The River Runs Red (4K / color / 90min / Malaysia)
Muhammad BAHIR, Bront PALARAE
Zodiac Films, Pixel Play, Wayang Works
Zahir Omar is a Malaysian based storyteller who works as a feature film and commercial director. When he is not working on his feature projects, he spends a lot of time travelling the region doing commercials for Google, Nestlé, McDonald’s, and other multinationals. He won his first accolade in the BMW Shorties competition in 2007, with his short film titled K-hole (2007). With the prize money, he went on to make his second short, Teddy & I (2008). Both films screened at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2009 and New York City Short Film Festival 2008. For the next 10 years, Zahir spent most of his time travelling around Asia, earning his stripes by sharpening his craft in the commercial industry before applying those skills to his debut feature, Fly By Night (2018), a Malaysian production. The film had its world premiere at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival 2018.
Muhammad BAHIR, Bront PALARAE
Muhammad Bahir (Mo)’s first feature, Fly By Night (Zahir Omar, 2018), premiered at Busan International Film Festival 2018, and his second film, Motif (Nadiah Hamzah, 2019), premiered at Udine Far East Film Festival 2019. He produces content for the big screen, small screen, and even tiny screens. He has the passion to develop emerging talents and the patience to endure the experienced ones.
Bront Palarae is the 40-year-old co-founder and CEO of Pixel Play Entertainment. He focuses on producing film-maker-driven content that transcends genre and language at a modest-budget, offering regional stars and filmmakers a chance to develop their passion projects. More commonly known as an actor, he has appeared in more than 50 films, and has collaborated with filmmakers such as Joko Anwar, Dain Said, Ho Yuhang, and Timo Tjahjanto, to name but a few. Bront was also recently appointed as a permanent advisor for the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS).
The River Runs Red is a revenge film set in Nusantara at the turn of the 17th Century. It chronicles the vengeance of Dang Itam, an assassin imprisoned by an elite group of warriors who were once his brothers-in-arms, now led by the Puan Bendahara (Madam Prime Minister). Dang Itam is tasked with assassinating the King and his heir, a young Prince. With the monarchs dethroned, the Bendahara becomes the ruler of the land. However, unbeknownst to anyone, Dang Itam spares the Prince, exiling the boy upstream. Dang Itam′s secret does not stay secret for long as he is betrayed by one of his own. The Bendahara banishes Dang Itam, making him a slave in the gruesome sulfur mines. A decade passes, and the country finds itself lured by foreign provocateurs, armed with ideas, opium, and power. The delicate keris is no match for the influx of samurai swords and western firearms. The visitors bring science and medicines, and the locals are drunk on fear, folktales, and propaganda. Slaving in the mines during the day and subjected to grueling blood sports at night, Dang Itam awaits his death, when he is suddenly freed by foreign operatives who claim a common ambition; for Dang Itam to have his revenge, and together remove the Bendahara from her throne. Can Dang Itam ever be truly free? Are his sanity and his life failing? Or could this have been his plan all along?