TUN Fatimah, the last queen of Melaka, is well-known for her courage, political finesse and determination as a key figure in setting the legacy of Melaka beyond the Portuguese invasion in the early 16th century.
Through her strong influence on Sultan Mahmud Shah, the last Sultan of Melaka, Tun Fatimah’s son and daughters went on to establish new political powers in Malaya, especially through the establishment of the Johor sultanate through her son Raja Ali Sultan Mahmud or Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah II (1528–1564) and the Perak sultanate through her stepson Sultan Muzaffar Syah (1528-1549).
With the support of the DC3+ Grant from the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), integrated strategic communications and content creation agency bzBee Consult Sdn Bhd aims to bring Tun Fatimah: The Rebel Queen to the digital screen in a bid to showcase the adat, kesopanan and rich values of the past through the stories of Malaysia’s very own heroines, heroes, heritage and history.
According to bzBee founder and managing director Prof Mohd Said Bani CM Din, Malaysia has ample stories which can and should go international.
“It is high time that we shine a spotlight on the wealth of stories in our very own hikayat,” he said in a statement, adding that Tun Fatimah: The Rebel Queen is an important stride forward to bring awareness to as well as preserve the age-old stories of Malaysia.
Adapted from the award-winning novel KIRANA – Dream After the Rose by bzBee’s very own Ninot Aziz, Tun Fatimah: The Rebel Queen takes a twist, setting the plot in both the 16th century and present-day Melaka.
Ninot said the film shines a light on a strong female figure in Malaysian history and highlights the values, culture and heritage of Melaka during the 16th century.
“Hikayat, legends and folklores contain a wealth of knowledge on topics ranging from governance, protocol, diplomacy, architecture, shipbuilding, weaponry and textiles to medicinal practices, literature, entertainment, music, dance, wisdom and creative thinking – proof that our ancient societies had highly conceptualised ideas and creativity.
“We are storytellers, and the opportunity to explore this with the use of digital creation in the form of CGI is very exciting for us,” she said.
Together with Said Bani and Azlina Merican as executive producers, the trio worked on this idea for more than three years as part of bzBee’s efforts, passion and belief in the importance of culture and heritage.
Their plans finally came to light with the support of the grant from MDEC.
All-Malaysian production team
The making of this short film is a collaborative effort with Nur Hussein of Langit Terang Productions and a strong line-up of an all-Malaysian production team.
The script of the short film was a joint effort by Said, Ninot and renowned scriptwriter Nadia Khan waxing lyrical over the beauty of the Malay language in the 16th century.
Led by critically acclaimed movie director Bade Azmi, the short film is breathtakingly beautiful.
A distinctive component in the storytelling of this film is the use of CGI to build an idealistic representation of the world of 16th-century Melaka. The DC3+ grant awarded by MDEC promotes the creation of digital content and plays an important role in supporting the use of CGI in the film’s production.
Tasked with building the concept art for this film were digital artist Walid Muhamad and 3D artist Faizal Rahmat.
Adding to the young, up-and-coming cast involved is actress Yna Rose Noah filling the lead roles as both Tun Fatimah and Kirana. Yna Rose recently bagged the best-supporting actress award at the Eastern European International Awards for the film Showtime 1958.
Other cast members include actors Naim Shamsol as Nadim, Niezam Zaidi as Sultan Mahmud Shah and Jimmy Leong as Uncle Wong.
Scoring the film is established musician and songwriter Taja Mustapha and the hauntingly beautiful original soundtrack was written by Teuku Umar Ilany Teuku Iskandar, a lecturer at Akademi Seni Budaya dan Warisan Kebangsaan (ASWARA) and founder of Gamelan Group Gangsapura.
Unfortunately, unless hikayat is appreciated, the stories and the knowledge embedded in them will slowly fade away and disappear.
As such, it is hoped that Tun Fatimah: The Rebel Queen will encourage a deeper appreciation of hikayat by the masses through the use of digital content to create ancient worlds believable and relatable. — Sept 19, 2022