Thursday, November 17, 2011

Up against the best, Syamsul Yusof and Lisa Surihani (VIDEO & 5 GAMBAR)

Best Actress Lisa Surihani and Best Director Syamsul Yusof
Reigning Best Director Syamsul Yusof and Best Actress Lisa Surihani hold their own against strong competition at the Malaysian Film Festival, writes Dennis Chua

He is the son of an acclaimed filmmaker and one of the country’s most outstanding new directors. She is a beauty with brains (she is a Law graduate) and takes on every movie role with gusto.

Syamsul Yusof and Lisa Surihani, the reigning Best Director and Best Actress of the Malaysian Film Festival (MFF), are all set for the big night on Sunday.

Last year, Syamsul, son of Yusof Haslam, won for Evolusi KL Drift 2, and Lisa for Lagenda Budak Setan. They are defending their titles in this year’s 24th edition of the event.

Syamsul is up for Best Actor and Best Director in KL Gangster, produced by his father’s Skop Productions.

Lisa is up for Best Actress in Metrowealth Pictures’ Sekali Lagi.

Both say this year’s competition is stiff as all nominees for Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress, are stars in their own right.

For Best Director, Syamsul faces competition from Osman Ali (Cun), Mamat Khalid (Hantu Kak Limah Balik Rumah), Yusry Abdul Halim (Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa) and Ahmad Idham (Senjakala).

For Best Actor, he is challenged by Awie (Hantu Kak Limah), Shaheizy Sam (Kongsi), Remy Ishak (Nur Kasih The Movie) and Zahiril Adzim (Senjakala).

For Best Actress, Lisa faces Maya Karin (Cun), Eja (Janin), Tiz Zaqyah (Nur Kasih) and Liyana Jasmay (Senjakala).

“Anything can happen, and we are hoping for the best.” Syamsul Yusof.
“Anything can happen and we are hoping for the best,” says Syamsul who received the Tokoh Muda Negara award from the Government in conjunction with National Day this year.

He sees Yusry and Mamat as his strongest competitors for Best Director, and Shaheizy and Remy for Best Actor. He describes Shaheizy as a dear friend and his favourite collaborator. They are currently starring in

Aku Bukan Tomboy and had previously worked together in Evolusi KL Drift 2 and Bohsia — Jangan Pilih Jalan Hitam.

“Shaheizy flows into different roles with ease. He can be a ruthless villain or a funny and adorable hero,” he says.
He looks at Lisa and smiles. “I think Lisa is Shaheizy’s equivalent among the female actresses.”

Syamsul also admires Singaporean actors Aaron Aziz and Adi Putra who starred with him in KL Gangster.

“It will be good to have an award for Best Foreign Actor in future, then they can win it,” he says, referring to the talents being sidelined at the prestigious awards show because of their nationality.

While Syamsul is best known for directing and acting in action movies, he does not wish to be pigeonholed. For this reason, he has played a black magic believer in Khurafat and a nerd in Aku Bukan Tomboy, fresh changes from his usual alpha male roles.

He says his father is his all-time hero. His other favourite filmmakers are Kabir Bhatia, James Cameron and Michael Bay.

“I’ve watched all of my dad’s movies. He encourages me to watch foreign movies to broaden my outlook and to boost my filmmaking skills,” says Syamsul, who studied film at the Malaysian Institute of Integrative Media and graduated in 2003.

His father used to take him to film locations and he knew at an early age, that making movies was what he wanted to do.

Preview filem ‘Sekali Lagi

During university semester breaks, Yusof gave him the task of directing TV dramas and allowed him to star in his TV shows such as Gerak Khas.

“My first movie was Gila-Gila Pengantin Popular,” recalls Syamsul.

As for Lisa, she regards her four competitors as “dangerous”. “Liyana, Tiz, Maya and Eja are brilliant and hardworking stars,” she says. “I’ve enjoyed working with Liyana in the television movie Pontianak Remaja and
Maya in the coming Ombak Rindu.”

The versatile actress has played the girl-next-door, a spoilt rich kid and a ruthless villain ever since she appeared in Bernard Chauly’s film, Goodbye Boys.

She is also a television host on Astro Ria’s Mari Menari.

“... I love the challenge of taking on different film roles.” Lisa Surihani.
A law graduate from Help University College and Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom, she won her first major award, Most Promising Actress, in MFF21 for I’m Not Single. Early this year, she was voted

Most Popular Actress at the  Anugerah Bintang Popular Berita Harian 2010.

The fourth of five siblings, she initially saw acting as a pastime, but encouraged by her parents, she realised it was her calling.

Citing Syamsul, Shaheizy, Zahiril, Liyana and Tiz as her favourite local stars, and Syamsul, Yusry and Pierre Andre as her favourite local directors, Lisa believes that the key to success is variety.

“Actors and actresses I look up to, play different characters in different movies. I love the challenge of taking on different film roles,” she says, adding that she identifies with strong and independent women, like her character in Sekali Lagi.”

Lisa (right) in a scene with Kartina Aziz in Sekali Lagi

In the film Ombak Rindu, Lisa will play a diva, with Aaron as her co-star. “Mila, my character, is obsessed with a guy,” says Lisa  about the new movie.

Both Lisa and Syamsul are excited about Sam, which is co-directed by Yusof and Syamsul’s younger brother, Syafiq. Out next year, the pyscho-thriller also stars Shaheizy and Neelofa.

“This is my first collaboration with Lisa and I think both of us, and Shaheizy, have great chemistry,” says Syamsul.

As for the influx of horror films, Syamsul and Lisa agree that while certain quarters have a right to criticise these films, they do not think the public is tired of them.

“Horror films are popular because of their storylines and educational messages. Not all have done well and this proves that viewers are attracted primarily to the stories,” says Lisa.

“The films are largely educational because we show that faith always trumps evil and black magic. I don’t see them as a bad influence, but rather, as good lessons,” says Syamsul.

While Syamsul and Lisa are counting on their respective films to win Best Film in MFF24, they name Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa as a heavyweight contender.

“This is the kind of epic movie I’d love to make in the future,” says Syamsul.

Lisa agrees. “It has state-of-the-art special effects plus lots of historical research.”

Sinopsis Filem Sekali Lagi ;

Arman (Shaheizy Sam) merupakan seorang pesakit yang percaya dirinya menghidapi penyakit autisme. Dia dijaga oleh ibu (Kartina Aziz) dan ayah saudaranya (Alex Yanz) selepas pembedahan. Dia dijodohkan dengan (Shasha Zurazie) atas pilihan ibunya. Satu hari, Arman diperas ugut dan kehadiran Amy (Mia Sara Nasuha) menyelamatkan Arman. Sejak hari itu, mereka berkawan baik sehinggalah hal persahabatan mereka diketahui ibu Amy, Shiela (Lisa Surihani). Shiela berang dan melarang Amy berjumpa Arman. Mengapakah Shiela berbuat begitu? Saksikan kesudahan filem Sekali Lagi di pawagam berhampiran.