When Pete Teo approached me to do one of the 15Malaysia shorts, the first thought I had in mind was to shoot something in Kelantan. It has always seemed like a special state, even though I hadn't spent much time there. And, although I am not a PAS member, Tok Guru Nik Aziz immediately became the first candidate for interview.
(My review of a book related to him is here. With a further addendum here, since it's dangerous to think that any politician is perfect!)
After just a bit of emailing with his staff, we were granted a casual interview in his office. I had told him to explicate a hadith on the economy, and he chose this one.
The visual backdrop for most of it is Kota Bahru's Pasar Siti Khatijah, a market run primarily by women, an interesting contrast to the more patriarchal image of Islam.
It's really something short and simple. It's probably the least ironic thing I have made -- except for my cameo perhaps. It occurred to me that a hadith is actually like a short film; it can be seen as merely an anecdote, but can be teased out and expanded more if your heart is open to it. Or you can just say: "I don't understand" and get on with your life; that's cool, too.
This modest short was also my chance to work with some of my favourite people, all of whom had shot with me before: Hardesh Singh (The Big Durian, Lelaki Komunis Terakhir, Tokyo Magic Hour, Susuk, Apa Khabar Orang Kampung) on sound; Shan (Malaysian Gods) on camera, Danny Lim (The Big Durian, Apa Khabar Orang Kampung) on still camera, and Azharr Rudin (The Year of Living Vicariously, Lelaki Komunis Terakhir) as editor.