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Reel life brothers

Two siblings grew up with a shared love for moving images, and boldly decided to pursue that passion together as filmmakers

10 Jun 2021 / 12:14 H.

BROTHERS make the best friends. Iskander and Feisal Azizuddin are walking examples of this endearing saying.

Eleven years ago, they decided to leave stable jobs and invest their energy into making their childhood dream a reality.

In 2010, they set up a production house, Feisk Sdn Bhd, and became professional filmmakers.

Iskander had been in the banking industry for five years while Feisal was an audio engineer for less than a year.

“When we were growing up, we were fascinated with video cameras,“ said 36-year-old Iskander.

“Unfortunately, the gadget was a little too expensive for us.”

Iskander left his stable to pursue his dream to be a film-maker.– Sunpix by Amirul Syafiq Mohd Din
Iskander left his stable to pursue his dream to be a film-maker.– Sunpix by Amirul Syafiq Mohd Din

Creatively, the brothers cut a video camera image from a magazine and put it on cardboard and pretended they were shooting some kind of visuals.

But years later, their parents managed to get them a real video camera and they began shooting actual moving images.

The career transition has not been an easy one.

“The first three months, we only ate bread and tuna,” said Iskander.

They started their career shooting wedding videos.

After two years on this beat, they shot their first television programme, Kampung Quest, a reality show that is similar to Survivor, where contestants go through gruelling tasks on every episode and are eliminated in the process.

Later, they progressed to short films. In 2017, they shot their first feature film about a lost tribe, Temenggor.

A scene from their first feature film Temenggor. – Picture courtesy of Feisk Sdn Bhd
A scene from their first feature film Temenggor. – Picture courtesy of Feisk Sdn Bhd

Unfortunately, the film did not get through the Censorship Board and the movie was not shown in local cinemas.

“I was totally devastated,” said 35-year-old Feisal, who had put his heart and soul into directing his first feature film.

But the brothers did not allow that setback to break their spirit and continued to work hard to make their dream come true.

They faced better luck with their second feature movie Suraya, a horror-thriller about a couple who encounter something supernatural while seeking shelter at a homestay during a thunderstorm. The movie received rave reviews.

The duo have just finished shooting their fifth feature film Ceroboh, that features a group of youngsters who get caught in a dystopian world where one of them gets possessed. The film will hit cinemas at the end of the year.

They are now set to start shooting their sixth feature film soon, titled The Land is Mine.

“It will be a creature feature film,” said Feisal. The film is about a group of trekkers on a jungle expedition who have the adventure of their lives when they intrude upon the creature’s lair.

A scene from horror thriller Suraya. – Picture courtesy of Feisk Sdn Bhd
A scene from horror thriller Suraya. – Picture courtesy of Feisk Sdn Bhd

Last year, the brothers also managed to sell their banned first feature Temenggor to four international streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime.

So far, Iskander has played the role of producer in all their movies. This will soon change. If everything goes well, Iskander will be directing his feature film before the year ends.

Djin deals with a mother who loses her child and slowly, her depression leads her to the dark side, where she summons the devil.

“I am still writing the script,” said Iskander.

The brothers admit that working together has not always been a smooth sailing process.

“We are two different people and we have different opinions on how to run things. It is like a tug-of-war. But we learned to compromise. We give time and space to listen to each other,” said Iskander.

Feisal will be directing a creature feature film soon. – Sunpix by Amirul Syafiq Mohd Din
Feisal will be directing a creature feature film soon. – Sunpix by Amirul Syafiq Mohd Din

Feisal loves working with his brother as he admits he can be a little too ambitious and has grand plans beyond their resources.

“Iskandar always brings me down to earth,“ said Feisal.

Their struggle as filmmakers is far from over but the brothers have no regrets leaving their previous jobs.

“To be able to tell a good story on the screen is something we enjoy,” said Feisal.

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