By Mohani Niza (editor, The Culture Review Mag)
Two years ago, writer Jovy Low Jia Wei and designer Tay Shen Thuu (both 30 years old) struck gold with an idea to set-up a one-of-a-kind cinema in Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya, and the place has brought in a steady crowd of cinephiles ever since.
Amenic Film Space caters to all sorts of film tastes, whether they are Hollywood blockbusters or small art-house movies. “Our film library, where customers can pick what they want to watch, is constantly growing. It was 150 when we first started and now it’s at 600. We carefully curate the films we bring in, from our own research and customer requests. Our films range from the black-and-white to the latest superhero films, and even indies that never got a chance on this side of the world,” Jovy told The Culture Review Mag.
“We try not to lean too heavily to either the mainstream or indie or art house films as we want to be a space for all kinds of films – for amateurs who are beginning their film journey, as well as for veterans to relive their favourites with the magic of a big screen, and also for enthusiasts who are looking for slightly obscure films. It’s a balancing act that we’ve been trying our best to maintain! Our favourite example would be … there’s no way for someone to jump directly from ‘Iron Man’ to ‘The Godfather’. It’s a step-by-step process and we hope Amenic can be where those steps take place,” he said. “As long as someone loves films, age and demographics are never barriers.”
So far, Amenic Film Space has featured the finest filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorcese, Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan. There is also Akira Kurosawa’s ‘Seven Samurai’ for example, but bigger movies such as ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Back to the Future’ are also available.
Another great feature of the place is that it offers both scheduled screenings and on-demand screenings (from 2 – 6 pax, and for larger groups: up to 12 pax). For a communal film experience, they host scheduled Film of the Week screenings on Saturday nights and for selected films, there are even discussions led by the pop culture website DeconRecon.
Amenic Film Space is also very comfortable. People can enjoy the following:
- HD Projectors and 5.1 Surround Sound;
- Bean bags, director chairs, or leather couch-slash-beds;
- Isolated spaces and screen sizes measuring 7-10ft.
Jovy also said: “Complemented by the distance you are from the screen, it feels almost like an iMax screen ratio, or the best seats in the hall. Not kidding! As for the films, they are all original copies and primarily Blu-rays, which makes all the difference in visual and audio quality, which is something we tend to overlook in this streaming age.”
Both Jovy and Shen Thuu have no previous film experience prior to setting up Amenic Film Space. “We did this out of pure love for great films. There was a lot to learn and we’re super thankful for so many friendly peeps who taught us along the way. It’s tricky to build a name for older and obscure films in a country where blockbusters dominate so heavily,” Jovy said.
He added that Amenic Film Space is not here to really compete with other cinemas or film venues. “Instead of highlighting differences, we really hope that we all can come together to better film appreciation in Malaysia. And it’s not just film, the arts industry as a whole! We’re already facing an uphill battle to maintain the arts and culture in a country that doesn’t fully value it. Only when we’re together things can improve.”
There are plans to move the cinema to a bigger space in Kuala Lumpur in 2020, but for now, the address is: 73A, Jalan SS 20/11, Damansara Kim, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
It opens everyday except Tuesdays (visit their Facebook page to know more).