi­etra and writer Isazaly Mohd Isa.

“It all started with one sim­ple idea,” shared Pi­etra dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Kuala Lumpur. “A man misses his train at the sta­tion. What hap­pens next?”

Other film­mak­ers in­volved in the pro­ject are from coun­tries like Iran, Brazil, United States of Amer­ica, Ger­many, In­done­sia and France. The re­sult is dif­fer­ent sides to an un­pre­dictable story that changes swiftly from lo­ca­tion to ac­tors and even genre. Pi­etra’s seg­ment stars An­rie Too as a femme fa­tale and Michael Chen as the man who falls in love with her.

“I added noir-ish el­e­ments to the story,” said Pi­etra. “It’s funny watch­ing this now. The pro­ject is like a win­dow into time. I still re­mem­ber how at that time, we were un­sure of where this (pro­ject) was head­ing.”

Pi­etra – who got in­volved in the lo­cal en­ter­tain­ment scene by di­rect­ing var­i­ous independent short films, mu­sic videos and TV se­ri­als from 2003 – is, how­ever, thank­ful for the Train Sta­tion ex­pe­ri­ence.

“When I made Train Sta­tion, I hadn’t re­ally de­fined my style yet. I found my voice later on.”

But it did lead Pi­etra to ac­tor Chen, who – in 2014 – pro­duced Cuak, a film star­ring Ghafir Ak­bar and Dawn Cheong as a young cou­ple pre­par­ing for their wed­ding. The fea­ture was helmed by five dif­fer­ent direc­tors; one of them was Pi­etra.

“In con­cept, Cuak is sim­i­lar to Train Sta­tion. How­ever, it’s more con­tained with the same ac­tors play­ing the same char­ac­ter through­out the film,” he ex­plained.

He added that work­ing on Cuak helped him de­cide what kind of film­maker he wanted to be. Pi­etra’s seg­ment in Cuak was pre­sented in the form of a stylish noir-in­spired thriller.

“(Col­lab­o­ra­tive) projects like th­ese are a great plat­form to find one’s voice, es­pe­cially for young film­mak­ers who are at the be­gin­ning of their ca­reer. When you work with oth­ers, you some­how dis­cover your­self.”

Now that he has found his niche, au­di­ences can ex­pect more thrilling sto­ries from Pi­etra. He has just com­pleted film­ing Sa­fari Mall, co-di­rect­ing it with Jor­dan Suleiman from Stu­dio Voxel.

The film – star­ring Nam Ron, Eyka Farhana and Nadzmi Ad­hwa – is cur­rently in post-pro­duc­tion.

“Sa­fari Mall is more like a crea­turefea­ture, in 1980s style with lots of neon (lights). Hope­fully it will be re­leased next year.”

Pi­etra is also de­vel­op­ing Shad­ow­play ,a noir film, star­ring Tony Eu­soff as a de­tec­tive search­ing for an­swers across a mys­te­ri­ous fu­tur­is­tic land­scape. Train Sta­tion is show­ing at GSC In­ter­na­tional Screens. For show­times, turn to P13.


Pi­etra makes his seg­ment for Train Sta­tion in the noir genre.

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