New man at the helm

Actor, producer and director Datuk Hans Isaac takes over as chairman of Finas for a two-year term

18 Apr 2019 / 10:21 H.

FINAS (the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia) has a new chairman, and he is none other than actor, producer and director Datuk Hans Isaac.

His appointment to Finas –established in June 1981 to uplift and nurture the development of the Malaysian film industry – was announced by Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo in a statement on April 10.

Hans will chair Finas for a two-year term effective from April 8.

The 47-year-old started his career as a model before turning to acting.

His first role was in director Shuhaimi Baba’s 1995 film Ringgit Kasorrga.

He went on to become a director and producer, establishing his own company, Tall Order Sdn Bhd, in 2000.

He has also produced several successful musical theatre productions.

We met up with Hans after his first day at work at Finas on April 11.

Tell us about your first day.

“The experience was surreal and overwhelming. In the past, I have come to Finas as an actor, a director and a producer. I never imagined that one day I would be the chairman of Finas.”

What are your plans for Finas?

“The board has 15 [goals] to achieve. But I do not want to reveal all our agendas today.

“I do not just want to make promises. I want to execute the plans first. I want to get the job done. Once we get results, we will talk to the press.

“The only thing I am willing to reveal now is that we are trying to introduce EPF (Employees’ Provident Fund) and Socso (Social Security Organisation) contribution schemes for freelance actors and everyone in the production crew, including make-up artists, runners, drivers and wardrobe attendants who work night and day.

“Finas is going to meet up with the management of television stations and freelance production houses to discuss this matter.

“We have heard many cases of people in the industry who are not covered by insurance, and artistes who are suffering in their old age without money.

“We want people who work in the industry to feel secure about their future. Only when you feel secure about your future, will you be more motivated to produce quality work.”

You only have two years as the chairman. Do you feel pressured or afraid?

“I am afraid, but I like to be afraid. I performed my best when I am afraid.

“But I do not feel pressured. I have done harder things in life. I will admit it is a difficult mountain to climb. If I achieve half of the [goals], I will be a happy man.”

As the owner of a production house, people might feel you would be biased towards your company regarding Finas grants.

“I have relinquished all my positions in Tall Order. I am no longer running it, at least for the next two years.

“I have given strict instructions to everyone in Finas that they should ignore any request from Tall Order. There should not be any link between Tall Order and Finas.

“I will also not act, produce or direct anything for the next two years. I will miss doing them, but that is the decision I have taken.

“Finas also runs the Malaysian Film Festival Awards show, and if I act in a film, some might complain if the film were to be nominated for any category.

“In fact, I have also relinquished positions I hold on the board of directors of some companies which have nothing to do with films.

“I want a clean slate with Finas. I want people to trust me. Trust will only come if you are clean.”

How do you plan to stop people accusing you of bias when it comes to grants.

“I have been in this industry for 25 years. It is impossible not to make friends with the people I work with.

“But there are committees which are in charge of grants. If I have a personal link with anyone seeking funds, I will not sit in that committee. I will not be making the decision.

“My friends will have to win the grants on their own merit. I am not going to do anyone any favours.

“If they are angry with me, then they are not my friends (laughs).

“Like I said earlier, you can only win trust when you are clean.”

Are you going to discriminate against your ‘enemies’ in the industy?

Some of us get along and some of us don’t. That is normal in the industry.

“But I do not keep grudges ... or go on a witch hunt and punish those who don’t like me. I have been friends with people who I’ve disagreed with and had arguments with.

“There is no political agenda in Finas. In the end, I want the best for the industry.”

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