Director of Photography's Post - BACK FROM BINTAN

We recently arrived to Singapore from the set of Basil's film, our first international production this year. It was a truly rewarding and humbling experience that I know none of us will ever forget. Unfortunately, these pictures only give a glimpse of just how lovely the people and our surroundings were. But just wait for the film...

The boys of Kawal chivalrously rescued our sound reports from sinking into the ocean and taught us a couple of phrases in Bahasa: SELAMAT PAGI (Good Morning), APA KABAR (How Are You?), BAGUS (Good), TERIMA KASIH (Thank You), SELAMAT TINGGAL (Goodbye).

The Squat Team:

Basil Mironer - Director
Alexa Caravia - Director of Photography
Nicolas Pacheco - On-site Editor
Eric Elofson - First Assistant Camera
Shivani Khattar - Assistant Director / Producer
Rene Pannevis - Sound Man (Gone Fishing)
J.C. Crump - Producer (Gone Fishing)
Gu 'Chili' Qiao - Script Supervisor / Stills Photographer (Doing Her Job)

Rene, Eric and Alexa sit with the villagers of Kawal, three of whom are wearing "Weird Fish" T-Shirts! We miss them, but we'll all be heading back to Bintan in April for the premiere of Basil's film, which I know we're all equally excited about.


Director's Post - Pre Production Trip 3

Hello Investors and Friends!!!

JC and I just got back from our final pre-production trip. It was a great weekend, and we are ready to hustle.

During this trip, we needed to interview and decide on the Lead Cast, finalize the production schedule, start on wardrobe and props and extra equipment search.

We started with our "Search for Delisha".

Sapril and Ucok took us across the water to a neighboring coastline village where Roby and his family lives. We decided to search for the mother character there.

Coastline Village

Sapril and I on the boat over

We stumbled upon a wedding, and Sapril was very kind to suggest that we look for women that we like in the crowd.

Me and JC with groom and bride.

At the end, we interviewed two who we liked, IAH and ZABIAH. Roby came back from school around the time of Iah's audition so we did some acting exercises with the two of them.

IAH (Sony Ex1 Still)

It felt good to get on my feet and start working with actors/nonactors. One of the big challenges this time though is working in a foreign language. Sapril and I have been figuring out the quickest and most honest way for me to communicate with the actors through him. It has been fun and challenging.

We invited Iah, Zabiah, and Roby for callbacks the next day.

Later that afternoon Sapril, JC, and I left for the fishing village of Kawal to check on the house that Rene (Art Director) would be decorating. We also scouted the new location for the restaurant scene and boat junk part area.

Character's house in kawal at low tide. (SONY EX1 still)

Me walking on planks of wood high above the ground - notice the kids.

Wide shot of coastline. (SONY EX1 still)

That night JC and I went to a hotel where he did scheduling and insurance work. JC is very proud of our paper work and receipt trail. We are very lucky to have a producer as knowledgeable as JC about producing internationally on our team. Meanwhile, I worked on the acting exercises that I would run with the actors the following morning.

The next day Sapril picked us up and we dropped JC off at the local office. JC stayed and continued working on the schedule while Sapril and I went to Rivud's house to meet with him again and see what things from his home we could use to re-create the house where his character lives in Kawal.

As always Rivud and his family were extremely welcoming and warm.

Rivud Wardrobe Front

Rivud Wardrobe Back

Wife's Clothes

Prayer mat

After a pleasant hour with Rivud and some Bird's Nest Drink and cookies, Sapril and I headed back to the office so I could begin working with Iah, Zabiah, and Roby. Rivud joined us a few hours later for the final round of acting exercises so we could see how everyone gelled.

It took almost 3 hours of work to decide between Iah and Zabiah. We are very thankful that Zabiah took her time to work with us but in the end we cast Iah.

Roby and Zabiah

Roby did brilliantly and even sold the performance of playing dead while Iah and Zabiah were crying and screaming on his body.

Iah cries over Roby's body

Roby plays dead

We hadn't seen Rivud act until he arrived but he did amazing and played drunk very convincingly. At one moment, I was watched him retaliate towards Iah, and you could see the rage in his eyes while never losing his physical drunk interpretation.

Rivud Playing Drunk

I was impressed, relieved, excited, and as always when I am in Bintan - smiling.

A big thank you to Sapril as my Interpreter. It has been a pleasure working with his so far and we are excited about the collaboration.


Final Cast: Iah, Roby, Rivud

Cast with Basil and JC

The last hour was spent with Sapril and JC going over the schedule and then JC and I headed back to Singapore.

This is my the last director's post because we leave for production in two days. We will continue with the posts after principle photography.

Thank you for reading and your support.

I will leave you with a few more from the beautiful village of Kawal, and then a photo of me struggling.

(Sony Ex1 Still)

(Sony Ex1 Still)

(Sony EX1 still)
Basil Mironer, Director

Director's Post - Pre Production Trip 2

Hello Investors and Friends!!!

On September 19, 2008 we set out again for Bintan, Indonesia. This was our second pre-production trip.

The first goal of the trip was to start casting the Lead fisherman character as well as the Lead Mother and Son.

The second goal of the trip was to do some camera tests for the Sony Ex1 camera that we have chosen for principle photography.

This time we brought Alexa, the Director of Photography. It's priceless to see people's faces when they get their first glimpse of Tanjong Pinang and Kawal. Alexa was grinning ear to ear; and I will admit that I was grinning as wide as the first time.

The people, culture, and beauty are really one of a kind.

I was initially very concerned about trying to find a man in his 50's - 60's that would be able give his time for rehearsals and 12 hour work days for a full week. On top of that, even if we found men willing to do that, it didn't mean that they would be right for the role. So, the search began.

Now.... ever since that first weekend in Bintan - I had this feeling that is hard to describe.

When you relax and take in the environment you feel this energy running through its people and places. Everyone is genuinely happy and when it rains they don't run for cover but instead enjoy the way it feels on their skin. And that's life.

This second trip - I knew it. This place was a going to be magical for us, and we are lucky to find it and for it to have found us.

An hour later me, JC, Alexa, Ucok, and Sapril arrived at a house somewhere in the middle of many small winding alleys.

There we met Rivud, a 68 year old man. We talked for an hour with the help of Sapril who is my interpreter. This included many questions, playing a few games to analyze psychology, him singing to us, discussion of the script and life-death-nature-acting-love-etc-etc-etc.

I stepped outside for a fresh of breath air, shaking a little. We would keep searching just in case but my gut was jumping around screaming at the sky in excitement - YES!

For the rest of the day we did camera tests in Kawal. JC at the time was constantly working on taking location and transport photos for our insurance company.

Crew Boat

Floating Kalong

The next morning Alexa continued with camera tests.
Sapril, JC, and I went on a hunt for one more location I had written into the script. After a 30 minute hike along the coast we found what we were looking for.

New Location - Jetty

Me and Sapril

Then in the afternoon, we interviewed a few potential mothers and two boys. In my mind, the mother character was a bit fuzzy at the time since I was constantly rewriting the script at the time. Although the women we interviewed were nice, they didn't jump at me as possibilities.

From the two boys we interviewed I preferred one. His name is Roby - 10 years old. We did a few directing exercises to see how he would behave and play on camera. I wasn't completely sure but his smile is golden and lights up the room. We decided to see him again next time we would come.

That late afternoon we got on the boat and headed back to Singapore. JC, Alexa, and I stood sided by side looking over the railing at the sun setting over Bintan. For a while, we stood in silence looking out at the slowly disappearing coastline..... and we just smiled. (That part didn't really happen but I'm kinda tired and it was fun to write).

Thanks for reading!!!!


Producer's Post - Location Scout #1

Hello Investors and Friends!

WOW- What a breathtaking location scout to Bintan. Bintan is a popular Beach Resort destination for Singaporeans and tourist from around the world. It’s known for its miles and miles of beachfront, tranquil waters, and a warm and welcoming resort staff.

It is extremely rare for travelers to venture past the beautiful resort community, and close to unheard of for western filmmakers to bypass the amenities of the island in search of a more traditional rural lifestyle. Upon our arrival at Bandar Bentan Telani (BBT) Ferry Terminal, Terminal Manager Rusli Mahmood took more then a sincere interest in our inquiries of a local fishing village he became one of the chief administrators in organizing our excursion to Kawal, a secluded fishing village on the eastern coast of Bintan island. Kawal is adjacent to Trikora Beach, labeled on the below map image. This was the beginning of our journey in Bintan where on every corner we were met with hospitality and courtesy.

Alternative Ferry Route from Singapore to Bintan's capital city Tanjung Pinang. The BBT Ferry Terminal is a more effecient way to getting to our final destination, the fishing village of Kawal.

From L to R - Anon, JC, Rusli, Basil - having lunch at a local food center. Here we devised a game plan to survey the region and secure production locations.

Memed one of our five guides sits with Basil as he enjoys the local cuisine.

AFTER LUNCH Rusli arranged for us to travel south to the capital city of Tanjung Pinang where we met with the Director of Bintan Tourism Sapril Sembiring, from there it was amazing how our script, our vision, our production came to life. As producer on the film I feel it is my responsibility to provide the necessary location, equipment and environment for my director to surpass his own expectations. With the support of Sapril and Bintan Tourism there is no doubt that we will redefine filming in this region.

Driving through Tanjung Pinang to the village of Kawal.

FROM A PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT perspective one of the clear challenges of this amazing location was the weather conditions. Sapril advised us of the local monsoon season arriving in November 2008 and continuing through March 2009. Although WEIRD FISH calls for several rain scenarios, we cannot afford for our production to stall for more then 24-hours. We are currently in the process of fast tracking WEIRD FISH, moving the start production date from December 15th, 2008 to a 5-7 day period between October 27th and November 9th, 2008. This will be solidified by the end of the week.

Even scattered rain in August can drastically change conditions on the island Bintan. Production concern #1.

A local fisherman is unable to work due to poor weather conditions.


Basil took several photographs documenting the environment that he intends to capture on film. Watching him photograph the village I observed both his enthusiasm for the project and his attention to detail.

Kawal felt like a Universal Studios back lot built especially for our production.

Unable to fish, villagers attend to the maintenance on their homes positioned on stilts above the water.


I would like to end this report by expressing my sincere gratitude to the villagers, the artist community and local government of Bintan. We were fortunate enough to take part in several of Bintan’s National Day celebrations held one week prior to Bintan’s National Day August 17th and one week after. We were able to meet several local filmmakers and artist and gain their support for our project. We attended a stunning display of young performance arts at the Gawai Seni VI (Arts Event VI) celebration were Basil and myself were privileged to meet the Mayor of Tanjung Pinang Ms. Suryatati A. Manan.

The following day lighting struck twice and we were fortunate to meet the Bintan Head of Regency Mr. Ansar Ahmad.

Their acknowledgement and support for our project has convinced me that our production, despite any obstacles, will be successful.

Youth performers at Gawai Seni VI (Arts Event VI) celebration.

Local Filmmaker/Director Fai and Basil pose for a picture at the outdoor screening of Fai's latest film Are Nak jadi Kampong Kite (What Will Happen In Our Village)?

H. Nai Marsu, a member of Parliment, takes Sapril (front), Basil and myself (rear) for a ride in his 4 wheel jeep. His car was a indeed a special attaction at the Water Events National Day Celebration.

THANK YOU for participating in our Blog. Please check in with us soon for weekly updates.

CASTING REPORT - coming soon...


Director’s Location Scout Report #1


JC and I just got back from Bintan and it was nothing short of astonishing.

I can probably rant for hours on our 2 day / 1 night experience but I will concentrate strictly on the locations we found and secured.

JC will be following up with a post about the synopsis of our trip – including the many amazing people we met, the help we received, and our blooming relationship with the tourist department and government of Bintan.

Before I continue, I would like to say one thing - The people of Bintan never stopped smiling. I am in awe of their disposition and I am honored to be able to shoot Weird Fish (Ikan Langka) on their island.


When I was going through drafts of this script I was writing with a visual image in my mind.
Huts, faces, costumes, water, fish, boats, sky, props, etc etc etc......

To tell you the truth I was scared after I had written the first draft. I thought...


Without divulging too much information – let’s just say the location scout exceeded my expectations. We found all the locations I had in mind and more. In addition we have established an infrastructure there that will facilitate the film production.


There are three main areas of shooting all within 3 km of each other. Each is more beautiful then the next and teeming with culture and life.

JC and I each took about 500 photos, so as not to make you salivate I will post 15 of my 500.

These are purely location photos – and for the most part exclude the locals. Look forward to JC’s post for a more insightful look into the wonderful people of Bintan.

Teluk Bakau


Portable Kalong (house of main lead)

Along one of the village bridges (about 1/2 km out)

A glimpse of the fishing village on-water structure

Mouth of the River

Wide with long cement pier and Kalong.

Coconut Cemetery Forest

Burned coconut tree stumps next to cemetery.

Muslim graves.

Burned stumps and coconuts, graves in background.

Kawal Fishing Village

Fishing huts on stilts.

Some Chinese fisherman relaxing on the water.

Kawal houses and boats.

Kawal house on stilts with one in background.

Big fishing boat in Kawal.

Early morning.


There are of course tons of photos but this gives a general overview. Look forward to JC's post.

I would like to thank Sapril, our guide and translator, as well as Ucok our driver. Thank you for helping us this weekend. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Ucok (left), Sapril (right)

Thank you for reading!!!

Basil Mironer (writer/director)