Wild ambitions

Welcome to the jungle... Nadzmi, right, and Nam Ron prepare for battle in Safari Mall, which is co-directed by Jordan.

THE plot for local film Safari Mall, to be released next year, is intriguing – it revolves around a shopping mall which is suddenly beseiged by a group of mutant creatures.

A slacker known as Rabbit, who is working as a mascot in the mall, finds himself trapped in it following the attack.

Together with a band of misfit survivors – which include a delinquent schoolgirl, an eccentric ex-commando, and a jewellery store security guard – Rabbit must find ways to escape the murderous creatures.

The film is co-directed by Jordan Suleiman (Rojak) and Tony Pietra Arjuna (Cuak, Train Station).

Previously known for his skills as a visual effects supervisor, Jordan, 38, makes his feature film directorial debut with Safari Mall, for which he also co-wrote the screenplay.

Despite the outlandish premise and the fact that the film has some comedic moments, Jordan insists it is not a comedy.

"Personally, I would prefer to label Safari Mall as a 'creature feature' film," says Jordan, who hails from Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

"The antagonist of the film is not the mutant creatures, but the confined space of the shopping mall."

Nadzmi Adhwa stars as Rabbit. Others in the cast include Eyka Farhana, Nam Ron, Sasitharan Rajoo, Chew Kin Wah, Natasha Elyzza, Khai Bahar, and Davina Goh.

The film also features award-winning actor Bront Palarae, who is playing a fictional version of himself.

In the film, Bront is caught up in the chaos while attending a movie launch event in the mall.

While most actors would hesitate at playing 'themselves' on film, Jordan explains: "Bront understands the concept of film perfectly, and he is not afraid to play a caricature of himself."

Interestingly, Jordan, who is of Malay-Chinese parentage, never wanted to be a filmmaker when he was young, instead wanting a career in music.

He plays five musical instruments, and was even a member of an alternative rock band.

Jordan's interest in film began when he was pursuing a degree in Business IT. He watched the classic Japanese animated film Princess Monoke, directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

Jordan was fascinated by how well the story was told, and the fact that the film did not have an antagonist.

"Everyone in the film just had their own agenda," he says.

This film created a desire in him to be a story teller. He developed an interest in animation, and eventually joined the film industry.

Today, Jordan has credits in eight Malaysian films as a visual effects supervisor, and is the co-founder and creative director of the production house Studio Voxel.

His 2009 short film Rojak! was officially selected for over 10 international film festivals, including the Busan International Film Festival, and the Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival in France.

Despite his years of experience, Jordan took his time before trying his hand at directing a feature film.

He explains: "I am the kind of person who likes to wait and gain knowledge before I sit in the director's chair."

Jordan also has his eye on making a name for himself in the international scene.

Last year, he worked as a visual effects supervisor for the straight-to-DVD Hollywood disaster movie Destruction Los Angeles.

"I had to stay in Los Angeles for two months to complete the film," Jordan recalls.

During that period, he interacted with others who had plenty of experience working behind the camera in Hollywood, which helped him improve his own skills.

Jordan also revealed that he is in negotiations with a Hollywood production company, to produce another film.