Behind the scenes of #happykch
WITH THE WHOLE world breaking out in dance to Pharell’s viral ‘Happy’ song, it didn’t take long for Malaysians to join the trend by making their own videos featuring local people and artistes singing and dancing to the hit song.
It seems that Pharell’s hit has also impacted this part of Borneo and thanks to local Kuching film-making crew, The Filmmakers Company, it won’t take long for Kuchingites to have our very own version of the video titled ‘Happy Kuching SHOUT OUT’.
Meet the filmmakers
Samuel Wong, 27, and Lydia Lau, 25, first met in Sibu half a year ago through a mutual friend. With similar interests in film-making, they became fast friends and Lydia found herself helping Samuel a lot in editing his film work. As soon as their work started to get some recognition, she then progressed towards producing and managing.
Today, director Samuel, who founded the Filmmakers Company in October 2012, and producer Lydia make up the company together with editor Koh Khai.
When they first started, Samuel and his team met a bunch of dancers from Soul Dance studio who were passionate about what they are doing and from whom they got the idea of collaborating together to shoot videos of dancers dancing.
Their first collaboration with Soul Dance studio was a one shot dance cover titled ‘Ringa Linga’. Other than the Soul Dance studio, they also worked on another dance video titled ‘The Jump Off’ with the Feasible Crew.
The idea of producing the Happy Kuching SHOUT OUT was originally thought up by Samuel and his crew after watching the Berlin version of ‘Happy’ a few months back and he thought it would be a good medium to unite various people from all walks of life in Kuching.
Samuel confessed that he listened to the song countless times and still found it fresh and new everytime he played it.
“When we saw Happy KL come out, I was like ‘I wish we had done it sooner’, but we just set foot to it and just do it,” he said.
Currently, The Filmmakers Company is targeting up to 200 people to participate in the video which is expected to continue filming until the end of April for mid-May release.
According to Lydia, the response from the public has been overwhelming as a lot of people have been approaching them wanting to appear in the video.
“We even got messages from Kuching people living abroad asking whether somehow they could join, but regretfully we had to turn them down since we are here in Kuching and we would like to have a unity of the whole style and quality of the video,” she said.
Surprisingly, Samuel says there are a lot of people in Kuching who love to dance and they are not even affiliated with any dance company or studios.
Shot around Kuching, the video has also attracted foreigners living here. Lydia said that just last week they were approached by three African students studying here in Kuching requesting to be a part of the video.
Different from what they usually do, the Happy Kuching SHOUT OUT video is rather unique because the production team gets to meet people of diverse backgrounds and listen to their own unique and personal stories which they also get the participants to share on film.
With the aim of spreading positive messages by making people believe in themselves, it is the company’s vision to create a platform for passionate individuals to be part of a creative process for them to experience, share and create.
Sharing his own personal experience, Samuel was previously a medical student studying in Moscow, but he quit during his fourth year in medical school so that he could focus on film-making.
Admittedly, he was engulfed with fear at first as he was afraid his family would never understand his choice but in the end, it was one of the best choices he ever made and he has never regretted it.
Lydia let fate and – in this case – her cousin decide what programme she should pursue in university. Today, a Unimas graduate in cinematography, when Lydia first took that course, she had no idea what the course programme was about but eventually fell in love with it.
Over the last week, I have been fortunate enough that these guys let me tag along with them to see how the video was made and along the way I even managed to meet some Kuchingites who were clearly excited to be a part of making this highly-anticipated video.
“They said Kuching is boring, but I think otherwise.”
That is what Shane Liew said when asked what made him want to join in the making of the Happy Kuching dance video. He also said it was a good chance to join in this fun, upbeat and contagious video that makes the whole world feel happy!
The Dinosaur and the Unicorn
Girlfriend and boyfriend, Michelle Wong and Nathaniel Jeremiah Jaboh took a creative turn to express their happiness in the video by dancing in unicorn and dinosaur costumes.
“We thought it was a good idea to make use of the costumes instead of having them lying around,” they said.
The Passionate Dancer
Primapera Yudha has always been active in dancing and for him the Happy Kuching SHOUT OUT is a chance for him to show his moves and skills.
When asked his reason for joining the video, Primapera said, “Because I would like to be a part of the video and I also love the song.”
Filming of the Happy Kuching SHOUT OUT video will continue to the end of April and for those interested in joining check out The Filmmakers Company facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/filmmakersco
How ‘Happy’ first went viral
Last month on March 20, the whole world celebrated International Day of Happiness and even Pharell teamed up with the United Nation Foundation, the founder of this joyous day, by encouraging his fans to post YouTube videos of themselves displaying their happiness to his ‘Happy’ song with the hashtag #HAPPYDAY and submitting it to his latest website 24 Hours of Happiness.
He also encouraged them to make donations to the Central Emergency Response Fund, a fund established according to the charity’s website, to “support critical aid operations for people affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts” and to “provide fast and reliable humanitarian assistance.”
In a recent interview with Oprah, Pharell was moved to tears after he was shown a video of how his hit, ‘Happy’ had influenced people all over the world.