Thursday, April 23, 2009

She made us cry with her MCYS commercials...

When I first saw the YouTube clip called Funeral, I had no clue it was a commercial - let alone a Government TVC. It made me laugh, then it made me cry, all within 3 mins. When I realised it was an ad, I was stunned. The sheer art of this!

I was tagged on Facebook a few days later with another MCYS commercial called Family or as it's more popularly known, Red Shoes. Again, it made me cry. How is it possible that two 3-minute commercials could so easily activate my tear ducts?

Well, if you have not seen them, click on the YouTube vids below and check out for yourself:

I had to find out who was behind these moving commercials, and I did. She is criticially-accalimed Malaysian Director, Yasmin Ahmad. Her films Sepek, Gubra, Mukhsin and Muallaf have travelled to film festivals around the world and garnered numerous international awards. In fact, her TVCs for Petronas in her home country of Malaysia has won her a loyal following of fans.

It was her Petronas TVCs that first caught the attention of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who brought it up to MCYS' attention. According to Richard Tan, Director of Communications & International Relations at MCYS - who was our guest today as well - it was PM Lee who wanted Yasmin onboard.

The pursuit was on. When her advertising company did not pitch for the deal, MCYS sent representatives up to KL to approach her directly. In fact, it came to a point where MCYS told all the PR companies pitching to them that whoever could secure Yasmin would secure the deal. It was Yasmin Ahmad or nothing.

She was given full freedom & leeway to choose and direct her stories. In fact, the Red Shoes story was initially rejected by MCYS because it not only featured a single-parent family, it also featured a girl (main protagonist) who was rebellious. But it was precisely this story everyone rejected that Yasmin picked. And MCYS let her.

Our hour with Yasmin this morning is still buzzing within me. She is wise, intelligent, compassionate and inspiring. There is an aura about her, which I find hard to put in words. And if her creative work is an extension of her, then I can understand why they resonate with so many people.

"What tugs at people's heartstrings?" I ask her.

She says as a matter of fact, "True sentiments."

Yasmin Ahmad on the couch with MCYS' Richard Tan who shared the pursuit story of this Director by the Singapore Government.

I wish we had more time with Yasmin. Isn't it true that time flies when you're in the presence of a Giant?

Well, if you'd like to join the 11,000+ people who are already fans of her MCYS clips, visit this Facebook page and join as a member. You can share your own story there as well. Be inspired!

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