Filmmakers’ dream: Malaysia offers stunning locations, great crews, amazing hospitality

Malaysia has the perfect mix of different backdrops, locations, and vistas – from lush forests to a landfill; a picturesque lake, to a football pitch.

The combination of various landscapes was featured prominently in Pernod Ricard’s latest commercial by Mumbai-based Fingerprint Films.

Central to the commercial is award-winning director David Edwards.

‘One For Our Planet’ delivered a compelling message about Ricard’s commitment to saving Mother Earth.

The 1 minute, 10-second commercial was shot entirely in Malaysia, thanks to the services of Kuala Lumpur-based, The Tankers.

Edwards shares his views about shooting the commercial in the Southeast Asian nation.


What inspired you to shoot in Malaysia?

David Edwards (DE): We looked at a number of film centres but picked Malaysia because of the locations that were sent (to us) very early in the pitching process. The technicians, crew, and my DP (director of photography) had shot a feature here (in Malaysia), so they know the locals well.
The services offered (by The Tankers) fitted our budget. Malaysia had locations in close enough proximity, which meant we didn’t have to split the shoot with travel days. Fingerprint Films also has a great relationship with The Tankers, which meant a lot of additional support through planning and access to equipment, among others.


What was it like filming in Malaysia – from the weather to the crew?

DE: At times, very hot and humid, especially when we were filming the dry lake scene. Thank God for air conditioning!

The crews were great and listened to exactly what I wanted. There were some frustrations with certain things not being perfect, but that’s the ‘director’s curse’ … it’s about problem-solving, and adapting to what’s in front of you. And that can, at times, be better than what you had imagined.


‘One For Our Planet’ focused on the environment, with many interesting landscapes showcased in the commercial. What were the challenges, if any, in getting the perfect shots?

DE: There are always challenges in any project, whether it’s trying to squeeze the most out of the schedule, or having the right kit. It’s also always about a bit of compromise. Some of the locations were very tricky and we spent many hours in a van!

Authenticity was crucial, but working on an enormous landfill, as you can imagine, isn’t the easiest of tasks. We were chasing the light at times, which is an added pressure when trying to get the perfect shot, as well as working with actors. Once the sun is gone, it’s gone.

One of the biggest challenges was again finding a location to run the horse, for real. We needed a flat terrain to run the horse at a particular speed, while giving the feeling that we were in a forest.



Will Malaysia continue to be your filming destination?

DE: Malaysia is a great place where nothing is too much of a bother; great crews, amazing hospitality, with people who genuinely care about the craft of filmmaking. It is definitely in my Top 5 list.


How would you describe your working relationship with The Tankers?

DE: Working with The Tankers was a real joy from start to finish. They welcomed both myself and my DP with open arms, and we instantly felt like a part of the family.

Their dedication to providing the very best service was amazing – impeccable support throughout the production, which I never take for granted when working in far-flung corners of the globe.