N.B. (Norlela) Ismail

  • PhD student

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 2166
E-Mail: n.b.ismail@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Centre for the Arts in Society, Literatuurwetenschap

Fields of interest

  • Film Screenwriting
  • Film narrative and narration
  • Film narratology
  • Malaysian Cinema
  • Film adaptation


My dissertation is focusing on the narration of Malaysian Cinema. For the past 50 years, it is witnessed that the narrative and narration of Malaysian cinema has changed due to the changes in the political, social and cultural settings. The narration of Malaysian cinema is hardly explored or discussed by scholars hence I find that it is paramount important to pay close attention to the Malaysian’s film narration now better than never. The aim of my dissertation is to examine the narration of the Malaysian Cinema in three different eras – the golden age (1950-69), the post golden age (1970-1999) and the contemporary era (2000’s-present). I chose to study in three different eras because I intend to trace if there is visible continuity or discontinuity in terms of its mode of narration and narrative strategies. I also intend to examine its formal systems within its paradigm in order to inform its narrative meaning and I also aim to investigate the socio-cultural and socio-political significance of its content. I will address these questions of how does narration contribute to the telling of the narrative? What are the narrative strategies of Malaysian films? I employed film narratology as my theoretical framework, an approach by Verstraten (2007) is opted by examining on the first level narrativity (external narrator – visual) and second level narrativity (editing – film techniques) in which these principles are crucial in the study; story and fabula, space and place, character and focalization.

Teaching activities

  • Attended a forum at Malaysian Film Festival : Malaysian Film, Vision and Judging, organized by FINAS, Kuala Lumpur 2005
  • Attended Dramatic Writing Seminar organized by ASWARA, Kuala Lumpur (2-3 December 2006)
  • Attended ENDNOTE software short course 2007 (ILQAM)
  • Attended Effective English two-day Course 2007 (ILQAM)
  • Attended Curriculum Design two-day course 2007 (ILQAM)
  • Attended Basic Teaching and Learning course – 4 – 9 July 2007 (ILQAM)
  • Attended Outcome Based Education (OBE) one day course, 25th June 2007 (Academic Affairs, UiTM)
  • Attended OBE two-day workshop, 12 & 13 July 2007 (Academic Affairs)
  • Attended Two-day course Academic and writing and publication, 5 March 2008 (ILQAM, UiTM)

Curriculum vitae

Upon graduation in May 1996-2000, I joined a video production company (59 Communications, Subang Jaya, Selangor) and took up the responsibilities as Assistant Producer and later promoted to Producer. I produced several video corporate documentaries/training videos/educational videos for the government/private agencies such as LINKEDUA, Koperasi Polis Berhad, JKR and Muzium Selangor. Apart from directing and producing corporate videos, I was also in charge of archival videos and act as a liason person for other production and post-production matters. After two years in production, I was assigned to the Script Development Department where I wrote script documentaries for Television as well as proposals for TV and corporate videos.

In May 2000, I decided to join the academic field and I held a position as a lecturer in a local private college (Limkokwing Institute of Creative Technology, Petaling Jaya). I was responsible to teach Diploma and Undergraduate students and the subjects were; Introduction to Screenwriting, Video Documentary Production, Writing for electronic media, Introduction to screenwriting, Advertising and music video production, corporate documentary production and corporate documentary scriptwriting. I was also accountable for the position as a Year Leader where I took charge of the final year students for diploma programmes’ academic performance and matters related to the programmes.

I received my MA in Screenwriting (Fiction) from the Leeds Metropolitan University in 2005, upon completion I joined one of the most prominent public universities in Malaysia, University of Technology MARA, as a full time lecturer at the Faculty of Film, Theatre and Animation. The subjects I taught were Screenwriting, Script Editing, Script adaptation, Short Film script, Script analysis, Introduction to Screenplay and Thesis writing. I was also held accountable for administrative responsibilities for the Diploma and Bachelor writing programmes as well as for the whole Faculty management matters.

Selected publications

  • Emotionally Engaging feature film storytelling: Reframing the Classical Three Act Structure, Journal Skrin Vol 3, 2007, Faculty of Artistic and Creative Technology.
  • Narrative Form of European Art Cinema: The Case of The Double Life of Veronique (1991) and Antonia’s Line (1995) Journal Skrin Vol 3, 2008, Faculty of Artistic and Creative Technology.
  • Malaysia Kekurangan Film Adaptasi, Dewan Masyarakat December 2006, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kuala Lumpur.
  • Takut dan Simpati dalam filem, Dewan Masyarakat, Oktober 2007, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, Kuala Lumpur.
  • Baraka : Rentak Kehidupan Manusai Sejagat, Dewan Masyarakat September 2007, Kuala Lumpur.
  • Mengarah Filem Bukan Syok Sendiri – Ahmad Idham, Dewan Masyarakat November 2007, Kuala Lumpur.

Last Modified: 10-12-2015