Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg is seeking to sell the hornbill state’s lush environment as a “natural studio” to filmmakers.
Johari who is also in charge of state tourism, arts and culture said Sarawak’s unspoilt seafront, jungles and caves provide the perfect unique setting for movie makers, The Borneo Post reported today.
“Recently, I visited a Bollywood studio in India… it was small due to space constraints in Mumbai and we in Sarawak can offer a natural studio which is unique and beautiful. Apart from that, we have a lot of natural talent,” the state minister was quoted saying.
“Sarawak, and Miri in particular, is rich in culture and heritage such as that of the Chinese, Malay and the natives including the oriental. If we can converge these cultures or create cross cultural conversation, we can promote peace globally through films,” he added.
The Borneo Post reported him saying this during the start of filming for first China-Malaysia online movie project called Blue Tears in Miri yesterday.
The movie is a joint venture between Malaysia’s Universal Television Company and China’s Global Business International Group Ltd and features Chinese stars such as Ringo Yu who was in Jackie Chan’s Police Story, and Sun Wei who is currently on air in five major television dramas in Beijing.
Johari hopes Blue Tears will draw more tourists from mainland China, Canada and Australia which are countries with large ethnic Chinese populations.
“Films can raise their curiosity and awareness of what Sarawak, including Miri, can offer and make us (more attractive) as a destination for filmmakers and ordinary tourists,” he added.
Blue Tears tells the story of a Chinese national named Ling Fu Shen who falls in love with a native girl named Katrina. Filming will be done at various locations, including Tusan Beach in Bekenu, Lambir and Mulu, home to the Mulu National Park and a Unesco world heritage site.
Sarawak is aiming to make tourism one of its new growth engines. It is currently the third largest contributor to the state economy at some 15 per cent of Sarawak’s GDP.
Source : The Malay Mail Online