Friday, March 02, 2007

Malaysia documented "Discover Malaysia" to attract Tourists

Michael Chick’s TV series, Discover Malaysia, aims to attract tourists to our culture-rich country.

Malaysia truly features a melting pot of cultures with multi-ethnic traditions and culinary diversity. In line with Visit Malaysia 2007, film director Michael Chick has produced a TV series that focuses on the country’s rich heritage, culture and nature.

Called Discover Malaysia (DM), the “off the beaten track” documentary was designed for television broadcast around the globe.

“Malaysia is a unique land because of its cultural diversity. The country has a beautiful blend of races and is blessed with so many cultures and traditions.

Beautiful Malaysia: Michael Chick says the series enables tourists to preview and discover the core essence of Malaysia.
“DM highlights traditional Malay handicrafts, major festivals, tourist destinations, nature, jungle, weddings and rituals. It is a gritty and unabashed series, which is a contrast from other tourism commercials,” said Chick during an interview in Selangor recently.

Chick was inspired to produce the independent series after hearing complaints from tourists about how fake some Malaysian tourism advertisements looked. He said: “Backpackers felt most of our advertisements looked too glitzy and set up. DM is done in a non-political way and features the true Malaysian way of life.

“Foreign travellers prefer to visit a country’s rugged places and cultural spots. The last thing they want to see are common touristy sites which look so false. The production is thorough and suitable for people of all ages.”

DM is 36-year-old Chick’s debut as a film director.

The series was recorded in 1,300 locations and has 120 segments spread out over five hours.

The series starts off with a general overview of Malaysia, with a peek at its history, geography, people and tradition. From there, viewers are taken on a state-by-state tour to the nation's hidden attractions.

Divided into five parts, the series highlights major festive celebrations (including Gawai and Thaipusam) as well as tourist highlights like the soft corals of Sipadan Island, Sabah, and the pinnacles in Mulu National Caves in Mulu, Sarawak.

Chick explained the series also touched on traditional arts and heritage, including the art of making Johor’s famed kuda kepang and Kelantan’s keris and batik. Cultural rituals, such as an Orang Asli wedding, are also featured.

“Most tourists visit Malaysia with a guidebook which comprises 200 pages of text and two pages of photos. These travellers end up visiting the usual touristy sites, without having a chance to see the true essence of our country.

“This series enables tourists to preview and discover the core essence of Malaysia. It is straightforward and focuses on the country’s anthropological, historical, ethnographical and environmental details,” said Chick. He spent RM15,000 on research.

To ensure the series offered the best content, Chick worked with 50 crewmembers and hired local guides to take them around the different locations.

“Part of the recording was done in caves, thick jungles and islands. The locals were the best guides as they could give us insights to these places and ensured we did not get lost or trapped,” said Chick, adding the film was recorded in broadcast and high definition.

To reach out to the overseas market, he engaged American TV personality Dennis Schopper as the narrator.

Chick is targeting four groups of audiences – armchair travellers, investors, university students and backpackers.

Source : STAR
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