Tuesday 25 September 2012

Anti-S’gor propaganda film in the making? - Leven Woon

The director says she’s shooting a public service announcement on water conservation.

PETALING JAYA: A local film production company is carrying out an apparently secret project to discredit the Selangor government.

A FMT reporter this morning observed a crew from Reservoir Productions shooting scenes at the Happy Mansion flats, where about 200 actors were asked to carry water buckets and complain about the hot weather while lining up alongside a water truck.

Happy Mansion resident Dr S Paramananthan claimed the flats were being used for the filming of a commercial aiming to highlight an alleged water crisis in Selangor.

Sources told FMT that Reservoir Productions had hired 300 extras, including the flat residents, at RM50 per day.

“Act as if you are frustrated,” a member of the filming crew told the bucket-carrying extras as the camera rolled. They were also told to make a collective desperate-sounding scream.

There was also a two-man team snapping still images. One of them told FMT these were for a print advertisement.

The producer, who chose to remain anonymous, said the filming was for a public service announcement on water conservation.

She would not identify her client or give any other detail of the project.

Asked why her crew was shooting only scenes depicting water shortage and none about water saving, she said: “Sorry, I cannot say anything. There is a contract between the company and the client. We cannot reveal anything about the project until it is screened.”

Paramananthan said he suspected that the project was part of a smear campaign against the Selangor government.

“If they want to do a commercial about water conservation, they should show how people are wasting water,” he said.

“By doing this at our flats, it gives an impression that there is not enough water in these three blocks.
“But in fact, we’ve never had a water problem.”

Free water

He also said the flat residents had been getting their first 20 cubic metres of water free every month.
A representative of Happy Mansion’s Joint Management Board, who wished to be known only as Andrew, said he was told “this is a government project”.

He said he did not know the details of the project and approved it to raise funds for the board.
“I didn’t expect it to be on such a big-scale,” he said. “It is kind of disturbing to the residents.”

The extras were apparently kept in the dark about the subject of the commercial. Many of them told FMT they were participating only for the money.

Yuri Yap said she saw the hiring notice through a website offering part time jobs. Another extra, Lok Kian Long, said he learnt of it from a friend on Facebook.

The federal government has been warning of a possible water crisis in Selangor should the state government block the construction of the Langat 2 water treatment plant.

The state, on the other hand, has been making assurances that a water shortage will not happen in the near future. It has been insisting on a restructure of the water industry.

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