Glitz and glamour at ‘Akademi’ gala premiere

Aziz Idris

It was a night of glamour as guests turned up in full force for the gala premiere of the latest Bruniean feature film, Akademi at The Empire Brunei last night.

Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Amal Rakiah along with other members of the royal family attended.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin was the guest of honour.

Among other guests at the red-carpet event included the film’s cast Liyana Yus, Nasrul Nassar, Nadiah Wahid, Shafiee Mostar, Zainal Bostaman, Ian Zulkifli and Syafi Halim.

The 98-minute film is described as an action/comedy.

It centres on the friendship between five aspiring security guards in a mission to rise above all obstacles ahead.

Playing the lead role is Liyana Yus alongside her Yasmine’s co-star Nadiah Wahid, veteren actor Shafiee Mostar and newcomers, Nasrul Nassir and Syafi Halim. They are tasked to protect rarest treasures of Brunei.

However, the Akademi’s instructors, played by Zainal Bostaman and Ian Zulkifli, make their lives miserable with schemes to force them to quit.

Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Amal Rakiah and Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Hajah Nurul Amal Munjiatul Athirah binti Pengiran Sura Negara Pengiran Anak Haji Muhammad Bey Muntassir in a group photo with cast and crew of ‘Akademi’ at a gala premiere yesterday night.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin and his spouse at the gala premiere. PHOTOS: MUIZ MATDANI

The film also features a healthy dosage of cameos from local celebrities as well as personalities with relatable dialogue while the director has managed to capture the local identity through Brunei’s landmarks and popular dishes.

The red carpet event began with a welcoming speech by Director Siti Kamaluddin who expressed her excitement in sharing the Akademi with those who have supported the film from the very beginning prior to its nationwide release.

Siti Kamaluddin thanked her cast, crew, corporate sponsors as well as media partners who placed belief in the film from the beginning.

At the gala premiere, local actress Liyana Yus expressed her tremendous pride in the movie. “Throughout the process of Akademi, it brought us closer together. The cast and the crew, we all became a family. And to see it here tonight, with the presence of my family, my number one supporters are magical.”

Nasrul Nassar said, “This is my first feature film. It’s an incredible experience working with Director Siti Kamaluddin and alongside talented actors and actresses. I am honoured to be a part of this film and I hope this will be one of many films to come for my career.”

Audience member Haji Muhammad Redzuan commented, “The movie is funny, it’s relatable, it’s Brunei.”

The event concluded with a presentation of flowers from the crew of Origin Artistic Management to Siti Kamaluddin and Akademi cast.

The Akademi is set to release in cinemas nationwide on January 16.

The gala premiere comes shortly after Origin’s win for the Special Jury Award at the 59th Asia-Pacific Film Festival in Macau just a few days ago which reflects the bright future for Brunei’s cinema.