What happens when two sisters, veterans in the Asian entertainment media industry with over 30 years' experience each, decide to launch a company? They take on the seemingly insurmountable challenge of remaking stories from the 50s and 60s.
I.E. Entertainment, a full-fledged media company founded by Indra and Erlina Suharjono, launched on April 8th. Constituting both sisters' initials, I.E. Entertainment will cover activities in content development, production, marketing and distribution. Indra and Erlina's professional experience span more than 60 years between them. Due to the complementary nature of their expertise and unparalleled networks, it gives the company leverage in creating the next generation of Asian film and television for the rest of the world.
The company is also expected to work with Asian filmmakers and production studios to create fresh slates of content that speak to audiences in and out of Asia and will handle licensing and merchandising for live-action and animation content. I.E. Entertainment kickstarts a re-development project with Cathay-Keris Chinese and Malay films from the '50s and '60s. The first 2 in the pipeline are Chinese classics, "Sun, Moon and Star Part 1 & 2" and "The Greatest Civil War On Earth".
For the record, "Sun, Moon and Star Part 1 & 2", recognized as Hong Kong's "Gone With The Wind", won the first Golden Horse Awards for "Best Drama Film", "Best Screenplay", "Best Actress" and "Best Cinematographer for Colour Film" in the 1960s. "The Greatest Civil War On Earth" was voted one of the ten most popular Cantonese and Mandarin films of 1961.
I.E. Entertainment acquired exclusive distribution and remake rights to the Cathay-Keris film catalogs, which house 166 Chinese and 91 Malay titles in various genres including comedy, drama and musicals. The collection of Malay films has been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and officially listed in their Memory of the World Asia Pacific Regional Register. Back in their heydays, the film catalog was most known in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. But for the rest of Asia, these will be fresh stories, told with new perspectives.
Mark Twain once said, "There is no such thing as a new idea. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope." Remakes aren't a new concept and as producers and writers hunt for unique and latest stories all over the world, I.E. Entertainment has chosen to retell nostalgic stories from the past. “Many of the Cathay-Keris films have timeless themes and storylines able to connect with younger audiences, and an emotional connection with older audiences who experienced the magic of movies when they were young,” says Indra Suharjono.
"The last five years, the real winners across the Asian continent have largely been local releases. Asian filmgoers tend to pivot to local content versus Hollywood titles. There are more homegrown talents and stories in Asia that we could tap," says Erlina Suharjono. Indra added, “With video streaming platforms, the demand for Asian stories has soared. Being entrusted by the Cathay Organization to take their precious legacy to a new future is indeed a big responsibility but a huge honor.”
As both founders have evidently gone deep in Asian entertainment media throughout their careers, it's riveting to learn there is an industry player now focused on bringing Asian stories to the rest of the world. Now we wait in keen anticipation for these remakes to come to life.