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Featured Filmmaker: Al Mundir

An interview with Al Mundir, a migrant activist in Malaysia and participant of our Crossroads project.

Name: Al Mundir (Muhammad Mundir)

Age: 29

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Current activity: Studying Civil Law and religious teaching at Pesantren Internasional Migran (Majlis Ta’lim Irsyaddul Mundzir) in Klang, Selangor, Malaysia.

EngageMedia (EM): How did you get involved in making video?

Al Mundir (AM): I’ve always been interested in making or editing video, but was self-taught. Then came an opportunity from EngageMedia to participate in a series of video advocacy training sessions called Cerita Buruh Migran in Malaysia. I was first trained in 2012 by Dhyta Caturani and Yerry Borang. However it was a short programme with time constraints. I then participated in the second series of training sessions, Crossroads, with Seelan Palay.

I learned a lot from my facilitators. Alhamdulillah, I am now able to make advocacy videos in the form of news reports, religious classes, music videos, promotional videos and many others. I have made nearly 50 videos after my second set of trainings from EngageMedia.

EM: What made you interested in video as a medium?

AM: Nowadays with the advancement of technology, most people use social media such as Facebook and Youtube, etc. With video, we can easily share what we want to do or say. And the public can understand video more easily than traditional media such as newspapers, letters, reports and so on.

There are some attractive elements in video. Watching video gives a sense of being there in the scene with the character, knowing the real situation and information that can be used as evidence to address certain issues. That’s why with video, the aim of advocacy can be more easily achieved.

EM: Which of your videos are included in the Crossroads toolkit and which is your favourite?

AM: My video in Crossroads compilation include the Crossroads TrailerCupin Cerita: Ayam Pun DengarPesantren Internasional Migran (produced with citizen journalist Imran Hilmy), and the music video, Lagu Perantauan.

My favorite is Lagu Perantauan (Song of a Foreign Land), which is based on my experiences after I came to Malaysia. Here, I met migrants workers from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan and other nations who have all tried to find work so their families back home can have a decent life. In Malaysia, they have to work and help one another to tackle every problem they face and that’s what the song and video expresses.

EM: Tell us about the process of making videos for Crossroads?

AM: The Crossroads project was conducted over around seven months. With meetings held once a week, we really need lots of stamina. Faced with many challenges such as time, many couldn’t follow the programme all the way through. But with persistence and determination, I tried to continue to come to every meeting. I even cancelled my return to Indonesia for the sake of this training. Alhamdulillah, with sincere intentions, I hope I’ve been able to contribute something to international migrants, particularly migrants in Malaysia.

EM: What do you think is the way forward for migrant worker movements?

AM: I think that as migrant workers, we have to unite and help each other to confront many problems. With associations or unions, we can share experiences and information that is important to migrants so that we can be bigger and stronger to find solutions to our problems.

EM: How do you plan to make further videos with Crossroads, and what means can you use to reach out to the audience?

AM: We will continue to make interesting videos on social issues which have not been raised in mainstream media. We know that many social problems occur in Malaysia, that the Indonesian goverment or even Indonesian embassy here don’t know about.

I will also continue to write my songs about social issues. I already have seven songs now ready for production on topics such as the lives of migrant workers in Malaysia, peace in Palestine, and other political issues.

Along with the various forms of advocacy videos that I make, I also want to produce music videos that can make it easier for people to understand the way to positive social change. Also, we are planning to make more news coverage videos from Malaysia for broadcast in Indonesia.

Watch all the videos from the Crossroads project here.

If you know of any interesting filmmakers around the Asia Pacific that you’d like to see featured on, write to us today!