Epic could tempt international auds

$4 mil 'Ledang' marks first Malay foray into worldwide arena

KUALA LUMPUR — This summer, Malaysia will release its biggest production ever. Set for Aug. 31, the RM15 million ($3.9 million) “Princess of Mount Ledang” is not big by Hollywood standards, but it’s a big deal to the Malaysian movie industry.

Produced with talent and crew from Hong Kong, Australia, India, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines and Malaysia, the epic is a historical Malay-language period drama about love, adventure and national pride. Set in the late 15th century, film recounts the legendary tragic romance of a Majapahit (Indonesian) princess and the Malay warrior, Hang Tuah.

Pic’s producers are hoping it could be the first Malaysian movie to appeal to an international audience, especially in Europe and the U.S.

“We are confident that ‘Princess of Mount Ledang’ has potential to put Malaysia on the international moviemaking landscape,” says Shazalli Ramly, one of the producers with Tiara Jacquelina, who plays the title role of Puteri Gunung Ledang.

Pic’s director, Saw Teong Hin, makes his feature helming debut.

Helping the film gain international recognition via a sound network of distribution and promotion is Rossellini and Associates, a media company with worldwide connections. “This is the perfect vehicle to launch Malaysia’s first movie in the international arena,” topper Gil Rossellini says.

The producers are planning a soundtrack, books, collectibles and even a miniseries — a much more ambitious marketing program than usual for a local pic.