When Ray Lee received a request from a friend to help direct and produce a student project, he took a look at the script and then agreed to help them film it right away.
Trauma, a short film, is the brainchild of Universiti Teknologi Mara students Esthaer Zaino and Nor Faezah Kamarudin.
“They had no budget to shoot the project so I offered to help them with manpower and equipment. All they had to do was provide the talent and location. We managed to get everything done in two days,” Lee said during a phone interview, recently.
Trauma (available on YouTube) was a story that Lee simply couldn’t ignore. Esthaer and Faezah potrayed victims who were left to deal with the brutality and psychological effects of rape. Lee, 40, said he has read too many stories about rape in the media and noticed that much of the blame is often put on the victim. As a father of two teenage daughters, he’s sick of it.
“Rape is something that could happen to anyone. But somehow the responsibility falls on the women to prevent or deal with rape.”
He hopes to send a clear message through Trauma that it’s up to the society to take action and stop ignoring the problem.
Though he has noble intentions, Lee shared that he was criticised for the way Trauma ended. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well for both victims.
“A friend said my movie was sort of introducing the concept of suicide. But the script called for it, in order to show the suffering that the victims faced. I don’t think it will influence others to do anything negative. Rather, I see it as evoking empathy,” he said.
Lee welcomes other film students to come forward and share their ideas with him. He would gladly provide the help they need to make a movie project happen.
“Action is very important. You can plan all you want to make a great movie with an awesome storyline but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t make it happen. So my advice to students is to have the determination to see their ideas become a reality.”
In October last year, Lee was in Beijing to film RTM music director Datuk Mokhzani Ismail’s piano performance at the Great Wall of China.
He shared a personal experience of how his belief in action helped make one performance a reality.
“The organiser said there was no way we could transport a piano to the Great Wall. We didn’t give up. We managed to negotiate a deal with the security team at the Great Wall. They gave us the permission we needed to take the piano up. Then we had three hours and it was enough to make the piano performance happen. It’s all because I don’t believe in hearing anyone say ‘No way’.”