15 youth join filmmaking programme

Izah Azahari

A total of 15 youth were selected to participate in the Play Naturally filmmaking programme. Their main task is to create films on nature engaging with the indigenous community of Tasek Merimbun.

The launch, held at the Collective Makerspace, saw Acting Public Affairs Officer of the United States (US) Embassy in Brunei Darussalam Paul Estrada as the guest of honour.

The programme, funded by the US Mission to ASEAN through the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Seeds for the Future grant, was developed to provide youth the opportunity to engage with conservationists, filmmakers and elders of the Dusun community in Tasek Merimbun.

They will undergo three-month training in environment and filmmaking, as well as create short films based on their experiences in Tasek Merimbun, that will be featured on local and regional platforms.

The group will be assisted by local production companies such as Lailatul Shazanas Studios, Filterworks Productions and Otter Co, as well as celebrated local filmmakers such as Abdul Zainidi, Azeez Danial and Aznniel Yunus to mentor and guide participants on the creation of the short films.

Acting Public Affairs Officer of the United States (US) Embassy in Brunei Darussalam Paul Estrada with the Play Naturally programme participants. PHOTO: IZAH AZAHARI

By bringing together young, budding filmmakers with the indigenous community of Tasek Merimbun, along with established players in Brunei’s film industry, the group hopes to foster a creative community with a heart for environmental and social impact.

“We hope that the short films that we are producing with our participants can promote dialogue about the value of natural spaces in Brunei and also provide a wider platform for the understanding of Dusun culture,” said one of the co-founders of Play Naturally Jazie Zaini.

During the launch, Acting Village Head of Kampong Merimbun and Kampong Kuala Ungar Sani bin Nangkat, in a video message, said the programme will introduce Tasek Merimbun and its culture, the Dusun community, legends and history as well as ways to preserve the natural habitat of Tasek Merimbun.

“With this project introduced by Play Naturally, I hope it will provide more information regarding Tasek Merimbun and the Dusun community to the public,” said Sani.

Play Naturally also staged their first conservation theatre production in Tasek Merimbun in July last year.