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PUBLISHED: Jun 6, 2015 11:00am

‘Kampung Quest’ reality show gains higher ground

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THE RAKYAT POST By:
NURJEHAN MOHAMED

Contestants — urbanites face culturally-themed challenges that test them mentally, physically and socially. — Feisk Production pic

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WHAT happens when you take a group of Malaysians on an adventure of a lifetime, and give them an experience they will surely not find anywhere else?

This was the question that Feisal Azizuddin and his brother Iskander, pondered on before coming up with Malaysia’s own reality television competition, Kampung Quest.

Think Survivor, Amazing Race and whatever other reality TV competitions but with content that many Malaysians would find familiar.

The contestants — Malaysian urbanites — are put into two separate groups.

They compete in a series of challenges — or quests, as they are called in the show — and at the end of each day, the losing team meets the host at the campfire, where one contestant gets voted off the show.

The quests are carefully crafted and designed to test the urbanites physically, mentally and socially.

The challenges in the race to the top are bigger and more challenging this time around
The challenges in the race to the top are bigger and more challenging this time around. — Feisk Production pic

The main criterion of the quests is that they have to be challenging, memorable and influence the gameplay in the show.

“We basically created a sandbox environment for the contestants, planted twists and surprises, and sat back to see how they adapted to the situations they found themselves in,” says Feisal Azizzudin, Kampung Quest creator and director, adding that they localised the theme of the show by infusing Malaysian culture and elements that viewers would be able to relate to.

He and his brother, Iskander, produced, directed and funded the first season of the show which aired online and on HyppTV last year.

The positive response they received encouraged them to proceed with a second season.

“Our aim was to create an adventure show localised to our region, incorporating challenges infused with cultural elements.

“For the second season, we primarily hope to expand our viewership and fan base. We also hope to attract investors who see the potential in the show,” says Feisal. He adds that this second season also brings the brothers one step closer to achieving their goal of making it Southeast Asia’s ultimate adventure show.

Feisal Azizuddin and his brother Iskander created Kampung Quest, Malaysia’s own reality television competition with a difference
Feisal Azizuddin and his brother Iskander created Kampung Quest, Malaysia’s own reality television competition with a difference. — Feisk Production pic

The show was borne out of the brothers’ love of the outdoors.

“As kids, we longed for exciting adventures, which we could only read about in Enid Blyton books,” Feisal tells The Rakyat Post

Evidently, they aren’t alone — they have no shortage of Malaysian urbanites auditioning for a chance to compete on the show.

Feisal admits that one of the toughest challenges in creating the series was finding the “right” contestants. One way of overcoming this issue was to constantly reach out to the public via different platforms.

They used social media, forums and word-of-mouth advertising to find the contestants based on several criteria such as looks, personality, communication skills as well as the ability to speak in English.

Producing the first season was also difficult for a very fundamental reason — funding.

“The work and effort required to venture as independent producers could easily turn people away from carrying out such a production. Funding was a big obstacle but we believed in our ability and dipped into our savings to produce the show,” says Feisal, adding that limited funds meant restrictions in the production value.

The idyllic kampung-style environment is the setting of Malaysia’s homegrown reality television competition
The idyllic kampung-style environment is the setting of Malaysia’s homegrown reality television competition. — Feisk Production pic

To overcome the issue of manpower, they roped in friends who were aspiring media enthusiasts and undertook guerrilla filmmaking to shoot the whole show.

This time around they were much better prepared and were well-equipped with the necessary filmmaking tools to create a show with top notch production that is on par with the Malaysian media industry standards.

The bigger budget they had this time round enabled the producers to film this season in three different locations around Malaysia and incorporate bigger challenges.

Season 2 is hosted by the charismatic Jeremy Teo and boasts a soundtrack by talented American composer, Phil Larson.

Now their biggest challenge is finding the right broadcaster or content purchaser to licence the show and get Kampung Quest out to a wider audience.

“Expect another set of unique urbanites compete in larger-than-life quests, as they battle it out to emerge as the winner,” says Feisal.

Check out www.kampungquest.com or the show’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/KampungQuest, for details on the show which airs on June 15.

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