Peter Wong: Working with the best in Hollywood

Our alumni Peter Wong, President of ACE Pictures Entertainment is making it big in Hollywood! He’s worked on amazing movies including Come Away featuring award-winning stars Angelina Jolie, David Oyelowo & Anna Chancellor. Peter has won multiple awards at some of the world’s biggest film festivals.

How he ended up in Hollywood is an exciting journey which he says all began at Limkokwing University.

We are proud and excited to interview Peter this second time around to catch up on his latest awards and what the future holds for ACE Pictures Entertainment:

It has been a while since we last caught up with you, please take us through your current role and your company?

“I am the President of ACE Pictures Entertainment Sdn Bhd. We also have a company incorporated in Los Angeles, California under the same name. My role primarily is overseeing the company’s expansion of its presence in the US, Europe and Asia, by developing new film titles for the international market, as well as sourcing new projects for financing and production. We have in the past invested and produced 9 films in the US (one is a high-profile project to be announced soon). Now, we are finding opportunities to bring new international projects into Malaysia as well as looking at opportunities to expand our local portfolio.”

Kindly tell us what achievements and projects you are most proud of?

“Winning the Sundance Grand Jury Prize in 2019, with our film, Clemency. On top of that, two of our films premiered in Sundance, two in SXSW and one in Toronto International Film Festival. We also won a number of awards, and our films were also featured in other top tier film festivals such as Sitges, Fantastic Film Festival, BFI Film Festival and many more. Clemency’s lead actress, Alfre Woodard, was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role in BAFTA 2021. Coveting the Grand Award Prize for Web videos category in the World Media Festivals 2021 in Hamburg, Germany. The web videos were a series of locally produced shorts for corporate branding. I was the director, editor, compositor, sound designer, music composer and colorist. I took up all these because I love being engaged in creative work.”

How has the Covid-19 pandemic shifted the way you work? What trends do you foresee in your industry?

“Because of Covid, we were unable to travel since Jan 2020. It has severely impacted our ability to continue much of our plans, especially production. Most of our international productions that were supposed to happen in Malaysia have to be postponed indefinitely. Even so, this has enabled us to focus more into development.

We recently just announced that we will be producing and developing Nicol David’s biopic, as well as working with Kavin Jay and his friends on a local comedy horror series. With our expertise we were hoping to create high quality local productions that could cater to international or at least, regional audiences. The film industry is resilient. I would say there won’t be many changes to it except for how we execute it. To lessen risk of Covid in production, it will be more self-contained and with a smaller crew. Indirectly, it will affect the scope of the production and how it will spearhead new technologies to filming.”

Thanks to Hollywood for championing diversity and inclusion in recent years, it also opens many opportunities to explore new stories to be told.

The journey to your success is inspirational, briefly tell us how you began and what sparked your passion:

“How I ended up in my career in Hollywood is a lifelong dream and it goes through many years of hard work. In my earlier days I have always wanted to work in places that appreciate art and creativity. You can say it all began in Limkokwing. It was in Semester 5 of my graphic design course, that we were required to come up with collaterals and design for a made-up movie. We ended up making posters, brochures, packaging design (DVD was a thing back then), and many more. I recalled how fun it was with my classmates when we took turns taking photos in the studio and came up with weird and crazy themes for our own movie. That inspired me and set me on a path to work on film one day. There were so many challenges because I was just a Graphic Design student, even though I majored in Multimedia, but that didn’t stop me from learning and eventually having the courage to embark on my first short film in 2013. With a lot of luck and support from friends, I was able to come up with my first feature in 2016. However, it was ridden with problems and limitations. I learned a lot from that single experience.

When I was finally poached by ACE Group to spearhead a new subsidiary, ACE Pictures Entertainment, and to venture into Hollywood, it was a dream come true. It definitely was not an easy task. All the years I spent honing my skills were put to a great test in 2017-2020. Believe me, that 4 years alone would exceed all the 16 years of hardship I went through, and there is no shortcut.”

What tips of success can you share with our students who want to pursue careers in the same industry you are in?

“Regardless of how you start, and what you started with, what matters is what you want at the end. Skew your current profession/specialty to the related dream career path that you wanted and then, go all the way out, and don’t hold back!

I reinvented myself to few career paths from 2001-2017. I went through four major changes, from a music director in Centre for Content and Creation, then to a web and graphic designer with my own production agency, Nexus Creative, and finally into a filmmaker and now, a producer at ACE Pictures. And throughout those 4 career paths, I have been an active music composer. It is important to note that the idea of reinventing oneself was inspired by Tan Sri Limkokwing achievements in his past. I learned it from him.”

How do you think Limkokwing nurtures a calibre of graduates that are ready to pursue high - income careers?

“I was a graduate in 2001. All I could remember was how much it has impacted my life and laid a strong foundation to my creative and artistic ventures. If I were to describe my most satisfying life and fulfilment, I would say it was during my college/university days. When I went out to pursue my first career, I was full of idealism and hope. It was the moment where our capabilities were put to real test. Little by little I realised that the bar can be raised, and little by little it opened new possible opportunities for me to venture.

I would say that this mindset of never giving up, constantly improving oneself was cultivated during my life in Limkokwing. I met lecturers who were inspiring, creative, and encouraging. I also met lecturers that were extremely difficult, and they squash egos like eating rice. This is actually praise, and not criticism. I still remember ALL their names. Egos need to be squashed to be able to raise your bar, little by little. If you think you are already the best, there is nothing else you can improve on. Even until today, I think I can still improve myself and I have the remaining lifetime for me to keep learning.”

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