|George Town, 18 JUN 2018- IF ONLY her parents will stop arguing. If only her mother can see that she loves art more than biology. If only she can kill herself.|
By taking a poignant Indie song about resilience in the face of adversity, a team of students created a music video that depicts the harsh realities and dissonance that school students may face as they struggle to prepare for their future.
Their work won the Best Music Video Award at the Asian Youth Indie Film Festival 2018 (AYIFF 2018), organized in April by the School of Creative Industry Management and Performing Arts, Universiti Utara Malaysia.
The music video is based on the 2012 song, ‘King’, by Indie singer and songwriter Lauren Aquilina from England.
The tale begins with the lead character, a Plain Jane girl, being tormented by the screaming of her parents as they argue at home. She is also bullied by her schoolmates and berated by her teacher for getting an F in Biology, which sends her mother screaming at her yet again.
Then she meets a friend who admires her doodling and they form a close friendship based on their mutual love for art. But her mother strongly disapproves of her creative passion. Her failure at school, coupled with tensions at home, drives the girl to self-harm, cutting her wrist with a blade and eventually attempting to commit suicide by stepping onto a busy road.
But she is saved by her friend. That becomes her wake up call and she puts effort into her studies, eventually bagging an A in Biology. Fast forward three years later, the girl makes it into KDU Penang University College and earns her diploma in mass communication, scars on her wrist notwithstanding.
Though the KDU Penang team won the award against 176 short films, documentaries, music videos and public service announcement submissions from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, India and the Philippines, they, initially, were not gunning for it.
“It was just another campus assignment for us. It was only coincidental that we picked an Indie song and that fit right into the festival’s criteria. Our lecturer chanced upon the festival and urged us to submit our work,” said the team’s assistant director Bea Jia Hui, who is also the director of photography and editor of production crew.
Bea said they named their team Yellow Submarine and all of them were on their second year in pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Media Production in KDU Penang, which is a dual award validated by University of Lincoln, United Kingdom, along with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Communication and Public Relations. She said song was proposed by crew director Melissa Lim while the lead actress was Tang Sze Khey, who doubled as the props manager.
Many of the scenes in the music video step away from the usual glam. In one scene, where Tang vocalizes the song, the lighting reveals all her facial flaws – zits and all. Bea said this was done to highlight her vulnerability. “It wouldn’t do to apply cosmetics to hide the imperfections; we wanted to show that she is exposed and hurt,” she added.
Though the lead character excelled in art, Bea said her team decided to depict her eventually acing her Biology paper instead of changing her study stream towards her passion to promote how people should overcome their weaknesses and focus on doing what needs to be done.
“We didn’t want to show the character abandoning a task just because it was difficult. It is not the outside that we must change. It is what is inside us that we have to change to become better people,” Bea said.
Asked if the music video was inspired by real life events of the team members, Bea said no with a laugh. “We are quite happy and enjoying our lives as students in KDU Penang. None of us are suicidal or anything,” she chuckled.
There are no exams for mass communication students on the campus, and the student’s academic performance are gauged entirely on the projects they complete.
This high-impact learning method will be continued when KDU Penang opens its flagship campus in Metropolis Batu Kawan. Due to be completed this year, this 10-acre campus will incorporate a feeling of openness, with buildings surrounded by opulent greens and spaces.
For more on mass communication courses at KDU Penang, call 04-2386368 or visit www.kdupg.edu.my.