| Hamidah Ismail |
ABDUL Zainidi, an independent Paris-based Bruneian film director, is no stranger to Brunei’s videography scene. One of his first works that gained him recognition among the locals was the comedic web-series called ‘Brunei in Paris’, which he created three years ago.
He gained international recognition with his short film called ‘Bread Dream’, which became the first Bruneian film to be selected for the Cannes Short Film Corner in France in 2012. His other internationally recognised works include ‘Gagak dan Merak’, ‘Lobak’ and ‘Sakana Dream’. ‘Sakana Dream’ was presented at the 27th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) in October 2014.
Abdul Zainidi recently returned to the Sultanate to film a documentary called ‘Family and Artists of Brunei’ or ‘FAB’. The filming took two weeks and covered different locations in all four districts featuring the local people.
According to Abdul Zainidi, the documentary is hoped to bring out the ‘true standpoint’ of the Bruneian art scene. Over the course of two weeks, he interviewed 10 local artists, among them were Harlif Haji Mohammad of Regal Blue productions who directed Brunei’s first feature length film ‘Apa ada dengan Rina’, Jamairul Jamair a local singer and composer, Bruneian actress Faridah Ibrahim and Chinese-Bruneian artist Hui Fong. The interviewees spoke on their views of the local artistic scene such as music, acting and cinema.
“Not many people abroad would associate this artistic side of Brunei, which is what my documentary aims to do. I purposely conducted the filming during functions such as ‘Makan 100 hari’ and other festivities in front of different mosques to showcase the country’s colours and splendour,” said Abdul Zaini in an interview.
He intended to show real Bruneian people in traditional ‘baju melayu’ and ‘baju kurung’ to portray the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) to international audiences. He also focused on showcasing smaller and less documented mosques such as the Sengkurong mosques.
“This will show the international community just how different and unique each of our mosques are.”
The director plans to first screen the documentary in festivals and preview it for Brunei’s national day in Paris and Belgium. He plans to bring the documentary back to Brunei to have it screened on RTB and the cinemas.
During his short stay in Brunei, he also managed to complete another two short horror films called ‘Jentingkai’ and ‘Vanishing Children’, both of which are also incorporated in his FAB documentary.