Learning from a Legend

This week I was able to shadow a great musician and filmmaker from Malaysia named Pete Teo (google him). He is a Chinese born Malaysian and I really got to learn a lot from him. His journey that led him to film started as a music composer, to songwriter, to musician, to actor, to filmmaker, and now organic farmer. I kid you not that is my same journey. Before I met Pete I was shopping for an organic coffee farm.  So here are some of the take aways from our conversations.

1. As a filmmaker, it doesn’t matter what equipment you use. It can be a cel phone, an ipad, a digital camera, or even a camera that shoots on 35mm. Whatever it is you use to record media will add to the effect or character of your film. The media you use says the time period you live in as well as many other things such as social class. This part of our conversation reminded me of my film theory classes whereby we learned that the camera is actually a character and not just a mechanical device.

2. Pete’s films are political. He is a reformer and wants to see his country united. As a  result, he has been questioned and followed by the secret police of Malaysia. He released 15 short films on the internet 2 days apart and gained instant fame. His first film had 15 million views in less than two days. He broke a record and had to change the server a few times do to the popularity. You can see his famous 15 shorts called “15 Malaysia” where each short addresses a taboo of the country. The website is “www.15malaysia.com”

3. The problems that Pete addresses are cross-cultural. It reminds me of how diverse Georgia State is and how our projects reflect that diversity. Some of the projects that we are currently pursuing can be the solutions for someone thousands of miles away. I will keep that in mind more now while I work.

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The pictures above are with me and Pete Teo. The picture where I am on the left is me, Pete and Chris Escobar (the executive director of the Atlanta Film Festival). The picture with me in the middle is me, Pete and Daniel Robin (The Georgia State film professor that I attribute with having the greatest impact on my mechanics and editing for film. I had know idea he would be at dinner so it was a pleasant surprise for me)