KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — Growing up watching Captain Tsubasa, a popular Japanese cartoon about football, Wong Kuan Loong wondered if he could create something like that for the local market. Well, after two years of effort and teamwork, Ah Loong (as he is more popularly known), chief operating officer of Animasia Studio Sdn Bhd and film director, finally created a full-length animation film Bola Kampung based on the hit 2D animation TV series of the same name.
Using advanced Computer Graphics Images (CGI) technology, and an improved storyline to capture a wider audience, the MSC Malaysia-status company injected depth into the beloved TV series and transformed it into a film.
It has been six years since Bola Kampung was introduced to local television audiences and its success has spread throughout the region and beyond. Today it is viewed in more than 16 countries including Turkey, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The cartoon about football-crazy kampung boys has aired on Disney Channel Asia and Cartoon Network Asia, two of the largest international cartoon broadcasters in the world.
Featuring a stellar cast of celebrity voice talents — Ezlynn, Afdlin Shauki, Harris Alif, Aznil Nawawi, Douglas Lim, Deanna Yusoff and more — the movie boasts the best talents in the country.
The cast for the movie is different from the TV series because Animasia wanted more people involved in the project and the all-star cast gives leverage in terms of publicity and tapping into the existing fan base.
Animasia Studio Sdn Bhd also teamed up with Young Jump Animation, Noisy Bunch studio and Imaginex to make Bola Kampung, The Movie happen.
“With the release of Bola Kampung, The Movie, we hope to elevate the standards of our local animation production, as well as to bring international interest and awareness to Malaysia, our culture and stories,” said Edmund Chan, managing director of Animasia Studio Sdn Bhd.
“Producing and managing the movie was not an easy task as we don’t have the budget of studios like Pixar or Dreamworks but we did it,” added Chan.
The RM6 million project is supported by Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC), Finas and MDeC. Chan hopes to make RM10 million from the movie; Animasia has plans to air the movie in Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines after Malaysia. The film is expected to air during the year-end school holidays.
“Racial harmony is one recipe we want to maintain in the movie and the TV series. Different races getting together to do something and achieve something together, that is what we want to do,” said Chan on the multiracial Malaysian characters of Bola Kampung.
Everyone in the cast who was approached to play a part in the movie agreed immediately.
“Bola Kampung is about semangat 1 Malaysia. It brings back childhood memories of cartoons and it shows how life is in a kampung,” said Aznil Nawawi who voices the villain Lord Vilus. The renowned TV host has voice acted in the Bahasa Malaysia version of international animations such as Robots and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
“It has always been my dream to be a cartoon character. My favourite cartoon while growing up was Care Bears and I always wanted to say ‘Care Bear Stare!’ I think this movie will make a good experience for our Malaysian kids, to show that we can do this in Malaysia as well,” said Dilly Shakir, MIX FM’s DJ who was a voice talent in Bola Kampung.