Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Cathay Classics Revisited

Cathay-Keris Films has sold the distribution rights for 230 of its Chinese and Malay classic titles in its library to Malaysian company, Variety View Sdn Bhd. The distribution deal of close to USD1 million allows Variety View the rights to screen the 230 Cathay-Keris classic titles in cinemas, free TV, pay TV, on DVD and other distribution modes worldwide.

This will see the revival of such classic titles as Mambo Girl, Wild Wild Rose, Sun Moon Star, Her Tender Heart, Dang Anom, Hang Jebat, Sumpah Pontianak, Orang Minyak and many more.

The Cathay-Keris Classics’ films were produced between 1953 to 1974. The 1950s and
1960s were the golden age of film production for Cathay Organisation’s Malay film studios Cathay-Keris Film’s (CKF) in Singapore and its Chinese film production studios in Hong Kong, Motion Picture & General Investments (MP & GI).

Some 350 films were produced by CKF and MP & GI in a variety of genres ranging from
romance, comedy, period drama, suspense to musicals Stars such as Grace Chang, Lin
Tsui, Ye Fung, Peter Chen Ho, You Min, Chang Yang, Lin Dai, Maria Menado, Wahid Satay, Rose Yatimah, Ummi Kalthoum, Latifah Omar, Siput Sarawak & S Roomai Noor were household names in the region.

Cathay Organisation embarked on a programme to ensure that these classics will be
available for generations to come and digitally re-mastered most of its films to European broadcast standards. Sadly, some titles could not be saved despite the technology of today and some, like the original two Pontianak movies, have long been lost.

Says Suhaimi Rafdi, President of Business Operations, Cathay Organisation Holdings Ltd, “We are delighted to be collaborating with Variety View on distribution rights. This allows a whole new generation to watch these classic films that were so popular in the 1950s and 1960s which truly was a golden era of film production for Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.” says Suhaimi Rafdi, President of Business Operations, Cathay Organisation Holdings

“The Cathay-Keris’ Classic titles may be considered, for this region, equivalent to the great Hollywood vintage movies. In fact, some of our titles have great potential to be re-made, similar to what has been done with some Hollywood classics and closer to home, Pontianak & Puteri Gunong Ledang. Through this distribution collaboration, we hope to inject new life and interest to the Cathay Classics.“ said Mr Rafdi.

Ms Zohara Gany Mhd. Bathusha, Managing Director of Variety View Sdn Bhd says," We are
extremely excited to procure the rights to the 230 titles from the Cathay Classics library. We believe that there is tremendous demand and opportunities for such content in the region, if properly promoted and marketed. The movies are wholesome. They are full of cultural traits and good philosophical views. Film productions in those days were artistic tools to advise, educate and mould the character of the society. We have plans to revive the interests in these movies and content through new technology as well as traditional channels. We are pleased that Cathay Organisation shares our enthusiasm.”

Variety View Sdn Bhd has worldwide distribution rights for a period of five years, up till 2012.

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