Friday, February 3, 2012

David Teo - The Godfather of Malaysia's Film Market (4 PHOTOS)

David Teo and his wife Jane Lim
He is a businessman, a motivator, a strategist plus he has the creative vision the film industry needs. His ability to deal with potential problems before it happens is the envy of many film makers. Many even likened him to the next Run Run Shaw, the Hong Kong media mogul who started the film market and established the Shaw Organisation in Malaysia.

David Teo, Chief Executive Officer of Metrowealth International Group (MIG), however feels he's better than the late Sir Run Run Shaw. Teo has every reason to say feel that way because MIG is fast growing into a multi-million dollar TV and movie empire.

"I plan to release at least two to three movies in a month. MIG only works for 10 months while the other two months have been put aside for the festive season," says the 47-year-old prolific film producer during a special gathering to usher in the Chinese New Year recently.

Teo produced his first film, Syukur 21 in 2000 and although it flopped at the box office, the movie won the Jury Award at the 14th Malaysian Film Festival for Best Visual Effects, the win inspired Teo to work harder especially on marketing strategy. Today, the businessman has mastered the art of film making and has produced several box office movies. His plan for this year is to release more than 29 movies.

David Teo with his family and MiG Group members.
The entrepreneur said a recent report showed that the total gross for all movies last year was 108 million. That puts Malaysia as the most successful country in film production. "From that figure, MIG is the main contributor, raking in 22.2 percent of the total figure which is about RM24 million. We hope to increase this figure by churning 29 movies this year, out of which 19 will be screened this year. We have also acquired 10 slots of Wajib Tayang (Compulsory Screening)," says Teo who was recently awarded the rank of Honorary Major at the pleasure of the King by the 12 Brigade Commander.

Teo's target, he says is to release 100 movies before 2013. MIG has since produced 72 movies, out of which 54 have been screened. Among the more notable movies that MIG has made to date are Remp-It, Kongsi, Ngangkung, Adnan Sempit, Lagenda Budak Setan, Syurga Cinta, Anak Mami The Movie, Jangan Pandang Belakang, Congkak, Mami Jarum, Santau, Hingga Hujung Nyawa, Jutawan Fakir and Cinta Kolestrol.

Teo says MIG caters to different movie genres and there will be a variety of movies from religious to romantic to horror in the pipeline for this year's calendar. Some of the movies coming soon include Sumpahan Kum Kum (horror), Ajiboy (comedy), 7 Petala Cinta (religious), Minyak Dagu (horror), Assalamualaikum Cinta (romance comedy), Keramat (horror) and Taikun (comedy).

Apart from producing movies, MIG is also keen to nurture young talents to become directors, scriptwriters and also artistes. Going by the slogan, 'Artistes are not born but created', Teo says he has helpe nurture some of Malaysia's leading celebrities like award-winning actor Shaheizy Sam, Pierre Andre, Farid Kamil, Lisa Surihani, Maya Karin, Fizo Omar, Kamal Adli, Yana Samsudin and many more.

While the current crop like Wawa Zainal, Aeril Zafrel, Fezrul Khan, Shima Anuar, Mon Ryanti, Mikail Andre and Zalif Sidek are being groomed, IMG is on the look out for more young talents who are willing to work hard for their career. "We provide a platform for these talents to become actors, scriptwriters, directors and members of a film crew. If you have the the passion and are willing to work hard, we want you. We also have created a range of creative opportunities and soon, we will set up our animation division and produce at least one animation movie a year," says the producer who is currently one of the juries for the Raja Lawak Season 6.

Teo has also started the Skim 10 Pengarah Muda MIG (MIG Young Directors Scheme) which has proven to be a winner as most of the director under the scheme has struck box office hits for their movies. One of those under the scheme is actor turned director Farid Kamil who raked in RM8 million through his first directorial debut Kongsi.

Other promising young directors are Pierr Andre, Azhari Zain, Hashim Rejab, Yana Samsudin, Ismail Bob Hasim, Nor Hazlin Salam and Eyra Rahman.

"Of course young directors tend to make mistakes like when they go over budget. But that is part and parcel of learning. You have to remind them not to repeat the same mistake again. I notice they become more responsible after each failure. These are lessons to be learned. Young people should be shown the way, because they are the future of the country's film industry. I also pave the way for new scriptwriters and actors to try their talent," Teo, who also sit as one of the Board of Directors in FINAS (Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture, Malaysia) and is a member of the Films Appeal Committee (Ministry of Home Affairs, Malaysia), says.

MIG currently has more than 70 resident artistes and 300 staff under their payroll. "It's not easy keeping everything and every one in order and happy. There are a lot of sacrifices and a certain standard of decorum that has to be imposed to make sure everything runs smoothly," says Teo adding that he intends to implement the screening process for all MIG resident artistes from time to time.

The screening process he says will weed out the undesirables. “I have to be strict to make sure the artistes under IMG adhere to the rules. I can't afford to have artistes whose problems overshadow their talent. If they do have a problem, as a family we'll try to solve it,” says the father of four kids and whose wife, Jane Lim handles the movie production end of MIG.

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