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)


Master Class with Joshua Marston

August 25 - 30, is an important week for Weird Fish at TSOAA (Tisch Asia).

The script will go through first stage bootcamp and critique from various writers and directors. This will allow for crucial changes to be made and ensure that the quality of the story is developing. STORY STORY STORY.

Joshua Marston, the director of Maria Full of Grace, will be teaching a masters class on August 27th. Maria Full of Grace

Eric Khoo, a local Singaporean director will screen his film My Magic, and teach a masters class on August 30th. Eric Khoo

August 22, 2008 - WELCOME!

Hello Investors, Fans, and Friends.

Singapore is humid as always and I am very excited to be back and in full filmmaker mode.

This Blog is your way to stay updated and keep track of pre-production, principal photography, and post production. Look forward to photos, insights, and a behind the scenes look into film production in South East Asia.

This weekend JC (producer) and I are heading to Bintan to search for possible shooting locations and extras.

Welcome to Bintan
WIKI - Bintan

Bintan is a small island in Indonesia that is a mere 45 minute boat ride from Singapore. One side of the island is covered by the many resorts and caters to Singaporeans trying to get away for a weekend.

The other end of the island, and our primary interest for location scouting, is populated with fishing villages and friendly locals.

Stay tuned for photo updates from the first location scouting.

Wishing all the best - and with much excitement -

Basil Mironer